Thursday, July 12, 2012

Awkward Voice Lessons

So I'm taking voice lessons for music credit this term, and can I just say that private voice lessons have got to be one of the most awkward situations ever? Don't get me wrong, I actually really enjoy them, but I always just laugh inside because of the awkwardness of the whole situation. Even with a fabulous teacher, and even when you get past the initial awkward phase, there are still awkward moments that just make you want to cringe. Instead of wanting to die every time something awkward happens, I just add it to my what-makes-voice-lessons-so-awkward list. Enjoy.

1. You will never know where to stand or look. This is especially true during warm-ups, when the teacher doesn't have to look at any music to play and you don't have to look at any music to she will look at you and you will not know where to look. You will end up awkwardly looking at the nearest wall, occasionally shifting your eyes to glance at the keys (at which point you will freak out because she will take you out of your comfortable range and doesn't want you to know it, but you do know it, because you cheated and looked at what note she's on), or you will find a different spot on the wall to stare at, or sometimes - gasp! - you will glance at your teacher (because she never takes her eyes off of you), and  you will regret it because you will make awkward eye contact. Because it's just weird to make eye contact while singing, especially while warming up.
Even in A Walk to Remember, eye contact while singing just reeks of awkwardness. Plus it led to a kiss, so, no bueno.
2. When you first start learning the words to a piece, especially if it's in Italian (or some other foreign language), your voice teacher will probably tell you to speak the song out loud to her. You will automatically feel self-conscious and turn into a monotone idiot. She will then tell you to add more inflection and to make it sound more "ItALiAno!" and you will just feel even dumber. Don't worry though - those Italian songs usually only have like two lines total, which are just repeated over and over, so it will be over before too long.

3. After having you try a new technique or demonstrating a new principle or whatever (oh and by "new" I mean you still haven't mastered it...even if you've been taught it one million times), voice teachers LOVE to ask you how it felt. You probably won't know what to say. This also applies to when they ask you if you understand something, or if something "felt" better. Most of the times it will probably just feel the same. But if you say no, it didn't feel better or no, you don't understand, you feel dumb. So you say yes, it did feel better, but then they ask you how it felt better and how you "got it" that time and then you will be stumped. Here's the key though friends: always say it felt like nothing. If you say that, they will get really excited and start bouncing and say that YES! it feels like NOTHING! Because singing is easy and natural and if you do it right it should feel like nothing! So then they tell you to do it again but this time you're thinking about it and you can't make nothing, so as hard as you try to do nothing, by doing so you do something and you are back to where you started.

4. If you're like me, sometimes you just want to cry (don't judge me). This isn't really about voice lessons in particular, but sometimes things just get frustrating and you sound dumb and you just want to cry. The awkward part about voice lessons (as opposed to, say, piano lessons), is that you soo can't hide it. In piano if you're frustrated, you just play with a lot of gusto and before too long any urge to cry is long gone. However, in voice if you want to cry, you will try to hide it from your teacher and act like nothing's wrong, so you start singing, and your voice wobbles or cracks and then you're embarrassed and want to cry more. Those are definitely the worst days. Most aren't like that, so don't worry - you get through it.

5. You get a one-on-one work-out session. But it's like you're singing in the weight room while doing cardio, with just your trainer. Throughout the course of your voice lessons, you may do any number of the following: skip, do jumping jacks, do sit-ups on the edge of a chair, push against a wall, swing your arms back and forth, do squats, bounce on the balls of your feet, and repeatedly bend over so your arms dangle to the floor. All while singing. Don't ask me why they have you do this - I'm pretty sure it's for their own entertainment's sake.

6. There is always some amount of physical contact. After all, your body is your instrument, and sometimes it doesn't work quite some amount of physical contact is bound to happen. It can be a little awkward when your teacher starts to correct your posture on her own or put her hand on your stomach to make sure you're breathing correctly. What's worse is when she has you put your hand on her stomach so that she can demonstrate her awesome breathing. You just kind of have to get over that part.

7. The room is usually pretty when you start singing something on the top of your lungs, and it's just you and your teacher in a little box of a room, it just feels awkward. Especially if you mess up.

8. Your voice teacher will always ask you how you're doing. You'll say "good" because that's what you always say when someone asks you that. But then she'll stare at you until you actually tell her the run-down of your life and your practicing for the week and your life-long dreams and hopes and your concerns regarding the state of the nation. Once in the middle of singing my teacher asked me if I had a boyfriend. Which leads to another awkward thing...they always try to talk to you while you sing. And it's like being at the dentist when they ask you questions - you don't know if you should actually respond or just smile and wave.

I could go on - about the sometimes awkward procedure of picking music, the awkwardness of when they compliment you and you don't know what to say because you didn't know you actually did something right, the awkward times when you start singing before the piano comes in (or vice versa), those times when your teacher tells you to do like 10 and a half things at once, etc. But I think I'll just leave it at that for now. Plus this meme:
Haha so true. Oh well. Good times are promised to be had be all. Ciau!


  1. Pahahahha oh so well put. This made me laugh hysterically.

  2. Love this post. Cracked me up. I <3 Hannah.

  3. And this is why I don't take voice lessons!