Attend a two-day vocal workshop
Today is the last day of our two-parts vocal workshop for the office chorus. I must say that I’ve learned so much yet there’s still so many things I need to learn.
You know what they say, the more you know, the more you don’t know.
Carlo, our instructor, shared some helpful tips on how to use our voice properly without having any problems such as short of breath, not hitting the high notes and so on. But what I liked most about his workshop is that he never fails to boost our confidence and reminds us every now and then, to just release our apprehensions, fears, doubts, and what-have-yous with regard to singing.
“There’s no bad singing. Only healthy and unhealthy singing,” Carlo said.
Isn’t that comforting to hear? All this time, I thought I sounded bad. But in reality, it’s just unhealthy singing.
Emphasizing on knowing the beat of the song and being one with it by feeling it, he said that singing should come from all throughout the body. He even suggested to try running/jogging before performance. This way, your body will be conditioned and ready for singing.
He further stated that whenever we sing, we should always feel the support from two inches below our navel, from our back, and from our ribcage. That’s three support systems, so whenever we hit high notes, we should have no doubts because it is all in the mind. He says we can do it. We all do.
“Psych up! Let all your worries go! Relax. Be free!” he added.
On the first day of the workshop, he let us sing a song in our heads while rolling on the floor. He said that the way a person rolls can tell a lot about how a person sings, and even reveal about his personality. If it’s continuous, free-flowing, relaxed, and carefree, it means his only focus is his song and doesn’t care about what other people might think. And this is the most important lesson he shared with us: you always have to feel relaxed, comfortable, and ready upon singing.
He also instructed us to sing “Happy Birthday” with various kinds of emotions like happy, sad, confused, excited, angry, and the most memorable of it all –sing it as if you’ve just received your bonus.
Carlo added that it is important to know the content of the song and actually feel it so that when you sing it, the audience will also feel your emotions. When we sung “I Can Go the Distance,” in front of him for the first time, I was confused because first, I wasn’t prepared, second, I did not memorize the song, and third, I was nervous.
And so obviously, it was a mess. But he just kept on boosting everybody’s ego. He didn’t let our fires for singing, die.
On the second day, we tried to roll again. There’s an improvement. We became more relaxed and we did not rush into finishing. In my head, I was singing the last song we did, Hallelujah. I was actually planning on singing a rap so in case they’ll ask me why I roll so fast, it is because it’s a rap. But spot on, I just sung the first thing on my mind. And to tell you the truth, I felt more free and relaxed. No worries, which is better.
He also conducted some breathing exercises. He made us lie down and feel like we’re one with the ground. The goal is to feel like there’s no tension, to just let all our worries go. And so we did.
For day 2, we sung “Ewan.” This is the moment when Carlo told us that Altos are flat. I really believe it was me whom he heard. But eventually, everything went well. I really hope we did improve on that aspect.
“How can we know if we are flat? How can we distinguish if we’re singing out of tune? Sometimes I just listen to the one beside me and there’s a tendency to just mimic. How can we know?” I asked.
Pressing a key in the piano, he sings “San-taaaaa Ma-riiiiiii-aaaaaaaaa”
“You’ll know it. You can feel it when you’re singing. In the elite choir, even if you’re a five year member of it already, you’d still undergo an annual exam and if you don’t sound right, you’ll be on probation. You won’t have the chance to go on tours. That’s how strict they are. So you should be always prepared, always practicing, always ready,” Carlo said.
I just love it when people really know and love what they’re doing. You can always feel that passion burning inside them. It just flows. Just like what it is with Carlo. (oops, fan-girl mode, haha!)
To wrap it up, this workshop which consisted of almost four hours was definitely fun, memorable, and life-changing. I just feel like four hours is not enough.