Runs on food and music, will sing for chips and pasta.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

the way forward

It's not my intention to make the universe jealous of the wealth I have with me...just that it's a grand life to have someone like J around, my pillar of strength, my best friend, my wise one, the biggest fan in my singing.

Was feeling very lousy last night after a nerve-wrecking rehearsal, another case of my mind (my inner monster) working against my plans.

He said to me, the only way forward is to work harder and practice more. Whatever happens on stage is secondary in importance to the amount of hard work am willing to put in.

Also, he said I have to `just jump on stage' more so that I get less nervous with it. "Leave your ego off stage and just get on it, so that you get the practice you need."

So I decided there and then (am the one who decides very quickly and sometimes too fast) that I will just dive in and sign up for a classical singing competition in Singapore this August. The adrenalin flows quickly at the thought of numerous practices I will have for that and the rush of preparation. If this excites me so much so easily, it has to mean something big right?

At practice today I shared these thoughts with my new friend, or maestro R. He offered his insights as a qualified and informed musician :)

It's a relief to know that it's ok to not like your own sound or voice. The subject of matter is to understand that for classical singing, the focus should be on developing your technique and music, which will help to make that sound of yours, your own.

Unlike popular & jazz singing now, everyone has a preconception of what it should sound like, and young singers do a lot of just copying someone's style and sound, or tone.

Classical singing is an art where you need to be honest with yourself and just work, it's where you cannot pretend to sing it well...

He thinks I should continue with my classical repertoire because I have a sound for it. I said, I don't like my own sound much...which led him to tell me the above.

...but relaying this here now hardly does justice to what he explained to me just a few hours ago. I think it's best that I pick his brain again, and to understand this topic about classical singing again in better detail.

Next entry, perhaps, where I shall attempt to better, more eloquently put this subject.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

soul searching n such

To live to be ambitious? I don't know.

As someone who is not known for being ambitious, I have only a few memories of episodes in my life where I worked Really hard for something.

One that pops into memory immediately is when I prepared for my first ever vocal/singing examination, unfortunately, my first and last vocal examination.

It was the PC (Performer's Certificate) level exam under the Trinity College. The syllabus was that I perform four songs and prepare the program notes for these songs - an aria or oratorio, a Lieder, an art song and a musical song.

My repertoire for this exam was La Promessa (The Promise) by Rossini, Haydn's With Verdure Clad (The Creation), Schubert's Liebesbotschaft (Love's Message) and Green Finch And Linnet Bird from Sondheim's Sweeney Todd.

A scanned copy of the exam report in the handwriting of my examiner that year, 2004, Mr Harold Jones...

I can't remember what was the driving force or inner motivation then, I remember my sheer energy of practicing the songs over and over everyday, after work and in the weekends. I had a day job in an office then...every time I recall this experience a sense of proudness overcome me.

I guess I have to channel my spirit from 2004, to lead me through any dark days of low spirit...

The results came quite unexpected, I got a 90 over 100 in score, it was a distinction score I was told by my teacher Seng Tiang. I remember not believing him at first but being on cloud nine for days. When the results (report) came finally, they said I also received something called the Outstanding Achievement something for getting the 90 marks.

What happened after that I think it's not as important as what I did before the exam.

I didn't win any awards after the exam, didn't sit for anymore singing exams...

There were other milestones for me along the way after that vocal exam, I worked harder on some projects than others, sometimes I find myself slacking so much it shame me a lot. Each time I spring into an elaborate scale of plans & thoughts about having new discipline to curb my mistakes and flaws. Most of the time I start on these plans well and good, but falter halfway and don't have a follow-through action plan.

It's been a year of soul-searching in singing for me. Frustrating it may be, the journey is always fulfilling and rewarding at times...

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Sunday, June 20, 2010


If I must find a virtue in family, it would be that it's a great character building platform...or institution, of whose members you can't choose.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

growing up and growing old

There's truth in the saying that you can tell more about a person thro how he deals with hardship. Also true is the saying, without sorrow, you can't truly appreciate happiness.

Although I've known for years that I'm a `thinker' and not a `feeler' (refer to Myer Briggs Personality Type Indicator), it still shocks me sometimes to realise how little sympathy I have towards another person's feelings & emotions. Even more shocking when the person is my mom.

Mom will never have the life I have, and I would say it's a carefree life, void of any dark concerns past, present and future. She's lived and learned only to be vigilant and too careful, and worrisome.

Up to about three weeks ago I'd say my life is rather carefree. Since we started the struggle of persuading mom to come to the city to investigate her health, life has been a roller coaster of emotions. Although I really wish my mom was healthier and less difficult when it comes to having discipline in her well-being - I'm glad that this experience is somewhat a soul-searching and self-discovering journey too....while we try to install mom's health back into place.

I find myself talking to my head whenever, or after am done being mean to my mom (not understanding her fears, undermining her pain). Sometimes I justify my bad behaviour, mostly I remind myself to be a better person by having more heart and ask to put myself in her shoe.

Then there's the life outside mom-fiasco, the world carries on while you're having a family crisis. My phone rings even more, work carries on, the music keeps playing, rehearsals get scheduled all the same, my car gets dirty faster (trips to hospital and what not), my clock ticks faster as chores increased by two folds.

There's nothing like preparing your mind for everything that's coming, good, bad, worst. As long as you talk yourself thro the things to come.

While I have control over not having children of my own (hence the people I will haunt when am old and sick are likely nursing home staff), I have no control of my old folks growing older. I will cherish them, I am learning to.

Of course then, it always pays to have a heaven-sent partner around who understands my frustration, pain and fear, in the form of J, in the midst of all the craziness - I find bliss in his company and wisdom. And then of course, there's always work to drown your doubts in.

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Friday, June 04, 2010

what it does...

Lifts your spirits and dries your tears...
Gives you tears and joy...
Lets you forget your pain and embrace the moment...
Lets you immortalize a moment in time...
Takes you out of this world...
Soothes your soul...
Excites your mind...
Makes me deliriously happy, music.

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