Sometimes i have trouble warming up for voice lessons… i can’t get my mouth open wide enough to let the sounds that i want to hear come out. Today it was the same old problem of me balking away from my high notes, but Becky slowly coaxed me up to them. She understands how i am… she gives me visualizations and physicalizations because i need to latch on to something before i can do it, and she keeps on talking me through it until that flicker of recognition crosses my face. Then she knows to just let me try it.
She worked me up just like that, on “ah” vowels. Slowly but surely. Form the sound, tongue down, mouth open, space for the notes to escape, feel it come up and over, tug down to go higher… finally, she had me opening my mouth and it finally stopped feeling like screaming and started to feel like singing, and we were going up and up and the notes were coming so clear … not necessarily on-pitch, but they were coming out like rung bells. And, after a while, it seemed like we’re getting pretty high — i didn’t stop because we had got momentum going, but i was mentally trying to tag notes and place them within my range to tell where we were. Finally we got up to one that i couldn’t quite wrap around… edges of my voice were straying away from it, so we slowly worked our way down.
Afterwards, i just had to ask. What was it? I’ve hit an E solidly a few times before, so it was an F, right? Or, if i had to reach, maybe it was F#?
The F might as well have been a C, she said. F# was sung without incident. We ended on G.
After that, the fifteen-beat E at the end of “Promises, Promises” didn’t seem deadly at all. I opened up, and my voice poured out of my throat like a river flowing over its banks to fill the room.
I swallowed the silence.