As some of you may know, last night I had my first signing lesson. After work, I rode my scooter the 3 blocks to the Bermuda Cathedral, and went around the back, down the cobblestone steps and through the door, just like his e-mail told me. It was at this point, I started realizing that this was the textbook start to a horror movie, and impulsively started to worry a bit. The last thing I need is to become a hundred pieces of human shishkebab, unless Hy’s seasoning salt is involved, in which case, I’ll keep an open mind.
I sat and waited in the waiting room, working on my laptop with a piece of software called Reason. It’s basically an all-in-one music production suite, and I managed to get a rock beat, and a cello-based bass line down before the instructor showed up. Even though he was perfectly on time, while he was unlocking the door to his studio, he was explaining that he saw a director he worked with and had to stop and say hi. After I explained that he was on time, and that I was just early, we walked through the door to his office.
Wait a second. Director?
Oh yes: director. I soon found out that not only is this guy an amazing singer, but he is also into musical theater, and acting. In fact he just returned from New York after shooting a scene for the TV show The Sopranos. [Editor’s Note: Just now I realized how fitting it is for a singer to be on a show named after a range of notes a singer can hit.]
We sat and chatted for about 15-20 minutes, talking about what my goals were in terms of my voice, and how he’ll be able to help me achieve those goals. We talked about his experience as a singer/performing artist (he’s been to two different conservatories of music to train) and how he’ll be able to use his skills to increase mine. As you can probably tell, I quickly realized that I’m in quite capable hands and have full faith in the fact that he will be able to get me where I want to be.
After talking, we went straight into vocal exercises. Even though I had only been in the lesson for half an hour, he’d already said some things to me that had made sense in terms of what you should be doing with your body (specifically the throat) to let the sounds come out more naturally. Keeping your throat in a more “yawned”/relaxed position allows you to hold the note with much more ease than I ever thought possible. That one little tidbit of information was so effective that by the end of the lesson, I had already increased my range by three notes in both direction.
I think the correct term for that is: progress.
While I’m sure a lot of it was just BS to use as positive reinforcement, throughout the lesson he was saying that I was doing great. (As an example, he was saying that one of the exercises we went through took one of his students over a year to master, and I had got it by the end of the hour.) I’m not totally sure whether or not I believe him, but it’s nice to hear that someone with classical training (and a lot of it) has confidence in me. Even if I don’t necessarily believe it, I think I was able to feed off it to a certain extent and in the end made some serious headway in terms of how well I’ll be able to sing.
Once we had spent about a half hour on the exercises, I brought my Zune with me and was able to play a few of the songs that I’ve written and recorded in the past year or so. To my delight, he said that while technically they need work (hence the reason for my taking lessons from him), they were really good songs, and with enough training, they could sell. A lot. If anything, that was what completely made my day.
At any rate, if it’s not obvious by now, despite the $80 per lesson fee (even if it’s 1-on-1), I am incredibly excited at the prospect of being able to one day go into the studio one day and record a CD without the fear of shattering any windows. I’d like Burton to produce it, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Now all I have to do is learn how to sing in Spanish.