Updated: Mar 25
First off, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am so grateful I got to visit my grandparents and family and that everyone was in good health and (mostly) good spirits.
As a student singer I am looking to sing everywhere and anywhere I can for practice and exposure. I had the privilege to sing at my cousin's wedding recently. Things didn't exactly go as planned...
So, we didn't get there in time to practice the day before after all. Traffic, a train, an ambulance, and crazy kids delayed me so much that we didn't quite make it. They left the venue about five minutes before we arrived. x_x
I bought a pack of lessons at the songwriting retreat that I applied to boost my skills for the wedding. I used four the week before. Madison is my gal, but the pack was a mix of a lesson from Madison, Chase, and Ben. I still had two lessons from Madison aside from that which I'd bought some time ago, but hadn't been able to use. So, I planned an intensive week with a lesson a day except Tuesday. I'd never taken one on one lessons with any of the coaches except Madison before, and that one awesome week at the first retreat when I got to have daily lessons with Brett *o* ! I learned a lot that I had never heard anywhere else before from Ben and Chase. Their teaching methods are all different, but somehow they and Madison blow my mind with information and new exercises and techniques that work and produce Results! I will make a separate post on that sometime. I finally found some missing pieces of the puzzle of singing effectively! Now I just had to put them in place in the two songs I was preparing for the wedding: You Light up My Life and A Thousand Years.
But, I had a very short time to assimilate the new techniques into my practice of the song. I tried not to freak out. I think by the end of the week I'd leveled up my skills a couple of degrees, but not enough to satisfy my picky ear. I could still detect cringe! I know that if I persevere with what I have now, this will polish away. Back to the chaos before the wedding. So our chaotic lifestyle doesn't normally allow us to attend formal events, and much to our chagrin as we packed for the wedding the night before driving out, we realized that the DH didn't fit into any of his suits anymore! Mine has changed too over the years =\ But to make it, we had no time to lose and needed to drive with as few stops as possible. We did, thanks to my mom coming with us and distracting the baby in the back while I practiced and tried to find the ease and resonance I'd finally glimpsed. I didn't think I could do it, but I was able to produce formant a couple of times with guidance and in exercises with the coaches. I thought that was something only some lucky people are able to do, but it can be taught, though it requires a foundation of hard work to develop the right coordination (the lucky ones just figure it out on their own naturally - they have an advantage!).
So we missed the rehearsal - strike one against being a pro wedding singer. =( No one told me when or where I was going to sing over text either, though I asked. After wasting the morning clothes shopping for the family rather than practicing, we threw clothes on and I smeared on makeup, and we raced to the venue with grouchy kids in tow. My uncle was performing some of the wedding songs, like the march and another song with his family, so he set up my sound. Turns out the auxilary cable I had to play the Smule backing tracks from my phone wasn't compatible with his piano and he had to put the phone by a mic. It worked, but wasn't ideal. If I was more savvy I would have known that 1/4 " cable is bigger than a regular aux headphone jack. I actually have an adapter that does this for a different microphone, but didn't think to bring it. Lesson learned.
I got to practice each song and felt pretty good about them. No trip ups or mistakes! However, the ceremony was outdoors, and the wind played havoc on the microphone (and my hair!) during practice! Though my uncle could hear me when he walked out to check sound, apparently it got windy later and it was hard to hear me. Oh well. Also, during performance I tripped up on a couple of words - on a Thousand Years, which has words that repeat a thousand times - when there was a distraction from the wedding party marching by and I tried to figure out where to stand since no one bothered to tell me! Argh, why?! =( So it turned out to be lucky that the crowd couldn't hear me very well after all.. heh heh.
Later I found out I was going to sing the other song indoors and ran to meet the DJ, who had an adapter and hooked my phone directly up to his system. I didn't get to practice before performance this time, but things went really well. I was able to make my brain shut up (didn't find the resonance or sound I wanted) and simply sing. But an enthusiastic person singing along with the crowd kind of made me laugh and I forgot which verse I was on. So I started ornamenting the note, realized quickly that this was a different verse, and somehow turned it into a cadence within the required time before moving on. I didn't lose it and get flustered, but that's another strike against being a pro.
At the end of the night and after some musical chairs I reprised A Thousand Years to make up for not being heard and did a better job that time. Not as perfect as I wanted, but it's where I'm at right now and everyone said they really liked it. So what the hey - it was fun and a bit scary, but I actually did it! =D I could never have done it without This Guy right here! <3