Day 20 of the A-Z Blogging Challenge and the letter T.
I’m talking about music and metronomes, and all the players in a band being together and on time. What does that mean for the singer? It means the singer needs be on time with the band. Being on time can make the difference between being able to sing someone else’s song with a group of players and, unrehearsed as a group, sing that song, or not.
Yes, I sing. I came to singing late in life – well, I sang all the time when I was a kid, but had no musical education and the only musical opportunity was singing WASP hymns in church on Sunday. I used to lie on the floor on my belly, watching Broadway musicals on TV, and day-dream about being a musical star; then make my dreams come true with a game of dress-up and cabarets presented in the boat houses along the river that ran in front of our house. At age 8, ‘Moon River‘ was my signature song!
Then the choir master in our church told me I had a low voice for a girl, that girls usually have high voices, and boys have low voices, and I stopped singing. Afterall, I am a girl.
Ahhhh – woe is me!
Years later the songstress and voice just had to come out, or I thought I would burst. I was petrified of singing the wrong note (after all I have a low voice for a girl). My efforts to sing with a group were always hampered by Christmas carol sing-a-longs, or Happy Birthday choruses, led by a soprano. My low voice didn’t stand a chance. But the singer inside me would not give up. She pushed and pushed and pushed – and emerged doing spoken-word poetry with a jazz trio in Budapest, then eventually burst forth, full force, in Barcelona singing punk in dark, back-room bars, with heavy metal players backing me up. My own poetry improvised to punk – because that way I knew there could be no errors. It was MY poetry, so nobody could tell me I was doing it wrong!
Successful as a punk-poet, I was invited to sing in fusion jams, rock jams, blues, and now I sing blues, jazz, experimental, and improvisation.
Musicians love to give a singer tips, and the greatest of those is about timing. Now when I learn a song, I learn the words and the timing together – learning a song’s particular phrasing with a metronome. One drummer friends says he wishes all singers would do that.
Timing gives players the foundation on which to hang a song. When the timing works, it’s so much easier to do everything else. Thanks for timing.
…but I do enjoy a good improvisation set where the timing isn’t fixed and the players are free to roam and ramble and find a different way of coming together.