So a huge development for me over the past week or so is that I’ve been really wanting to get back into singing. Yeah you heard it! Sam wants to start singing again! This is like a huge therapy goal, well from the perspective of my therapist and staff and jess!
Singing was such a part of my identity since high school. I didn’t have any kind of hobby until chorus in seventh grade. I had serious pitch matching issues, due to no music at home and a lot of tention in my throat but actually had no idea I sounded bad! LOL.
Then the chorus director gently well pointed it out to me, and suggested voice lessons. I got hooked up with Indian Hill music center. I highly recommend it. It’s a community music school in Littleton. Open to anyone from early childhood on up. They literally have something for everyone. All the latest stuff related to early childhood music education, summer music camps, private lessons in all instruments, musicals that get put on twice a year, plenty of informal recitals, the hospice choir ETC. I think now they even have a music therapist.
Anyway so I started there with an amazing patient teacher. We really hit it off and she was not only my voice teacher but a huge important role model and mother type figure in my life in a way. We recently reconnected I found her on linked in. Both our lives have changed dramatically and ironically both of us have kind of gone the opposite direction of singing for different reasons. Still she’ll always carry a special place within me.
Anyway so during that time I really loved the whole thing. Even when it was hard clearing up my pitch issues and learning different technical issues I enjoyed progress. I enjoyed working hard on songs and then singing at recitals and yes people telling me I’d done well! I was a strong supporter of all the singers there. As it was a community music school environment there was to my knowledge no competition at all between us and we all were as I said very much supportive. There was tention between different teachers, like the one that lead the voice department was umm kinda controlling. But yeah I guess that goes with the territory.
When I left high school/ community college I had to leave Indian hill. I tried to find some voice teachers in Cambridge but they weren’t that great. This one was ok until she started getting on me for not practicing and kept holding my neck in this uncomfortable position while I sang that was supposed to be the right way to have your posture. I just felt like someone was trying to wash my hair in the sink or something with my head far back like that.
So yeah. Then I saw a grad student for one lesson that was interesting. Talk about uptight. Just yeah. She said the only way I could become a good singer was to sing Italian songs. So yeah didn’t really agree.
Then somehow I found voice movment therapy and Deborah crane. And my whole life changed LOL! Seriously it did. Not at first. I just saw it as something interesting to do. I really didn’t see much difference between VMT and voice lessons. As this is an overview of my singing journey I’m not gonna go into it but we’ll just say that VMT is more about exploring yourself psychologically/ emotionally/ physically through your voice. As well as exploring different vocal components which impacts on yourself. So not about performance or hiding behind characters, which I insisted on for a long time. I’m quite stubborn and spent a long time escaping from my emotions by pretending to be people in the song. It took awhile to realize that by connecting with my emotions in the moment it improved my acting.
There was a turning point with the two of us where I stopped fighting the therapy part. And saw the difference between that and voice lessons. And got emotional one day when stuff was just too much. And that was an opening for me to actually do therapy that was really powerful. Our relationship was and is the foundation of our work. VMT training aside Deborah is just plain a good therapist. She has healthy boundaries and yet cares so deeply about the people she’s with. I’ve seen her work with others in the same compassionate intuitive manner it’s really amazing actually.
Anyway we worked together for like three years. And my voice really improved without me really thinking that much about it. So did my ear for the different aspects of the work. She had me listen to videos of people talking or singing and pick out different aspects/ components of the person’s voice. Which ones were stronger or weaker, how the person’s voice made me feel. I loved that aspect of things and still find myself going back to it in my mind when listening to a voice.
But then I moved in 2012. It was very sad. Deborah and I decided to never say goodbye. I stay in touch periodically. I write when I need to she responds when she can. It works out. I know she’ll always be a part of my life in one way or another. She’s said that she has this intuitive sense that we’re not finished with each other in terms of working in person. I hope she’s right! I trust her deeply and would love to work together again.
So while here I really haven’t been able to find much in terms of voice related stuff. A huge part of that is money. At Friedman I only had $90 a month plus stuff from my parents which fluctuates. I think I went to a music therapist for a few sessions but she really didn’t do much voice stuff. Some do some don’t. I researched Vocal psychotherapy while in school, a whole other branch of things. Too bad the founder is in NY so that’s where the others are for now.
So the singing I did I did on my own. But I still loved it. I was proud to help co-lead a choir with another resident. I used my skills there as a singer and well someone with a good ear for voice I guess.
I remember the last time I sang. Another member of the choir and I were rehearsing something on our own so it would be better in place for the next time the small group met. She had a beautiful voice and we blended so well.
Four or five days later I had the seizure and everything shattered.
My identity was just gone. I felt empty and lost and like I wasn’t myself anymore. Jonathan clarified after some careful assessment that it was more that I’d lost all my passions singing being a huge one.
For awhile I just saw no point. Just connecting with people was hard enough. For awhile, I wasn’t sure about life and whether or not I wanted to stick around. But then once I got going living first for others sake, and then my own singing was still a question mark. It’s hard to put into words why. Maybe it’s because if I get this part of my identity back it will mean I’m really healing. And that’s so scary to think about. Because a part of me is afraid I could lose everything again. I think maybe I’m afraid of the power singing will have, as it has in my days with Deborah, to unlock emotions in a way all the therapy I’ve had since the breakdown can’t. I guess it’s a mix of things. One being the concrete evidence of not having been singing. I get halfway through a simple song, (when no one is around to be like OMG you’re singing!) and my jaw is really tight and I’m physically tired.
I also think I’ve lost everything I gained over the years of singing and would have to like start over physically. Like I know mentally all that goes into singing I don’t have a memory block. But physically getting it back into my voice sounds daunting. The whole thing does especially the emotional effects if any.
I was listening to old recordings of my recitals and things and realized how much richer my life would be if I sang again. So I searched for a teacher. Someone who had a solid technical background but would be patient and compassionate enough to know about the emotional aspects of singing.
I found one woman who seemed ok. Rachel.
Then I scrolled down and found this site.
I looked over her site. I especially think it’s cool she was in MA and moved to Chicago like me. Her brand of teaching sounds like what I’m looking for.
So I contacted her. She was as warm and approachable as on the site. Of course money is the big issue as always. Considering there are some family issues right now around a very sick family member I hesitate to ask my mom for more money. She gave me $100 about a month ago. That money somehow turned into pizza subs and snacks! So it’s gone yeah we went kinda overboard with ordering out. But it was very much necessary at the time, i.E literally nothing picky Sam would eat for meals and so she was in danger of almost passing out. Really it happens.
So I’m back and forth. I think we can get the money together. She has this offer where a person could go for an hour and a half for the price of one lesson. This would give us a good chance to see what this has to offer and how we work together. There’s no way I could go every week and no way she would be able to accept the small amount I could pay her so I could afford to go every week. Not sure I could even afford to go two weeks. Which is I guess why the hour and a half thing is good.
Already I’m going back and forth about it. Just don’t know if it’s worth doing or if I’ll like it or get scared off or what.
I think it will be like the NRS thing where I’ll go back and forth and drive people nuts.
But yeah so that’s a big interesting development in my life.
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