…..from the ‘Novice Singer’
by D.J. Close
Growing up I was a very boisterous child, great at creating sounds and happy with anything that sprang from my mouth. Who doesn’t like to make crazy sounds and sing along to their favorite song in the car or shower? Well those childhood days are over and my elaborate sounds just don’t seem to come out as much. My love for sound and music has not changed and has currently urged me to take my first voice class at the University of Denver. I am a 22 year old male who is finishing up his Political Science degree; why not work on my voice skills a little?
The first day of class I did not know what to expect even though I think my instructor was a little more surprised. This was the first musical class I had ever taken; I’ve never played an instrument or sang in a choir. After failing to harmonize with the piano or hold a strong consistent note, kind-hearted Erica (my professor) quietly put away a song she had brought for me to work on and said, “We’ll just work on that next semester.” We both smiled and a semester of fun, learning, and improvement was on its way.
The greatest realization I quickly had was the noises I so enjoyed making as a child were far from what I was learning. I figured I would be a natural, but had another thing coming. I quickly learned the importance of breath, using your lips, and being confident in your voice and how you present yourself. Among many other things, these key elements helped to improve my singing the most. Learning how to sing reminded me of learning a new language. The difficulty of this new language was at times frustrating but I knew it was universal. No matter if a song is played in Russian, Italian, French or English so much is portrayed by simply hearing the voice and observing the singer. This was another important lesson. The entire body works to create music.
After understanding some techniques that would help my singing I was able to practice anywhere. My roommates continued to think I was crazy, but were intrigued by my musical exercises and improvement. In between classes I would practice my breathing and lip posture only to be embarrassed by puzzled on-lookers. Here I was, a senior in college taking cap-stone classes for my major but putting most of my effort into developing this new hobby. This hobby that seemingly so many others have learned but so few have mastered.
The progress I made in just 10 weeks was amazing. I can currently harmonize with the piano and transition a good length up or down from middle C (I just learned where that was also). To master singing would be a life’s work. To learn and understand the basic concepts of singing is something everyone should do. The idea of being confident enough to open your mouth and share a strong note with the world is an enlightening feeling. For all of the beginner singers out there: Be confident in your voice, laugh at your mistakes, and continue pursuing the goals that bring you one step closer to something that you will love and enjoy your entire life, so SING on!