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Posted by on Mar 30, 2011 in The Voice Box | 1 comment

Question of the Week

by Melissa Wimbish

Okay, this is kind of a weird, needy, insecure question, but I feel like this happens to all singers at some point in their social adventures. You’re hanging out with some different people. Non-singers. You’re having a great time, chill, discussing something political and then it happens: Someone asks you what you do. Of course that becomes the most interesting topic in the world and they eagerly ask more questions and then one of your other musician (non-singer) friends returns from grabbing your drinks and realizes that everyone is talking about singing and says something to the effect of, “Oh great, you’ve managed to turn this into a ‘singer party,’ too…”

Not that it’s ever happened to me or anything.

Do you feel awkward in social situations because you’re a singer? What’s wrong with a singer party? Doesn’t it just mean we’re passionate about what we do?

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1 Comment

  1. As someone raised by instrumentalists (both brass players) and whose closest circle of friends consists mainly of instrumentalists as well, I can’t say this specific situation has happened to me, but I’ve seen so many similar sentiments it’s not even funny. Instrumentalist friends tell me I don’t “act like a singer” which doesn’t mean much to me (other than the insecurity that other singers don’t see me as one of the crowd), but there is definitely an image I’m sure I don’t fit for whatever reason. I think I still have a text from a close friend, kept for posterity, that says “I’m at [drinking venue] and everyone in the group is a singer. help.” Even back in All-State a clarinetist friend asked “why do singers insist on using their instruments in the hallway!? I don’t play my clarinet while I’m walking, why are they always singing?” I guess, since I don’t seem to possess that nameless, elusive quality that most singers apparently do, people forget that I am one when they talk to me (almost like when nobody knows I have both Jewish and Puerto Rican blood and off-color comments are made in my presence, although thankfully that hasn’t happened in a while). I’m often caught in a weird middle ground where, while I hang out primarily with instrumentalists, I feel left out once they start talking about their rep. When I hang out with singers, I’m most comfortable talking about rep, but there’s that notion that’s been engrained in my head that I’m “not like them” that makes any other conversation topic somehow awkward.

    I guess the stereotype is that we’re loud people. Rightfully so – even if we’re not born with the attitude of constantly being on stage, we’re taught to step out of the comfort zone and do it. And once you start focusing on having poise, flair, and projection on stage, it seeps into daily life. Both my mother and my fiancé will be able to tell over the phone, just by the quality of my speaking voice, if I was just practicing (usually followed by telling me to stop yelling into the phone, which is telling in itself). So, if anyone’s had a negative social or career-related experience with anyone… sadly, we singers probably stick out more just because so many of us strive to be extroverted, and are essentially louder than the rest about it. “Drama,” “diva,” etc. – they’re all stage-related terms, and they all tend to instinctively induce eye-rolls even outside of the classical music scene. I think it’s just an unfortunate, misguided negative association that most people have. Drama on stage means drama off stage as well.

    Or, it could just be insecurity – the same kind I feel once instrumentalists start talking about rep.

    Oh, and honestly: if you had a clarinet conveniently stuck in your body, wouldn’t you play it wherever you go too?

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