Monday, October 11, 2010

Hitting the high notes: I like to sing

When it comes to relaxation, I'm not an A student. I've tried yoga - it made me angry. My friend L, long time yogi, informed me that this was good. That I was physically venting my spleen. Strange, I thought I was just cross because it hurt so damn much and my teacher was insistent that I hold my poses much longer than I thought was humanly possible. Like five seconds or something.

I've tried meditating. It made me realise that my mind is very, very noisy. Concentrating on the space between my eyebrows proved difficult. Mostly because there's not a lot of space there. Just noise. I did learn one thing, though - that I should never, ever sign up for one of those 10-day 'no speakies' meditating workshops. I could very easily drive myself crazy.

Usually, if I'm feeling a bit anxious or uptight or stressed, I walk. Miles, if necessary. Something about the rhythm of it allows me to work through my current crisis and I often find that I can dream up some ideas or an interesting plot point at the same time. This only works, however, if I'm on my own. Walking with Mr3, for example, is like meditating. Very noisy. Only the noise is coming from outside my mind, not inside.

Tonight, I went back to choir. I've had a couple of terms off, for various reasons, but today I was hit with a sudden desire to return. I'm so glad I did. I feel soothed. There is something about hitting a few high notes (and even a few off notes) that relaxes me in a way few things do. It is impossible to worry about anything when you're trying to learn a new song. You can't sing soprano without breathing deeply and often, and you don't have to think about it too much. And there is the pure joy of just letting it all out. Melodically speaking, of course.

I climbed into my car for the journey home and thought carefully about my soundtrack. I needed something I knew and could belt out, but not something too loud. I have been reading Together Alone, Jeff Apter's biography of Tim and Neil Finn. It's a story I've long been fascinated by - so much talent in one family, so many opportunities for sibling rivalry. I've always thought Neil Finn a genius, but have realised in reading the book that I have under-appreciated Tim's contribution to Australian music. All of which is a long-winded way of saying that I chose a best of Crowded House CD and drove home singing harmony with Neil.

In some ways, the car singing and shower singing I do are just as therapeutic as the choir, though without the camaraderie, or the sheer two-hour intensity that the choir offers. I do my best performances in the car or shower, though. No pressure. Never under-prepared. It doesn't matter if I forget the words (which, given my memory, is something I often do).

I have arrived back in Choir Land at just the right time of year, though. We will soon begin our Christmas Carol preparations and, unfashionable as it is, I just love singing Christmas Carols.

All in the name of relaxation, of course.

Are you a singer (be it car/shower/choir/karaoke/covers band)? What do you love to sing?

{image: etsy/annarubyking}


  1. I'm mainly a car singer. But sometimes I'll strap on the iPod during chores round the house and sing my guts out. The earphones help me drown out the noise of my hubby or 5yo asking me to stop singing.

    A new development, though, our new addition (rescue dog Milly, the red kelpie) feels compelled to jump up on me when she hears me start to sing. I like to think it's her way of joining me in a dance. Seriously, the dog goes crazy happy wen I sing.

    So I could probably have a good career doing the dog house circuit.

    Oh, and I like any good singing song - from Missy Higgins to Crowded House to Ani Di Franco to Everclear. Every now and again a bit of Laura Branigan or Dan Hill. ;)

  2. No choir would have me, despite my Welsh heritage but when I'm alone in the car, I sing all the time. (I just have to rein myself in when someone else is there. For their sake.)

    I love singing along to celtic folk/rock - Runrig or Great Big Sea. Crowded House is also good or Goo Goo Dolls or P!nk.

  3. oh, how i love singing. music, and singing, are some of the most important things in the world to me. i was in choir all thru grade school and into college. maybe i should look into one. i hope you felt better after singing!

    thanks for the bday wishes, so sorry you can't be part of the giveaway! boo.

  4. I couldn't agree more. Have taken to belting out a vocal or 2 and dancing around to Lady Gaga and Katy Perry... and even Barbie sing-a-long with my 7 year old.
    She thinks I am almost cool. Shake those sillys out, girls!

  5. I feel the same way. Although I do enjoy yoga, it's definitely not as theraputic as singing. I want to join a choir, but haven't had time, so belting out showtunes, songs from Glee, or whatever's on the radio in the car will have to suffice in the mean time. Enjoy it!

  6. I'm a motorcycle crash helmet singer, and my favourite repertoire is the musical, My Fair Lady. It was the only album I was allowed to play when I was six or seven years old, so I played it endlessly and I still know all the songs. Nothing like zooming down the highway on my Italian Moto Guzzi bike singing "I could have danced all night". Me, weird? Nah.

  7. Allison, I love that you are a singer. How lovely....the breathing thing - deeply and often from singing - lovely.

    I am not a singer. When I do sing, it is, apparently, dreadful. My children, all of them, from a tiny age, screwed up their faces and told me "no singing Mummy."

    Not even in the car alone.

  8. LOL. That was so funny re: the yoga and meditation and 'no speaky' retreats. I'm sooo with you. My mind is way too loud and freaky to be left alone with it for too long.

    Neil Finn and Crowded House rule OK! Did you ever write that on your pencil case in high school? I did! They still rule OK in my eyes;) A very good choice for your car trip home, I reckon.

    And I'm with you... when it comes to my best singing performances, it's always in the car or shower and I'm the superstar and Crowded House are my back up vocals.They love me...until the engine or the water pressure stops!

  9. I sing all the time - Obsessive is the word. I love to learn the words properly and have been warbling 'La Mer' for close on a week now - varied only with a loose rendition of 'Boum'. Good thing Stefan is a little deaf, although once when I was stuck on 'Metti Una Sera A Cena' I looked up to see him standing in the doorway with needle-nosed pliers in his ear, trying to remove his hearing aid...

    p.s. Boum is WONDERFUL for children:
    I wish I had some around!

  10. I like to sing, I really really do, I like to sing.

    I'm glad you're back at choir, your beautiful voice is wasted in the car.

    Check out my blog today for an inkling as to what I might be belting out. It's not pretty. x

  11. I'm a singer!
    A really really loud and really really bad singer, but gosh damn isn't there smething releasing about it? Belting out a tune, making up the words to places where you're "not quite sure what they say".
    I'm one of those annoying people who sings about any and everything, like washing the dishes, or how i've been yelling at the kids all day. Everything can be a song!

  12. Apparently I sing like Worzel Gummidge. Which is a terrible shame because I LOVE it. From the Flower Duet to Rose Tattoo, I'll tackle it all with equal dreadfulness.

    And Christmas Carols are AWESOME.

  13. "...the pure joy of just letting it all out..." You've got it, exactly!

    I sing wherever, badly and loud, usually in the car.

    But sometimes, I sing whenever, especially if I can get my daughter to laugh :)

  14. P.S.: I really enjoyed the Finn Brothers way back in the days of Split Enz. Wow!

  15. I am an awesome singer. Sadly I'm the only person who thinks so.
    The sound of cats wailing is so unappreciated these days....

  16. I sing constantly with joy. I have just joined a choir which starts back in a couple of weeks so I can't wait.

    Singing is just pure me time, no thought just feeling.

    I don't sing particularly well but you've got to love what you do right?

  17. I love to sing in the car and shower - and the kids are starting to join in with me, which is a noise in itself :)

    Although I will protest at karaoke and say no way, I still have a burning desire to just get up there and sing! If only I didn't hit those high notes the wrong way...

  18. I loved this post. You are a great singer and should never confine yourself to only car or shower singing. Please let me know when the concert is on as I will perfect my concert face and enthusiastically attend (if I can). A very fitting day to be speaking about high notes with the sad passing of Dame Sutherland.

  19. I love to sing, I only wish I could do it better. I was Princess Leia in a musical version of Star Wars once. It was our contribution to the end of year concert when I was in year 5. The next year we all wore the same shirt and sang 'Rip Rip Woodchip'. Such a disappointment.

  20. @Tenille - In a day of comments to love, I think yours is my favourite. Princess Leia in a musical version of Star Wars? Does it get any better than that? I can see why you were sorely disappointed the following year.


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