Saturday, February 16, 2013

Boskone 50 - Friday night - Lost phone and Heather Dale Singing Workshop

First off, why do they start on Friday and have so many interesting panels before we can ever show up? It is a three-day weekend. Most of us have Monday off. Why not start on Saturday and spill into Monday?

Anyway, we missed the space panels Friday afternoon. My husband was collecting children and couldn't make it at all. I got a ride to a T station from a kind coworker who lives in the Fenway, but I left my phone in his car. At least I hope it's in his car. It could be on the streets of Boston or picked up by someone nefarious, but anyway, my watch battery was dead and the phone was gone so I didn't know the time and there are no public clocks in the hotel, at least not on the second floor where the panels are being held. After I picked up my badge I guessed that it was some time after 8, so wandered and saw an open door, which helped me decide between two options. It turned out to be an interesting voice workshop given by Heather Dale.

First we learned to stand with our knees "not locked" and take deep breaths and not worry about yawning. We learned about the importance of breathing. We learned about the adrenaline affects and fight-or-flight response that can occur with stage fright. We practiced pushing against a wall to burn off some of the need for a flight response.

Heather said that we could mark a score with where we needed to breathe and practice the breaths along with the song.

She talked about interval training. I had heard about ear-training for intervals when I took a music theory class some years back. Now I learned that singers train themselves to sing intervals. This training was a solution to a problem that one of the filk singers in the workshop brought up early on when he said that he had a tendency to start the second verse in a slightly different key than the first. The solution to this is to learn the interval from the last note of the previous verse to the first note of the next verse and practice it.

Heather said there were many resources for interval training and that we could Google to find them. One interesting mnemonic method is to use known intervals in songs that we all know quite well.
For example, in  My Bonnie lies over the ocean, the interval between "my" and "bon" is a sixth. The interval between "Oh" and "Tan" in "Oh Tannenbaum.." is a 4th. Heather said we could Google to find lists of songs and their intervals, both standard and with sharps and flats.

We practiced singing "do ray me fa soh" up and down and back and jumping from "do" to "son" to learn 4ths. She suggested that this was something we could practice in the car or in the shower. I have a long commute and I'm always looking for something to practice in the car, so it was good to know.

Someone said that she used her piano to help her with interval training. I said mine was too out of tune to trust. Someone else said electric pianos or piano apps would work. I thought, finally, some use for that tiny piano app I downloaded for my Android phone. Assuming I get my Android phone back, of course.

Someone else said that she knows someone who marks her scores with different colors on each line so that she doesn't get lost. That's a good tip.

Heather quoted a Toastmasters saying about performance jitters, which goes as follows:
It's not about banishing the butterflies in your stomach. It's about learning to make them fly in formation.
After that, I went downstairs to the "Art Reception". There was a very long line for food. The food looked appealing but not worth waiting in line, so I grabbed a slice of bread from the line-free Con Suite area and then walked around the art exhibit. After the line went away, I grabbed some desert. Not worth waiting in line for, so just as well. A jazz band was set up in a corner. Around when I was ready to leave, the trumpeter was playing a great solo. I stood there with my coat on but couldn't leave while the trumpeter was playing. He finally did finish, thank goodness. I had no trouble walking out on the electric guitar.

I strolled over to the World Trade Center Silver Line T Station, caught the Silver bus not too long after, caught the subway to Park Street without a very long wait, and read one of the SF books I'd picked up on the freebies table. Stephen Donaldson's The Real Story. I read that to the Newton Highlands stop then walked around snowbanks over to where we were staying. My husband was there. He'd called my cell phone earlier. I could have gotten a ride if I'd had the phone.

Oh well.

It was an interestingly amusingly told story. At least the beginning.

Do you know there's a prejudice against adverbs? I love using them because of that. So there.

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