Misery loves company, and I believe we're all in good company these days, when it comes to the economy. The stories are everywhere: orchestras asking musicians to play for free, artists reducing their fees, people losing their jobs, students quitting due to financial problems, financial aid drying up, teachers receiving pink slips, concerts being canceled.
Are you carrying around a bag of worries? Well, unload for a moment, check all the problems that apply, and we shall commiserate. We'll use the comments below to vent, gripe, and try to encourage each other.
Last week, I asked if you can sing, and most people said they could, though some had better voices than others. But one reader mentioned that his job involved singing while playing, doing backup vocals and such.
Singing while playing!
Not so unusual; guitarists and pianists seem to do this with frequency and ease. But despite the fact that we violinists don't need our mouths to make our instruments speak, we don't all sing while playing. In fact, some of us probably don't even breathe while we're playing!
And that brings me to talking while playing. A friend of mine who is a Suzuki teacher trainer advises aspiring teachers that they'd best learn to speak while playing. It's a great skill to have.
Personally, I find it rather hard to sing or speak while playing, but I probably should learn. To be honest, I usually mess up: either I jumble the notes or I jumble what I'm saying.
So I'd like to include both singing and speaking in this week's poll: Can you speak and/or sing while you are playing your violin? If so, what do you use this skill for? And how did you cultivate it, or were you simply born with the ability to do high-level multitasking?
Hey this is a violin website, why are you asking me if I can sing?
I sometimes joke that "I have no voice, that's why I had to take up the violin..." It's not entirely true; I have a voice, I sing in tune, and I've even sung in a number of choirs -- at the back of the altos. I confess to singing in the car and in the shower as well. But if you asked me to sing the solo in church on Sunday (and you wouldn't), I would run away in a panic. Give me my violin, if you want to hear my voice!
Of course, as a child I loved to sing -- I'm a musician! I sang every song I heard, and I listened at every possible opportunity. I hummed, I whistled...honestly, I still do. I also encourage students to sing.
However, I no longer believe that those who can't or won't sing are not musical, as I used to. I've met a number of excellent musicians who don't really sing, for various reasons: shyness, a weak or untrained voice, etc.
Where do you stand on this issue? Can you sing? Do you sing?
Here are some thoughts on the matter from a good man, Bob McGrath, whom I saw riding in the Rose Parade here in Pasadena this year. I got to play with him back in the last millennium, when I was in the Disney College Orchestra. Sing it, Bob! :)
Enter to win Leonidas Kavakos' recording of the Brahms Violin Concerto.
The Weekend Vote is from Pasadena, California. Biography
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