A joyful noise: Discover Prompts, Day 20

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

No joke: my husband thought I was the neighbor’s beagle. OK, let’s back up. You know, as much as I love to sing, I’m not much of a vocal self-starter. In the car, I typically sing along with Evita, Sia, or Fiona (holla if you’ve heard her latest–is it as wild as this Vulture interview with her?).

In the family room, my boys and I butcher Queen and Journey ballads as something of p.j.-wearing chamber music ensemble.

As the newest soprano in my church choir, I spent Advent and the Christmas season joining my voice with others’–led by a choir director who knows how to get the best from us and our vocal chords. (Not squeamish? See vocal chords–not mine–in action, here.)

And so I came to a point in this isolation that I missed it–missed feeling the sound of song start in my guts and travel through my chest into my head all tingly. I felt I needed to sing. Only, the thing about my isolation is that it’s with three other people. What’s one more than trisolation? Anyway, it’s not exactly the introvert’s ideal. So, I warned them, closed my office door, and began. I am not great, or even very good, but I am loud. So, it was during these vocal exercises that my husband mistook my voice for a dog’s.

Reader, we are still married.

Joking aside, it’s been nice to explore the free resources–and plain fun–available to amateur singers on YouTube. I like vocal coach Madeleine Harvey’s warm ups and especially her video on head voice. Freya Casey, a German opera singer and vocal coach, also leads singers through exercises and has a “How to Sing” series that breaks down popular songs–including Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro.” All it takes is 17 minutes, folks. Or, a lifetime. Still, it’s fun to try. And then there’s swoony Josh Groban’s latest isolation-themed #ShowerSongs series. Sorry, Grandma, he’s fully clothed. But check out that subway tile.

So, tell me, how are your hobbies going in isolation, trisolation, or otherwise?

I’m chronicling our isolation with the help of WordPress Discover Prompts. This post was in response to Discover’s daily prompt: Music. Care to join in? Read others’ responses here. My other prompts responses:

Like what you read? Check out my categories above, with Rust Belt author and photographer interviews, essays, stories, book reviews, writing advice, and more. Are we social? Find me at FB and at Twitter @MoonRuark

Open Wide

Image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

Nope, not a post on eating, or on embouchure (a new favorite word meaning lipping, or using the lips, face, tongue, and teeth to play an instrument–including our first instrument, our voice). But close.

Today I’m going to talk about singing. Yep, on a reading and writing blog. Stop me. You’ve heard me say here before that my next-life career plan is to be an opera singer. I feel pretty confident my lack of planning for the rigors of this job isn’t going to bite me in the ass, since I’m pretty sure my next-life ass will be incorporeal.

Lack of planning for this-life careers can hurt, however. Which is why I want to talk about the glories of hobbies and my new hobby. Wait for it…

Backstory: I was never one much for hobbies. By the time I was in middle school, ballet had progressed from hobby to vocation, as serious as a religious calling in my mind: all time-consuming and all identity-consuming. I was not a girl with hobbies but direction.

When injury knocked me off that career path, I briefly considered going to culinary arts school. I mean, I liked to cook–it was fun. Why not make a job of it? (Truth be told, I think I was just excited to, finally, eat.)

Next stop: English major. And here I am, writing for my job-and-passion.

However, it’s only as I’ve gotten older that I’ve been able to start separating job-and-passion and realize I don’t have to make a gig of everything I’m passionate about.

So, we arrive at singing. My mom and her mom both enjoyed singing, both sang with their church choirs, and plied Christmas carols at the piano on the eve. (Can you hear my children groaning at the very thought?) Neither woman conspired to rise in the ranks of the choral world or make a single cent off their voices.

Is it me, or does today’s gig economy-mindset encourage us to turn any talent, penchant, or hobby into a job? To monetize passion. And in doing that, does the passion remain? (I’ll let you know from the afterlife how the opera goes.) Here and now, I have to say, I started this blog as a little passion project and have rejected the idea of making money from it–maybe, partly, because it would make blogging a job. (And I have one of those already.) Do hobbies now smack of privilege?

They say that if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life—but what if what you love becomes nonstop work?

From “The Truth About the Gig Economy” by Julia Tache

Who has time for hobbies? Maybe none of us. Maybe we all should be striving to monetize every facet of ourselves. But, really, no one is ever going to pay me to sing.

Yet, that didn’t stop me from belting out the carols as the newest member of the soprano 1 set in my church choir. (Don’t laugh–or do. Either way, I loved it.) I loved it, even when I messed up the last few stanzas of “Come Join the Angels Singing.” I loved it when I probably didn’t quite hit the high note in “Carol of the Bells.” I loved it so much that when my boys hugged me after the concert, I didn’t think to turn the moment into a photo op.

So…jobs, passions, hobbies, gigs. What’s your take? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

But first, Merry Christmas, if you celebrate it. I hope that all the voices you hear sing sweetly as angels!