Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Finding My Voice

Before I chanted Torah last Saturday, I acknowledged that it would not be perfect and just asked God to give me confidence. I was really scared of hearing my own voice, just me!

When I was a child, I never wanted to hear my voice. I would put my hands over my ears when my parents played their reel-to-reel tape recordings that included my voice. Why was I so uncomfortable listening to myself? Was I afraid that what I would hear would reveal a flaw, a fault?

I have never wanted to sing a solo. For whatever reason, I have always sung alto in choirs, never feeling like I could project the sound, especially when it got into the lower range. The one time that I had a line to sing in a small chorale, I could barely make myself come in.

When I first started practicing the trope, I realized that the sound came more easily if I pitched it higher. I also realized that if I really breathed and relaxed I really enjoyed the sound. The first time we practiced with the actual Torah and I was feeling afraid, I heard it in my voice and didn't like the cracking sound.

After I sang on Saturday, several people said to me, “Why in the world are you an alto? You actually have a soprano voice!” I actually liked hearing my voice, especially for the trope tunes that covered a broad range of notes.

I had a very interesting discussion of this with Kathryn today. She has identified a pattern that my Torah-chanting fits into, whereby I am searching for a way to make myself recognized and heard, I’m trying to find my own voice.

I think this extends on to my music. I have always been content in the past to play for myself, or for noone in particular. I finally want to make music with others, finally to let other people hear what I can do.

The curious thing about this search for my voice is that it may well be something completely different than I would have thought. But that’s OK as long as I like the sound!

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