January 14, 2014

Reasonable Doings for My Days (a.k.a. Singing & Music Theory)

First off, off the topic, there’s snow!! I have been waiting for snow for months and now it finally came... but so did the freeze... Today it suddenly was -17 Celsius outside even through the whole “winter” so far it has been from - 2 – +10 Celsius and no snow! And the sun has been clouded for such a long time – but the colder the weather, the more beautiful day it is and the sun will shine...

If I would have had time today I would have gone outside to photograph (the reason will become clear on the text below...) but if tomorrow will be as beautiful as this day, I will sure to grab my camera and go outside!

I have been concentrating on writing so much and my current life situation has kept me a lot of home, inside four walls. I have tried to get out of there every day so I won’t get cabin fever... But to be honest, in between writing, I have had a lot of free time I haven’t know what to do with. Even I have tried to change my lifestyle and see people more I sometimes feel... what’s the word... lonely, isolated, etc. My parents have told me to find something nice to do, a hobby or a class or something, anything.

Tampere's community college's booklet about their classes comes in every spring and autumn. The only problem is that it is only distributed in the area of Tampere (obviously) but since I now live in Pirkkala (still right next to Tampere) I will not get it – sure there’s a similar booklet of our area but the classes in it sucks and they are in the middle of nowhere (or more like in the places I don’t know). Luckily my dad always calls me when the booklet comes. He told he got the booklet and brought it to me, asking me to pick the classes I’m interested.

Last week I signed in for Tampere's community college's classes. I was late for signing in for the classes and first I thought it was all over for the spring. But then I found that signing in for the classes continues through the whole spring! Some of the classes I had been watching were already full (such as violin or piano lessons, but that was no surprise) but I managed to find classes that I found just right for me: singing lessons and music theory. I immediately called to the office of the Tampere's community college and they said I can only sign in advance for the music theory class but to sign in for the singing class I must go to the first lesson. The classes happened to be on the same day - the singing class was at noon and lasted two and a half hours while the music theory class was after seven on the evening and lasted for an hour and a half.

Today, my dad was kind enough to pick me up so I saved time. He dropped me at the community college and I went inside and found the right classroom. I went in and we waited for the rest of the students. There were about 7 or 8 students, me included. The teacher immediately spotted me and that I was a new face and asked my name. She is one of the few who didn’t have to ask how to spell my last name for many people don’t know how it’s spelled after first hearing.

The singing class started by stretching a little and opening our voices. It felt that the teacher assumed that everyone knew what we were supposed be doing next and I had to watch at first a little how the thing are done there because some of the students were “old” so they had been on the class before. The teacher gave us each pointers how to do the exercises better – to me she said immediately that I was doing the breathing exercise correctly. It was because I still did remember what my old singing teacher had told me when I had gone to singing lessons some years ago. The class’ name was “solo singing” and I had asked from the office, when I had called there to sign in for the classes, will it be one on one lesson with a teacher like violin lessons I had been on a few years back and she said it will be in group. I was of course nervous for that do I really have to sing in front of a group of people I have never seen before.

After warming up ourselves and our voices we sang a few songs together and then was a time to sing solo... But yes, in front of the whole group. At first I was so nervous and thought could I do it for I haven’t sang in many years in front of a teacher or anyone else – me singing in the shower doesn’t count! Everyone went to pick a song for them to sing solo and I couldn’t find anything but a children’s bed time song we already sang as a group. I was determined that I would not want to be the last one singing but I didn’t wanted to be the first... I watched how the teacher gave pointers to each students before me, stopping between the verses and singing along with some of the students to show how to do it properly - she was very nice and professional, not mean. I could only imagine what she would say to me for I didn’t even know did I even remember how to sing anymore properly and everything came into my head; what if my voice breaks, what if some of the students laughs at me, what if I’m not good enough?

After every student, the other students and the teacher applauded. When another student went sitting I just decided to rise from my chair and go in front of the class. I gave the sheet music to the teacher and started to sing. She didn’t stop between the verses, she didn’t give me pointers, she just played to the end of the song. I was nervous, why didn’t she said anything? And then it came... “You have a very good voice. Have you sang before?” I was stunned. “Yes, some years ago”, I answered a bit shy. She said I sing correctly and that my voice is strong, good and firm, which she meant it doesn’t “leak”. The only pointer she could think of was that I should put more emotion to the lyrics I’m singing and while the other students used their 10 minutes of solo singing working with their singing technique I was working to put more emotion to the lyrics instead of the technique. At first when I listened the other sing it felt that ten minutes was so very long time to be up there in front of everyone, but when I was there myself, the time seemed to fly... When my time was up, everyone applauded and I was so happy I had done it and faced my fears. I hide my big smile with taking the sheet music back to the teacher’s desk and turning my back when I did, smiling.

I kind of hoped the teacher would have given me more critique about my singing technique but maybe next time. I will be choosing something more challenging than just a children’s bed time song for next time, that’s for sure. I think of choosing the Finnish version of the song “Walking In The Air” called “Avaruus” (if I can find my old sheet music for it) for I have sang it solo in a church, full of people when I was 17. I’d like to see can I still sing it... It was interesting to see the feedback everyone got and learn from it too. I first thought two and a half hours would go by painfully slowly but it felt more like an hour.

We had admired the ice crystallizing to the window before the class started. Everyone were like “we need to take a picture!” and I said I had a camera with me (I always do). I tried to take a decent picture even though I prefer my single-lens reflex camera but my tiny (but surprisingly good) digital camera was all I had to work with at the time...

I left from the singing class so happy! I still had music theory later on that evening but I had time to go home after the singing class to relax a little and to get myself ready for the next class. I now waited the music theory class anticipated because the singing class had gone so well. When we left from home to walk to the bus stop, we saw this odd light appearance on the sky – it was like aurora but without moving: 

I changed bus in the city center and drove near the Tampere's community college and walked rest of the way. I found the classroom and I was the first one in there. The teacher asked my name and then she asked what was my relationship towards music. I told her that I used to go to violin lessons and I have sang since I was a child and that I’m listening all kind of music from classical to rock, heavy metal and movie soundtracks. The teacher asked me why had I came to the class and I said to her that I would like to refresh my memory of that when time I was still going to music theory class as a part of my violin lessons and that I would like to learn the theory behind the music. The teacher had time to talk with me so she asked why did I gave up playing violin. I said I didn’t gave up, but my financial situation at that time forced me to stop going to the violin lessons but since then I have been searching for a teacher...

As the other students started to get there, there seemed to be “old” students from last autumn, but from every new student the teacher asked about the same question; “what is your relationship with music?” The teacher called everyone’s names – not all students were present but the class started anyway. It seemed to start where the rest of the “old” students had left of from last autumn. Still the new students said they didn’t know what the teacher was talking about so we started at the absolute basics again – from major scale to minor scale, time signature, octaves, intervals, etc. The music theory class was so interesting! The teacher was funny, told a lot about the history of music and said we could ask anything at any time so everyone would understand everything. The music theory class had only one problem, the same problem with singing class: the time went by too fast! I was like “oh, is it over so soon?” when the class ended.

I’m nervous every time there’s something new and exciting and something to do with new people I don’t already know - I had been very nervous since yesterday and thought would I go to the classes at all. But my parents have talked to me about facing my fears and to conquer them. So I decided to put my nervousness aside and go to the classes, no matter what... It has been one of my best decisions I’ve made lately. And I had to admit to my parents that this was a great thing for me! My dad has been telling me to take these classes for years and now I finally done it (more than just one class in some random year). I was so excited after today’s classes – now after my Tuesday is full I’m playing with ideas what to do with my other days... maybe more classes, if that’s still possible..?

This day has been so awesome and I can’t wait until next Tuesday!

p.s. I already found many songs and sheet music to choose from for the next singing lessons...

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