27 February 2008

#5: Take Music Lessons Again

Well, I FINALLY did it! I've completed another item on my Next Five. It took me a while, but I hope this is just a one-time thing and the rest will come more quickly.

Two weeks ago I began taking voice lessons for the first time since graduation in June 2005. I meet with the chair of the WWU Department of Music every Friday afternoon to go over the mezzo solos in the Mozart Requiem, as I will be performing with WWU's choir and orchestra (along with 3 other soloists) on Alumni Weekend in April.

The lessons are actually quite fun, though they have been draining, as I have not been practicing as much as I should for the last 2 1/2 years. I learned a lot even on the first day, as Dr. James has MUCH expertise to impart.

I have never taken lessons from him before, but he is very honest, experienced, and entertaining. During my warm-ups, his facial expressions force me to look away so as to not burst out laughing in the middle of "ee-oh-ee-oh-ee." He's only trying to get me to open my my mouth (and consequently my throat and diaphragm), but the expressions he makes doing that rival any clown.

His lesson techniques are absolutely fabulous. He makes it a point never to criticize the first attempt at a certain warm-up. He may criticize the second, but never the first. He also manages to tell me I did something VERY wrong without making me feel as stupid as I most likely sounded.

Dr. James has also been singing for many, many years. Longer than I've been alive, actually. His solo "resume" includes playing Don Giovanni at a large opera house in Rome. He can speak Italian and understands Latin. He also knows how to sing in practically any language anyone has ever written in. This makes learning pronunciation easy, yet incredibly frustrating at times.

So now that I have accomplished #5: Take music lessons again, what will I add to my list? How about something I'm sure I'll be able to accomplish relatively soon? Here we go - my NEWEST Next Five addition:

#5: Get in touch with the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce regarding their open Event Planner position and learn more about it.