Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Voice

Even as I write this, I’m singing.

My mother said that when I awoke from sleeping as a baby, she would find me singing softly to myself. My sister Elena would cry and want to be stroked and soothed, but I awoke singing and kept myself comforted through my baby songs.

I was a speech pathologist in Utah when American Idol went on the air. My students constantly told me I ought to audition. Alas, I was already chronologically too old to audition—past the age slated for the super-young feel of the show and its contestants, but I watched and wondered and cheered my young friends on to glory.

The Voice… should I audition? I see the audition date. It’s in Southern California, where my parents live. It’s in summer, when I won’t need to be working with my students in Washington Heights here in New York. New York, ‘singer central,’ as my friend Laura calls it. I’m now in New York, where my love of singing has led me after years of adoring Broadway music and fascination with places like Lincoln Center and the great white way.

I’m in a car with Mom. We’re driving to Los Angeles. I’ve warmed up. I’ve watched a couple of episodes and seen how Christina Aguilera encourages her ladies and how the other judges hone their teams. I’ve studied the singers, I’ve checked out the website, I’ve analyzed the technique of the winner and finalists of season one. I’ve prepared with my New York teacher—something simple, something sweet, something that I hope I can honestly share with the judges and audience…

Something is different about my technique. My New York teachers have taken me beyond the idea of just making a beautiful sound—I need to really communicate when I sing. I need to share. I need to move past vocal gymnastics and technical glory to communicating something really real.

When I practice singing to my parents, getting ready to audition, I cry. It’s so very real. I look into their eyes and sing. I communicate. It’s startlingly real. It’s not a show, not an act, not a display. It’s a real soul to soul communication of a pleading cry.

In Los Angeles, I must leave Mom behind to enter the enormous arena where thousands of people swarm, each of us kindly herded through an efficient waiting and warming up process by friendly Voice workers. A young, artsy, suited man listens to my group of ten, encourages us to clap for each other, and makes notes on an apple computer at a clean desk. I listen to my new compadres as they each take their moments of soulful singing.

I get up to share. I sing it out—my fellow singers listen and hope for me. I share.

When I’m finished, I find Mom—the song was for her. And Dad. I wonder if they could hear me from the depths of the Los Angeles arena. I sing it for them again just in case they couldn’t.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Singforhope.org-- I love this organization :)

I took a walk yesterday-- the first day out of school!!! Awesome. I'd seen one of the pop-up pianos at Highbridge Park during our 2nd-3rd grade historical field trip, and I wanted to know more!!! Imagine my excitement when I saw a brightly painted piano in my very own beloved Inwood HIlls Park.

I met my neighbor and her cute 2-year-old there yesterday, and we played our best renditions of 'chopsticks' and 'heart and soul', and then we attempted to sight-read a few of the very multicultural songs provided at the piano... We paid homage to Mozart, we made plans to reconvene at the piano for more music soon, and we went on our merry way.

Today: I went for my noon sunshine walk. A cute elementary-school-aged girl and her mother were at the piano, getting ready to play their rendition of 'Lean On Me.' I encouraged this, singing along with my most soulful sound. When they were through, I plopped down and warmed up my fingers with a couple of rusty scales, which, though rusty, still drew a friendly audience. So I dived into "O Solo Mio" at the encouragement of my new tennis playing friend Nosario. We were joined by Rafael, who lent vocals, and soon by a wonderful woman and her 2-year-old charge. After Rafael, an unidentified man with soul (talk about Guantanamera renditions!) and Nosario (Julio Iglesias tunes... wow, who knew there was so much talent around) had given us some tunes, 2-year-old curly boy gave what might have been his first public performance of an original composition and received thunderous applause.

The group made plans to reconvene for more music on Saturday at noon, with volunteers to bring food and strategies for interacting with the adjacent Saturday farmer's market popping out of the woodwork. A community triumph.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blooming Arts Festival...

Upcoming... the Blooming Arts Festival!!! It's happening at 1815 Riverside Drive and it's free!!! Go on June 25! There will be all kinds of amazing visual art. Then... come that night, for performances beginning at 6 pm... and for the debut of a piece I'm creating entitled "The Olive Tree." More to come...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

excerpt from my first novel, The Authoress... circa 2004.

Writing a novel is a great way to improve your language skills!!

Here's an excerpt from my first complete novel, written about 6-7 years ago. Enjoy!

It all started the day they had the assembly at her school with The Author. Helooked normal. He had brown hair, bespectacled eyes, and a beard and moustache. Hewore a suit, smiled, and held a book in his hand. As he looked over the vast group of assembled children, poking at each other, laughing, and looking at him curiously, he smiled in a very relaxed way. He and the principal were having a little conversation and seemed to be good friends...

Then he began to speak. And when he spoke, everyone became quiet. He had a soft voice, but he talked of the most wonderful things. He talked about creating worlds. He talked about creating people. He talked about writing stories.

He said that in your stories, you could decide everything. You could decide whoyou wanted in your story, how tall they were, and what they liked to eat for dinner. You could decide how they dressed, whether they had any pets, and what kind of toothpaste they used. But most importantly, you could decide what happened to them, and how their best dreams came

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Preschool Fluency Info

Here is some great info for parents of preschool children who are wondering if their child is stuttering and what to do about it... Check it:

www.stutteringhelp.org, then click on 'Parents of Preschoolers.'

I ABSOLUTELY love this website. You can also find speech language pathologists who specialize in fluency at www.asha.org, the website of the American Speech Language Hearing Association.

Thanks to all the great fluency practitioners out there!!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Oscar's first day in my apartment

Oscar the fledgling had a fun-filled day. He jumped out of his box 3 times. Luckily Manolo the cat didn't notice. He chirped a few times. He seems to like it when I sing. He likes recorded music also, especially my musical theater mix. I gave him some birdseed. I think he might be ready to fly soon. I wonder how I will know when he's ready to face the world?

Monday, June 21, 2010

I adopted a bird

On my summer solstice walk tonight, I rescued a baby bird that would probably otherwise have been food for a wandering cat or dog. He is a cutie. I think I'll name him Oscar.

So far he is enjoying living in a white box that is meant for storing school papers. He has a birdbath (plastic plate filled with water) and some bread crumbs. I think he's settling in.

So far Manolo the cat hasn't really noticed him. I think that's a good thing.

More to come soon!