Nera

Monthly Archive: January 2015

Don’t try this at home

You would think there is nothing in common in singing and snowboarding, right?

This month I’ve been terribly lazy. I haven’t done barely any warm ups, just sang for a few hours a day. And usually before that I was cruising down the slopes of Hakuba. Not a good idea. Why? I mean my body would be warm enough by the afternoon and prepared for singing, right? No, not really.

I kind of did this as a test. The CVT(complete vocal technique) method says that warming up is not needed before singing.” Your vocal folds are already 36 celsius. ” (Hahaha, that was a good one.) I deliberately put that to test. How far can I go without any warm up or daily vocal exercises?

The answer is pretty far. 3 weeks went by without any “problems”. A few days ago I noticed the first really big issue. My voice cracked in a register that shouldn’t crack anymore. Nothing should crack anymore… Already before that I noticed that the lack of warming up takes out a whole layer from my voice. It’s tricky to explain, but it seems that I lack the richness of chest voice and at the same time I can’t really mix going higher up, so I switch to falsetto or head voice.

What does this have to do with snowboarding? I noticed that without warming up my voice and my body for singing I can’t tap into the correct feelings. Not talking about emotions here. I mean I seem to be somewhat puzzled and all over the place by how the singing should feel like. I know that I should think down, not up, but I just can’t seem to be able to do it.

Same with snowboarding. Can’t really say which came first, the lack of depth in my voice or the snowboarding without using properly the middle part of my body. Maybe one is a consequence, don’t know. But I know what it feels like to really use your core for singing and snowboarding. I guess that is what some teachers refer to as support. You use the same thing for singing and snowboarding. What I’m trying to describe here is the fact that lately I felt that I snowboard “on my toes”, that I reach up instead of thinking down and the same feeling continued to my singing. Can’t really speak about downforce or can I here, but that’s the closest thing that comes to my mind.

Once you’ve experienced what I’m talking about, you end up chasing that same feeling. I found it a few times (yeah, I know, just a few?) It feels like your back is opening up to a whole universe and you could hold out any voice and sing anything with ease forever) It’s a huge feeling.

That means that I rob myself from the joy of riding and singing smoothly. It’s like painting in monochrome, yes, it could be nice, but why not use all the colours in the rainbow if you have them anyway?

Now I need to get back to rehabilitating my voice. How? Well, this is a pretty good exercise.

As for the CVT idea, well, for me that was utter bullshit. (Pardon my language) All you CVT fans, you are allowed to disagree.

 

Hello, hello

As the saying goes, sometimes you need to go far to see what’s right in front of you. So far I haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary, haven’t learned anything new, haven’t had any huge revelations.

Yet, I wandered in a pitch dark corridor in a Buddhist temple searching for enlightenment with tens of others. I sang for anybody that walked through the small vegan cafe at the bottom of the Men’s olympic course. I took my 2nd snowboarding lesson ever on an icy green terrain. I cried of happiness when I sat in the chairlift listening to First aid kit with half meter of fresh powder below my feet. I filled the kerosene heater  what seems like a zillion times, cleaned tables, learned to make latte and cappuccino and what’s the difference with the two. I met a lot of new people. Some nice, some not so nice. Some famous, some “normal”. And I sang and I sang.

Here is a picture of me in my wool pants! I love them! I got the chance to meet with these two lovely ladies, Mira and Hanna, that run the Finnish label Uhana Design in Tampere, (http://www.uhanadesign.fi) They were kind enough to sponsor me with the pants or actually leggings and earrings. The leggings are really handy, it’s not too warm in the cafe. 😀

Roots1

My worst fear was to play alone. Yes, I’ve played alone before, but busking on noisy streets is a different ballgame. The inner monologue went on and on. What will people think? I’m such a crappy guitar player, yadda, yadda, yadda.

But all that went away the minute I got to play. I can’t say that I’m a great guitar player.  But I am learning by doing. That seems to work for me a lot better than “I should go to guitar lessons”and postpone them for another year or 3. I learn because I have to. And yes, I will go to guitar lessons once I am back, but for now I just do it!

I love that I get feedback instantly from people chilling out in the cafe. It’s great! “Beautiful!” Thank you for the entertainment” or just thumbs up. There is of course always room for improvement. So I try to learn and play every other day a new song and hopefully in the future do something all together different. A few a cappella songs maybe? Could be fun.

I think the best part in going new places is meeting new people. Exchanging life stories or insights, whatnot. Cassie, the barista in the cafe mentioned an Australian singer I never heard of before, Missy Higgins. Here is one of her video that I liked. There is something raw in it. Enjoy!