What Have I Learned in 2011?

I have had quite a year when it comes to singing jazz. I think about where I was when 2011 started. I knew what I wanted to do, but had a hard time figuring out how to get there. Here is a synopsis of my take-aways.

  • Working with a combo – I have been with the same Jazz Band Masterclass for just over a year. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to singing with a jazz combo, but I’m a lot further along than I was at the end of 2010. The big lesson is communication as we are playing. It’s almost a game of “who’s on first” – who’s taking the solo when.
  • Practicing is important – It’s sometimes boring, sometimes revealing, and sometimes fun, but practice sessions are essential for building my voice. All year, Fred Hughes, our facilitator, kept driving this one home. Scales, chords, songs, you name it. Now, I will admit, I don’t practice every day. But when I do, I can usually get 30-45 minutes in, and it makes a world of difference at the next rehearsal or voice lesson.
  • Our first performance – The combo had its first performance in June at Twins Jazz Club on U Street. It went better than any of us expected – everyone brought their “A” game, and we all felt good about what happened that night. We were honored to have Wes “Warm Daddy” Anderson and Jeff Antoniuk sit in with us on some of the numbers. It was an amazing night.
  • Voice lessons – I started taking voice lessons in October from the amazing Alison Crockett. Through Alison, I have discovered a totally different way to sing jazz using my chest voice. It’s actually kind of a talk/sing technique. I have gotten to know this chest voice very well, and we have taken some journeys together singing amazing things. I never knew I could sing that low!

And the last thing I learned . . .

  • Being Diva is OK, but not to the detriment of the whole – One of my posts this year was about being the Antithesis of Diva. I have learned since then that as a vocalist, I need some amount of diva in order to be the best singer I can be. By this I mean confident, poised, and expressive as I sing, and in between songs when I perform. The more confident I am in my singing ability, the more this becomes reality.

So what will 2012 bring? Who knows. But I’m going to keep on singing.

One Response to What Have I Learned in 2011?

  1. Mary – This is a beautiful post, from a beautiful person. I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings for you. Sign one of your CDs for me some day? I can’t wait to hear how your jazz singing journey continues. (And I listen to some of the good stuff, too. Do you know Emilie-Claire Barlow? ONe of my all-time favs.)

    Bless you – keep singing!

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