Friday, July 13, 2007

Singing Along

These flowers were the backdrop for our performance tonight at an outdoor art sale. At times like this I really appreciate being able to look at the scenery, not sheet music.

My teacher says that one of the best ways to improve intonation is to sing solfege syllables while playing scales. I find this a little frustrating, as it is sometimes hard to tell whether it is my singing or my cello playing that is not on pitch. While I have sung in several community choirs, I do need to stand next to someone who can actually sing so I can match pitches. So, singing the scales is a struggle, but I do believe it is helpful.

The fiddle group I play with loves to sing. Usually, they are standing, and I am sitting, so I can't lean into the microphone with them and sing along. Tonight, we played a two-hour sit-down gig, so I was on and equal footing with everyone else. So, tonight, I sang. Barely audibly, but I sang, pleased with myself for being able to coordinate this complex task of singing and playing at the same time. Can't say for sure how it sounded though!

Several people complimented my cello playing tonight, including the guitar player sitting next to me, who said he like my "bass-playing" accompaniment.

He laughed when he said it though, reminding me a little of myself when I tell people trying out a string instrument for the first time that they really have talent. The first time I said this, I was trying to be funny, meaning just the opposite. The player took me seriously, and, beaming, continued to play and enjoy herself. Now, I tell everyone they have talent, and I think they all do. It's just a matter of what they do with it, and a little encouragement always helps.

I choose to feel encouraged.


cellodonna said...

You most certainly should feel encouraged. You’re holding an important position in your fiddling group and doing so very successfully. To top it off, it sounds like you’re having a blast.

I liked what you said below in another post about playing in tune. Something about fast-and-out-of-tune being better than slow … and … out … of … tune. Yup. I agree. That’s how I got through parts of the Karelia Suite for our spring concert this year. :)

On a more serious note (pun intended, of course) re playing in tune, it really helps to hear the next note in your head before you actually play it. Sometimes singing aloud or humming works for me, but it depends on the passage. I've tried the solfege thing while playing scales, and it seems to help.

Anonymous said...

I've given up trying to sing whilst playing the piano or cello as, inexplicably, my nose and eyes start to stream! Not a pretty sight. It's certainly not in response to the beauty of the occasion!

Anonymous said...

Excellent choice, Maricello.

Maricello said...

Thanks, all, for your support!

Good point about hearing the note in your head. I find thinking about reaching for the sound of the note, rather than the position of the note, to be helpful.

I tried singing scale to the piano the other day, then eked out a simple version of "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair." Lots of work to be done on both voice and piano, but at least there were no tears. :-)