It’s hard to explain it, but when you sing to an audience, and particularly a small group of people, you really do feel exposed. Singing acapella, without any backing, to the group this week was hard for all of us because of ‘that feeling’. Couple that with being asked to think deeply about what the song means to you, and to convey that message to your audience, I tripped over the edge.
First the wobble in the voice, like Belinda Carlisle, then full on tears. I knew if anyone was going to do that, it would be me! My heart is more on a stick waving at people than on my sleeve. But Jennifer dealt with it brilliantly, allowing me to sit down immediately and calm down – yikes!
So week 2 and we all brought along our choice of songs to sing. I had a chance to speak to John briefly before the session started, who regularly performs throughout the city centre. John explained that he met Jennifer when she delivered a singing masterclass at City of Liverpool College – where he is studying for a BA in Popular Music.
John is a guitarist and has although he has played in bands a lot, in his current band he became the lead singer. Now in this position he wanted to invest in his voice, and knowing how good Jennifer is, felt compelled to take part in these classes with her.
After a few warm up exercises including lip trills, sirening and diaphragm stretches, (these are difficult to explain so I would suggest you google them) we sat down and took it in turns to perform.
What immediately struck me about each performance, was that we are all very different singers, with very different styles, but I enjoyed each one. All members of the group were very encouraging to one another which makes for such as safe environment to express yourself.
Just a few open, honest and constructive criticisms at the end of each performance, delivered in this welcoming space, led each one of us to perform better, and the change was so immediate.
I sang More Than Words by Extreme and I received comments such as:
“Think about the song itself, what it means to you and how you feel about that.”
“Think about who you are performing to, connect with your audience and convey that message.”
This obviously helped because in my second performance, some of the audience explained they had goose-bumps, which has got to be a good sign! But obviously my third performance was a bit of a write off after I let my emotions bubble-over. I was reassured though, by a few members of the group, that I’m not the only one to have experienced this!
I’m picking a very different song for next week, something a little more testing on my vocal skills, but hopefully not my emotions!