So we had reached the final day of singing with Jennifer John. Yasmin’s voice was going and Jennifer was suffering too with a throat infection. We thought it could be off at first but we battled through our final session together.
Working on recapping the elements we had already learned and checking if anyone had any questions about how they could improve their voice, I mentioned that I would like to learn more about singing together, with a choir in harmony.
So we gathered around the piano and worked on pitching harmonies and finding a way to blend our voices. It was really interesting that we found ourselves reaching for each other pitches at first, but that when we thought about where our sound had resonated, in our bodies, we could find that note again.
Jennifer asked us to sing our songs again to the group and this time, we had to imagine ourselves in different spaces. I was asked to imagine myself singing to an arena. Like the Liverpool Echo Arena, ooh blimey!
The performance effectively began when we introduced our song. I found this exercise really hard because aside from your initial feeling – absolutely bricking it – you then had to hold yourself differently and make everything about your performance bigger.
Apparently I nailed it in the chorus of Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ but just couldn’t summon up the same feeling for the verse. Then, Jennifer mentioned that I had sung it too low. She went to the piano and found a starting note about 5 tones up from where I had begun, which was fine for the verse but I really wasn’t sure I’d make the chorus as it goes much higher.
Bingo, I actually hit the high notes with relative ease and then because I was so shocked, I lost it completely and couldn’t even remember the words. But ultimately Jennifer was right and I even surprised myself there!
The singers and I had a brief chat at the end of the session, because I wanted to understand how each of us were going to use our newly taught skills to develop our singing further. But what was really clear was that everyone had really enjoyed the experience. So regardless of what’s next, musical theatre auditions or just improved performances, just taking part meant so much to us.
I think that, everyone, musicians or singers, at whatsoever level, could benefit from this opportunity because not only does Jennifer have the calibre and experience, she is a true coach. Recognising each of our differences and finding ways to develop our individual skills further.
The sessions have given us ways to train our voices going forward, like tuning your guitar and practicing your scales on the piano, which we all plan to continue. But we also learned to build our own confidence in our singing which has meant a great deal to us individually.
It is also heartening to know that, when asked if there is anyone she cannot help to improve, Jennifer simply said, no. Everyone can sing and everyone can learn to sing better.
I’ll leave you with those words of wisdom.