Tuesday, November 10, 2009


In his first autobiography, My Own Story, Luciano Pavarotti stressed the importance of practicing every day. Miss one day, he said, and "the voice" falters. I wonder, if it's true, would the reason be physiological or psychological, or both? I understand, from my resident former bodybuilder, that building muscles requires rest time. Most bodybuilders don't push the same muscles to the limit every single day. Instead, they alternate, giving muscle tissue time to repair and recover. Maybe this is hogwash. Even if true, it may have no relevance to singing.

Virginia brings this topic to mind. Fifteen years after completing a section hike with her father, she steps out of the New York State Theater in Manhattan and heads to Springer Mountain, Georgia, where she snaps on a backpack and begins the climb to places like Damascus and the James River Face Wilderness. Is she so burned out she stops singing altogether? Does she hum as she scales the heights and open her full voice into the overlooks?

Last Wednesday evening also prompted these thoughts as the Rockbridge Chamber Singers sightread the Liebeslieder Walzer (Lovesong Waltzes) by Johannes Brahms. I'm not a quitter, but I considered signing out as I struggled with the tenor tessitura (the vocal range most prevalent for tenors in the musical selections). My voice finished the practice exhausted, most likely because I haven't sung with any regularity for eight years. Too long. Not too late, I hope.

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