Sunday, February 16, 2014

Kashu-do (歌手道): One little step at a time

It has been a while since I posted a clip of myself singing on the blog.  There were many reasons why:

When one tries to build something up, there are many who want to tear it down.  The more I got a following, the more I became prone to attack by those who would seek to ridicule my attempt at what some have thought impossible or even stupid.  My gradual retraining from "false baritone" to "true tenor" has not been easy.  I took the rather courageous (or foolhardy) path of sharing the process from its clumsy beginning through not so beautiful midpoint to what I would now call "a more coordinated phase."

I did not want to post something here until I had something that I considered really high quality.  However, some read this blog and access old files that have not sounded anywhere near refined but chose to judge those files as if they were what I considered a final product.  In the end, whether I abstain from posting clips or post them, it matters little to those who seek to see the worst in everything they don't understand or find different.


The other reason is that I have been extremely busy developing an international studio, an enterprise that requires every ounce of energy I have available, particularly at times when I fly 13 planes in 15 days.

In the process of retraining as a tenor, I realized that my voice had not really been trained at all!  My teachers did their best in helping me to understand vocal coordination, assuming that the vocal substance I displayed was all I had.  If there is anything different in what I teach, it is this simple axiom:
"We are not always what we think we are!  And I am not talking about vocal categorization!"

Most singers do not begin their conscious training with a knowledge of what their true vocal color is. Most of us in fact have not developed the laryngeal structure enough to really have a sense of our true vocal color.  Culture, physical robustness, early exposure to operatic singing, etc...have a profound influence on how we relate to our voices.  And those who developed strong vocal attributes in their "pre-conscious" years (those we call natural talents) often have no idea what it takes to develop a voice because they take for granted that you have a voice worthy of singing or you do not.

Contrary to popular opinion, I have not yet encountered a healthy voice that could not be trained to cut through an operatic orchestra.   Whether or not someone has the resilience, determination, passion and persistence to get there is an entirely different question.  I witness minor vocal miracles on a daily basis from those that began with little and achieved a little more.  I rejoice in the little steps because they are the lasting ones.

This retraining to assume my natural tenor voice has been/is my personal Mount Everest.  I will continue to ignore the nay-sayers and keep climbing "one little step at a time" until I can enjoy the great pleasure of making music with my voice the way I always imagined possible.  In the mean time, here is just another point in the journey!

© 02/17/2014



4 comments:

Hemichromis said...

Surely you are now very close to the finished product!
Your voice sounds like Del Monaco but deeper in origination, almost baritonal in nature.

I would love to hear more!

reyes249 said...

i was just thinking the same as Hemichromis. i would love to have a hear. i personally do not mind seeing someone else's process if anything i would like to see it more especially from you. to bare one's self in a journey like this should never be considered foolhardy but wisdom, and of a service that goes beyond self. to show others and even encourage them that although the path maybe tasking and at times not pretty the end goal will be. it takes sight for something great to make us forsake the voices of others who do not add to such an exciting journey but serve to simply attempt to derail a process they don't understand. i sir applaud you and encourage you because a singing community or any community for that matter cannot call itself one if it is out to tear its own people apart.

Kashu-Do said...

Thank you both for your kind words of support. I am close to finishing my training (that is to say to consider myself performance ready), but close is not enough. I realized that I was originally quite weak when it comes to operatic singing. Like many singers of my generation, I sang a sound that was beautiful and worked well in certain circumstances but once I began singing big opera, I realized that something was not adequate. Even though I can now feel pretty comfortable in the tenor tessitura, over the past few years I have come to understand what the great tenors were aiming for. To make those top-quality, well-coordinated and well-structured sounds consistently requires greater strength than I have now. I believe I am a few month away from having my body in top performance shape. It is exciting on the one hand to feel my body respond to my desire to make a specific sound. At the same time I can feel the places that are not immediately responsive. It is important to me to "finish" this work, that is bring it to a level that even the harshest critics cannot put down. I appreciate your solidarity and I will put up more clips from coachings, etc...

Hemichromis said...

I'm afraid you will never get far enough so no critic will find anything wrong! It should be expected of critics. Corelli, Del Monaco, Bjorling, Pavarotti all had critics who did not like them for whatever reason.
Something I'm coming to realise is that we cannot expect to be perfect, we can and should aim for it but our entire being should not depend on us performing a perfect morendo in Celeste aida!
We must be comfortable knowing that we are not perfect, while striving to be so.
After all these imperfections in a singer is what makes them interesting.