Oh Little Town of Bethlehem

Bethlehem 12

Note: Skip this blog and all my eventual others labeled singing if you are not into non-professional A Capella singing…..

Yes the thought gives me shivers too.

I hate singing A Capella. I suck at it. But I want to improve my tendency to slide under notes, and this is the only way I can think to do it. Plus, I have no music and I can’t play anything due to spacial dyslexia (I cant tell right from left)  🙂 So after about 10 tries, this is the best effort for this lovely Christmas song. And thank you friends for encouraging me to keep trying. I am compiling these for my parents for Christmas as a gift to them although I’m not sure if it will be a gift or a torture session!

So why don’t I use music?  I haven’t found anything free that I like; I like to embellish and create complimentary sections; I like to control my own meter instead of being controlled by the music (something my voice instructor HATED when I was training!)

But I march to the beat of my own drum, even when the drum is making my eardrums bleed.  Stubborn doesn’t even begin to cover it.  One of my first phrases to my mom was ” I CANT want to!!!”  She should have bundled me up and left me on a church doorstep right then and there.  Bless her lovely soul.

I started voice training last year from 2 events that occurred in my life: cancer and a dream.  Cancer helped me get off the merry-go-round and try new stuff (like blogging!)  My dream scared the pee right out of me. I was in heaven, and God looked at me and told me to sing a song.  I tried and nothing would come out. I said I was sorry but I couldn’t.  He told me that he gave me a gift and I didn’t develop it and  I wasnt getting any crown.  Or a mansion.  Just a doghouse. I woke up in terror, and thought ok I’m signing up cause I don’t want THAT to happen!

So I decided I would try.  Didnt work out so good.  My instructor put me on a professional track and I injured my voice rather badly because the songs were too ambitious for my level–couldn’t sing for 3 months.  But giving up after one attempt is pretty wimpy, so here I am doing recordings and trying to decide if my “I think I can” train can go up that hill again.

And comments or criticisms or constructive assistance are always welcome.  Even “you suck, stop putting this out for me to waste my time on” is really quite ok.  It just makes me work harder……


5 comments on “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem

  1. Your intonation (sense of pitch) is quite good! You close your mouth or hold your throat too tightly. That’s why your tone is “thin”. You really have to open up that mouth to be able to achieve dynamic range and a “dark” tone that will blend well. Though it’s fine to use a free tempo if you are singing only by yourself, you will have to learn to count if you ever want to participate with others, like in a choir. It is easier to learn than you’ve convinced yourself it is. it’s not rocket science or alchemy, just basic arithmetic, 1-2-3-4 in even beats.

    The sense of tempo all grows outward from the rhythm of our own circulatory system. You have a heartbeat, and it’s in regular, even time whether beating faster or slower. Try running for a block, then put your hand on your chest and feel it. By all means get either a metronome or use a clock that ticks loudly. You can do this.

    • You sound exactly like my voice teacher! She was constantly saying that I needed to open up and use my hearbeat! I have vocal cord dysfunction, one of the reasons why I started voice training because my voice is too tight. The only way so far to loosen up is to take clonazapam. But its mainly a head problem, and until I conquer that, I will always hold it in. to some people singing is natural, to me it is extremely hard–so much to coordinate! I would love to get into a choral group, just dont have any idea how to find one in my area. I know that would help. Thank you so much for your input! You obviously have studied this. I plan to find another trainer at a college near me, hopefully more chances to use the training.

      • If it helps inspire you any, when I began trying, I had a five note range, and awful tone. I practiced for a half hour each day at school, and after a year of that I had a full 2 1/2 octaves and good tone. Because you have good pitch, I believe you can already hear the way it’s supposed to be in your head. That’s the part that can’t be taught. Everything else is practice!

        • Ahhh, but practicing and pushing my voice is what messed me up! I didnt know at the time that my left vocal cord is much more developed than my right, and unlearning how to sing improperly is so much harder than learning in the first place! Worse yet, only I know when I am using both, because it doesnt sound any different! So I have to not only think about breathing, visualizing placement, I now have to make sure the sound is coming from between my vocal cords and both are working. I never imagined that learning to sing was so tough…..I have so much more respect for singers now. I think everyone should try this exercise to get a true appreciation of the work that professional singers put into their craft to make it seem effortless. Thank you for your input, you have great self-motivation to do what you did, and I am sure it paid off!

  2. Now I cant get this song out of my head, last song syndrome!

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