Woodshedding to musicians means practice. It means that you are stepping back from everything to sharpen and hone your skills.
I’m woodshedding heavily this month. Every day is geared towards getting better, stronger and more diverse vocally. It’s been about a decade since I’ve formally sung in a live situation with musicians. I’ve got to take time to get my ears right, my sound right, my body right, my voice right. When I come back out again with the live shows, I want to come out strong and confident.
Being confident is different from being arrogant. Being arrogant means that you are beyond reproach with your nose up in the air. You consider yourself better than. I won’t work with anyone like that.
Being confident means that you are well prepared to undertake a situation, but you don’t lose your humility. I am always humble and grateful for this gift that has been loaned to me for this lifetime.
I spend a minimum of 5 hours a day working on my voice and my body. I’m working out – exercising with zumba (!!!), lifting weights, walking and stretching. Working out my voice running scales and stretching to reach more highs and lows in addition to making sure that every note that I hit is solid and strong.
I joke and say that I am working on my “voices” – plural. I am so fortunate to have a 3-4 octave range, and the ability to sing across genres – R&B, jazz and opera. I have to openly admit that I love my operatic voice the best. The energy surging through my body feels amazing. It’s like my body is plugged into some kind of current and it comes up and out. And the sound is so big. Well – you’ve heard opera singers on tv or somewhere. It’s a beautiful sound that fills a hall.
I was this little girl with this big operatic voice. I could be heard above the whole choir. I was ignored. I started singing more softly. I cut the flow and reduced my presence. (Sniff, sniff…) Oh well. Life has moved on and now I am here. It’s up to me to do what I love and to develop it so I can do it well.
I interject here – parents, pay attention to your children. Help them to do the things that they really love to do. If that means paying for lessons or finding people or a person that they can work with to develop their skills, do it. Encourage and support them!
My kids had the opportunity to do and experiment with just about anything they wanted – dance, sing, play instruments, gymnastics, sports, art, martial arts, etc., etc., etc. The only thing that we could not do was to help my son become a racer. The costs to do that were extreme – buying bikes and equipment, traveling to different courses, paying coaches… It’s too bad; he really would have done very well. He was suited for it.
Okay – now back to me… I don’t play any instruments. I can read music, but it takes me some time to really make sense of it by applying it to a piano. I’m working on that too. At this stage, I may never be a “good” or fluent musician on any instruments, but I am learning a little bit.