Stop Reaching for the High Notes

When I was in my mid teens some time in the last century, I had a vocal range of three and a half octaves (give or take). I’m told this was impressive and I know it was a tad unusual because I started in one production as the contralto and was later promoted to the soprano lead. (It was in this same production that I realised I got my kicks during the process rather than in performance but that’s another story).

Adjusting my make up and my confidence, as I’ve done countless times in the ladies loo of various theatres in this country and others, with for some reason the strains of “Go ye heroes” playing through my head, I was reminded of my singing teacher telling me what was a break through piece of advice:

“You need to stop reaching for the high notes. You’re already there. Imagine looking down from above the top notes and smile through the low notes”

It’s been brilliant advice which served me very well as I stormed through solos on stage, and since in presentations, lectures and singing exams.

I’m not as sure that the injunction to wear high heels to make me get a sense of occasion was quite so brilliant ….

but as I’m working through those initial thrilling and impossible-seeming early stages of a new project with all those real and imaginary theatre giants to face down and the sheer mountains of doubt, funding, invisibility, artistic wrong turns and competition mountains to climb,

I’m thinking maybe it’s time to put on my metaphorical heels, look down from above those tantalising summits, smile through the low bits

And just see what happens….

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