Although this is my first entry, I already started my voice lessons three months before and many weeks worth of reports for my senior project will be posted weekly. Last semester’s senior project was an internship with a pastor in Richmond and, as I continue this internship in the spring semester, I have started a new senior project with his wife, who has a major in vocal theory. I will try to upload and edit the journals I have at home into a “bloggable” format as fast as I can. So I apologize for blogs that aren’t in chronological order in advance.
Back to the task at hand. This will be a double-header for both the Ski week break and this week; February 20th – 28th.
This break was the most productive week of my life. After catching up on my Core academics in Tamiscal, I used this week to study and make up my AP Calculus homework. So, I barely had time to practice and study my piece. I actually had to miss my internship, cut my vocal lessons short and skip out on the winter ski trip/retreat that I had planned to lead worship because I had to prioritize my studies over extracurricular activities. It was the toughest thing to accept. That I was irresponsible and lazy to the point where my actions, rather inaction, affected the things I loved to do and the relationships with the people I love. Humbled and broken, I had to swallow down my pride and move on. Admitting that I was wrong wasn’t as bad as having all my weekend responsibilities and activities stripped from me. Not only was I ashamed of myself but the bulk of the burden I carried was that I let others down. People who trusted me and put their confidence, people who I influenced and kids who look up to me. I let my teachers down, my parents down, my mentors, my youth pastor, my youth group, my sister and my God down. I embarrassed myself and disappointed a lot of people.
Although it was a painful experience, from the ashes my motivation was reborn and throughout the entire week it raced through all my homework assignments. I had plenty of time to practice my song, Vittoria, mio core by Gian Giacomo Carissimi. Which has a Korean translation underneath the Italian lyrics, and means (double translation) “My Heart has won!” or “Victorious my heart is! The pronunciation is a challenge itself but it was even no less easier to sing with a raspy voice. After many sleepless nights, my health has deteriorated and thus had experienced the true saying “your voice is the first to go” first hand.
Now humbled and sick but emotionally reinvigorated I am finishing up Vittoria, mio core and starting a piece called Gia il sole dal Gange, translated from Italian to Korean and Korean to English it means “Already the sun over Ganges river shines (more brightly).” We only had enough time to go through only the first and second pages of this song and it is already harder to pronounce than the other two songs combined.
My voice has come and gone in this weird weather and so I was only able to practice for a few hours at home. But even with the lack of practice and vocal care, my teacher said that I vastly improved my warm-ups; and actually I felt better. I think with the right amount of confidence and practice, singing Baroque pieces can be fun. It just took some time for me to ease into my comfort zone. But of course after I have found my “path” after warm-ups, I aim to push myself out of my zone and become better.
My teacher always reminds me that “your body itself is the singer’s instrument, so like any other talented musician, a singer must learn how to take care of his/her body.” Small things like drinking water regularly lubricates the throat and help make a big difference in the long run. And it’s those teeny tiny things, the preliminary warm-ups and breathing techniques are the basics, the foundations upon which singing stands. As I reflected on this while driving back home along highway 580 and on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, I realized that these were the two lessons that God has been trying to teach me these past two weeks. Just as keeping the body healthy is the singer’s first priority, as a student my first priority is to keep my grades up the best I possibly can AND THEN use the rest of my time wisely on church and other activities. Secondly, everything begins and ends with the basics. Whether in school, in church, at home or on stage, Calculus utilizes all the skills you learned in algebra, worship is a response to God and initiated by God, family comes first, performances reflect the performers preparation and practice beforehand. This applies to all walks of my life and in every sector of life. You cannot progress and build upon a sandy foundation. I cannot hope to grow, mature or even succeed if I don’t even know how to manage my responsibilities as a student. It’s never too late to go back to the basics.
This is the last year of high school. It is the last lap in the four years of high school. And yet this is only the end of a new beginning! College is a couple months away and I can taste FREEDOM! Please pray for me so that I finish strong and make that final push through senior year.