Cloudy Days, Rainy Nights

Revealing Light
A Break in the Clouds

Weekly Journal #4

For the past couple of months I have focused on the two pieces, Vittoria, mio core and Gia il sole dal Gange, so I have become familiar with the flow of the song. It’s totally another ball game trying to find out how I can better perform the two songs adjusted to my specific voice, and path, and realize how I can improve each note, pronounce each word and be dynamically conscious of each crescendo/decrescendo, ritardando and tempo change.

Recently, I have not been at the top of my game in terms of singing, leading and performing. It was mostly because of lack of practice and the overall the time commitment wasn’t there. I just haven’t been in the “mood.” Maybe the weather had to do something with it. Maybe a lack of physical discipline can be translated into a lack of mental discipline.

Nevertheless, the recent struggles have been more about my body (again) and taking care of my health. In the midst of braving the unpredictable weather and all the rain, clouds and wind, my voice wavered throughout the week as I began to feel my throat give out and staying up late to study and do homework definitely didn’t help. There is no real break in my schedule and deviates from the normal public school day so much that even Tamiscal’s independent study students have trouble understanding why I took so many classes at Tam. And I do wonder, at times, why I would go through all the trouble of taking two science classes and driving the entirety of the Bay Area, from North to South, every weekend. At the time, when I was contemplating which classes to take and how many, I did not fully understand the consequences of my decision. Of course, only Tamiscal’s flexibility as an independent study school could have accommodated this booked of a schedule for naive student like me, so I am thankful Tamiscal for that.

The only constant in my agenda was sleeping around past 2 in the morning every weekday on average. It got so bad that I was late for my physics class (and that wasn’t the first time). That was only the beginning of my struggles of the week. I had so much trouble trying to finish all of my work on time and study for tests that I didn’t have any time to prepare for the weekend. Meaning, Friday I wasn’t ready to lead worship as I normally would, Saturday would become another long haul to San Jose (singing, dancing, drumming and acting for about 5 hours) and Sunday was my designated burnout day (poor performance). As you can probably tell, I wasn’t too happy about over exerting myself all week. You can say that I was going through one of those dry season or storms of life.

By now I hope you can understand the seriousness of my fatigue. Down the rain fell to the ground and so did my spirits; my morale was flowed out of body like the rain flowed out of the drain. There was one, just one, break in the clouds this week and that happened to be on a Monday, praise God. From the get-go I had trouble. My mind would know and tell my voice what note to sing, but my voice couldn’t follow. It was the most embarrassing thing and I could tell that even my nice teacher, 이 사모님, grew frustrated with my inability to follow her directions. But she attempted to hide it.

It was encouraging because I could tell that she wanted me to get past the mentality that I was limited, and therefore underperformed, and help reach my highest potential. She was always smiling at the right time and always serious at the right time. When I was on a roll with the piece we were going through, singing each successive note with accuracy but suddenly lost support from the diaphragm, lost confidence in my ability to sing well, she gave me the look that she knew I could do better. I knew I could  do better. And then she’d say in Korean that I needed to try harder and focus. But it was during those times when I completely lost confidence and felt uneasy about moving on that she smiled at me and encouraged to start all over again, beginning with the basics: breathing warm-ups, tone warm-ups, projection imagery warm-ups, humming and finding my path to the notes.

Going through this process with her guidance assured me that I could do it, and indeed I was able to go through both pieces straight through stopping only a few times to adjust and readjust my attitude towards the note and re-imagine the next measure. I guess I really do enjoy learning after all. Although, I would have think twice about teaching.

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