Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Musically Frustrated

I'm finding myself increasingly frustrated with my choir. I've already posted that this choir is very different than every other group I've ever been in: the director plays our parts for us on the piano, over and over, until we've learned them, inevitably everyone forgets their parts when we put it all together, and we have to do this all over again, and we don't finesse the pieces the way I'm used to in my other groups. Some of the members don't even read music, which I always thought was a prerequisite for being in a choir.

These past few weeks it's really come to a head. We had another concert on March 22, and I thought we were going to completely bomb because everyone seemed to have forgotten the music to everything. Not good. Luckily it went much better than I thought and we only had a few mess ups, nothing major. So now we're learning new music. We've started working on Haydn's The Creation, an oratorio along the lines of Handel's Messiah, but about the story of the creation according to Genesis. It's a fantastic piece and I'm excited to be working on it. The choir is planning to perform it at a Christmas concert with the city's orchestra.

Yes, weve just started April, Christmas is a long time from now.

So why are we starting now? Because it's a long piece and it takes freaking forever to play everyone's parts over and over again in tiny pieces. I learned to sight read in choir, which means that I can look at a piece of music and be able to figure out relatively accurately how it's supposed to sound. I find Haydn to be rather easy to sight read; he's from the Classical period (think Mozart) so the music makes sense and doesn't have any weird atonal stuff or wacky intervals. Everything we have accomplished over the last two weeks over four hours worth of rehearsals I could have done in a half an hour by myself in my room. Because we have to sit through everyone else's part being played a gazillion times it also means I hardly sing and spend a lot of time sitting around doing nothing. Rehearsals are terribly painful to sit through. It will get better once we've learned more but right now it is a big waste of time.

I don't consider myself a great musician, and certainly not a great singer. There is a lot about music I don't know, I have technique problems, and my voice is not that great. But whatever skill I may have makes me one of, if not the most talented singer in the chorus. Supposedly I'm the only soprano anyone hears. It's very gratifying to my ego to be complimented on my ability to learn music quickly and be confident in what I'm singing and to be told that I'm an asset to the soprano section, of course, but I would much rather be a medium-level talent in a better choir! I'm not challenged by what we are doing, and in fact I find it mind numbing. I amuse myself by singing the other parts, looking ahead and learning the other choruses, or even bringing my crochet project, but I'm really frustrated.

I'll stick with the choir, because I love to sing and I love singing wonderful classic works, but it's becoming a real chore to drag myself there every night when I know I will hardly sing or accomplish anything at all.


Andromeda said...

Any chance for private lessons? I was thinking about it last semester but then now we're working on an all Beethoven program, which isn't particularly hard, but certainly interesting. You could exchange voice lessons for English lessons!

Au Soleil Levant said...

That's an interesting idea.... I'll have to think about how to pull that one off. I think The Creation is such a great piece and I'm glad to be working on it but OMG can't we cover more than 10 measures a night?!

(I'm not exaggerating the 10 measures deal. On Monday we maybe covered that much. At least instrumentalists all read music!!!)