Singing Myths

I have to write about this one. There are just so many myths about singing. Really! And some are just lack of brain-wave activity in the singer. C’mon man! Here’s one…a baritone I know wants to sing tenor…because he “likes” singing tenor. Huh? Dude, you’re a baritone. But no, he sings in falsetto (men’s head voice). Now this man is a grandfather so he’s not how you say, 25 anymore. That falsetto has seen better days. But, he does it anyway. Well, I don’t have to tell you how this sounds now do I? But, he won’t listen. Still sings tenor to the chagrin of the music director and other members of the choir he’s in. Let’s move on from this stonewall problem.

Ruin your voice by singing a couple of uncomfortable low notes once a week in choir? No. I repeat, NO! Two uncomfortable low notes do NOT (OMG) ruin your voice. No vocal polyps either…sorry. Maybe you were hoping for some? Can’t accommodate you there. Now I actually CAN tell you how to ruin your voice…try yelling and screaming as loud as you can over a microphone at a rock concert whilst almost bursting the jugular vein in your neck. Do that for about…hmmm…10 years +…now you have a great start at obliterating your voice altogether, if you haven’t already. Might I also suggest you’ve already lost your hearing or it’s going fast?

Voices are more resilient than you think. Otherwise, we would not have made it past childhood. Think of all the blood-curdling screaming a baby/toddler does. Then we progress out of that finally, and into teen years yelling and screaming at football games and rock concerts. And we still have our voices as adults. Amazing but yes, our vocal cords survive their horrible treatment by us. But we don’t yell and scream for a living. It’s those that DO yell and scream for a living, and do other horrible things to their larynxes, like smoking, that ultimately either ruin their voices or create some ghastly atrocity that needs surgery…vocal polyps (corns), contact ulcers, bowed cords…all fun stuff that you CAN avoid by not doing the aforementioned stuff. Another situation to pay attention to is loss of voice for sickness reasons…laryngitis. Your vocal cords are swollen and producing some mucous to avoid scarring when you try talking. This is a situation where you absolutely need to be quiet and not force sound. If the vocal cords are sick and not going to easily approximate, leave it alone. You can do damage if you force it. I did once…dumb singer moment! I was teaching a group and felt I had no choice. I paid for it…no vocal damage but I ended up with a lump in my throat that the doctor needed to give me an anti-inflammatory to cure. Never again!

There are a lot of myths about singing. What ruins your voice is one of them. There are more though…a boatload unfortunately. I will try to blog on all of them as time goes on. What comes to mind next is women “should not be singing in low register.” O dear. I need to address that baloney quickly. Stay tuned.

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More of Eve’s Philosophy

Human Nature. I guess we all don’t understand that one. So for almost 2 years, I’ve been struggling with certain people in one of my music jobs, as to who is in charge, which is me, and why they are trying to stand in my way of moving forward on my job…or in fact, actually doing my job! Why are people so resistant to change? What’s wrong with change? Maybe since I’m a professional musician, something they haven’t had in their lives in over a decade, maybe, just maybe I will bring a newness and a higher standard to what they are doing! Gosh! Imagine actually liking something better than what you’ve had for so many years! People are funny…I don’t mean comical (although some are). Since when did the world become “all about them personally?” To be belligerent and even back-stabbing and complaining to “anybody who’ll listen” just flummoxes me! I’m so intrigued by it that I’m almost not offended by it. Like it’s some sort of science project. Wow! Look at those belligerent people, not accepting what’s right in front of them. ha!

I always say that if my parents had any inclination at all that my brother and sister and I would grow up to be like this, causing people considerable pain because of what we personally want no matter what, they wouldn’t have let us live! ha! I’ve often read that everything in the Universe is as it should be at every moment in time. We can’t fight the present because it is useless and we will get nowhere, except frustrated. If we want to change something, we have to change ourselves and our thinking in order to change things for the future. Makes sense to me. But so many people are stuck. Can’t get out of their own sandbox. I’m sorry for them. And I’m also intrigued by them as I mentioned previously. If you take yourself out of your life for a minute and step back and observe, life is very amazing and entertaining. It’s interesting being a spectator in your own life, just observing people treating you (or someone else) like crap for stupid reasons, and acting like 9 year-old girls having tantrums (at age 50+). Whoaaa! And what’s the use to argue? What can you hope to change by arguing? Well, your blood pressure for one…higher! ha!

I don’t have a lot more to say about this phenomenon. Just, huh! Wow. I think my next blog will be back to singing. I have some more strange things to write about over there. People again. Stay tuned!

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Yes, People is my newest topic. I work for church, two to be exact. And I see people and more people and get to know more about them sometimes than I want to know or need to know. A former pastor of mine back in Illinois once told me that “churches are odd ducks and each church is its own odd duck.” I’d love to see him again and tell him how right he is!

But it’s not the odd-duckedness (if that’s a word) that bothers me about church. It’s the interesting phenomenon that people think they can act their very worst in church…toward fellow parishioners, staff…anybody. Of course, church produces some very fine and noble people as well! That’s called the “saving grace.” But I am always so intriqued at the other class..the ones that feel it is their right to batter you with all of their problems, usually in loud volume, and treat you like you know absolutely nothing…like you’re some sort of untrained pet they just brought home from a rescue shelter. Even if you have a doctorate in your chosen subject.

I have seen so much rudeness and boorishness in church people’s behavior that, I admit, many times I use it as a gage of how to not act in my own church. This leads me to that good ole’ word, shame. Do we not have a sense of shame in our lives? We don’t get our way as an adult and immediately act worse than our children? Are we never ashamed of ourselves anymore? Are we so afraid of the boogeyman that we have lost our sense of respect for one another? We holler at people who bring change in any ever-changing world? We make sure we holler so loud that we never hear the change they are bringing? We hide from it so it doesn’t interfere with our neatly arranged lives, we hope will never change? Change is all around us everyday. So what logic is there in avoiding something that is actually happening as we speak?

And who died and left any of us boss? At various points in our lives we actually are appointed the boss. But that may not be the case all the time. And how do we handle things when someone else takes over as boss…our boss even? Has the term “step down gracefully” entered anyone’s mind lately? Why not? Do we even have a sense of what being graceful means?

More questions…why do people take it upon themselves to force their own expecatations down other people’s throats? When did we become so rude and obnoxious to others, not to mention belligerant? Do we know how awful we look? Worse yet, do we care? Do we care that we are making complete fools of ourselves whilst throwing those adult tantrums? Oiy!
I’m not the be-all or end-all but boy, something is sure missing in society if we act like this.

So that’s it. My treatise on people. Oddly enough, all questions and no answers. Maybe if someone reads this they can supply some answers!

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Freedom and the Republic

I wonder how many Americans understand that we are not a true democracy.  We are a Constitutional Republic.  I think our Founding Fathers were wonderful.  Maybe many people today think they were old coots because they wrote this Constitution and Bill of Rights 200+ years ago.  Wrong.  They knew far more about oppression than we do right now.  They lived under the King of England when the King actually WAS the head of state, not just a figurehead like today’s Monarch.  The King controlled their lives.  Those British folks that moved here to become a “colony” figured out pretty quick how life could be NOT underneath the Crown.  So they knew what kind of freedoms they wanted.

Plus they were Freemasons.  The Masons think in terms of 3’s, something very prevalent in Mozart’s opera Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute), considering Mozart was a Freemason.  Many think that our Constitution was built around the principles of Freemasonry as this group is very big on freedom and governing themselves…Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness.

But the point of this blog is Freedom.  It is supposed to be an inalienable right (inherent in our very being), but it is never just handed to anyone unless you are lucky enough to be born into a free society like the USA still seems to be.  Almost 100% of the time people attained freedom through war and bloodshed.  There’s always someone or some coup out there more than willing to rule and oppress others.  And it doesn’t always happen in a “cut and dry” obvious way, like Germany invading Poland to start WWII.  Many times it happens in little ways, unobtrusive so we think, and builds from there.  Before you know it, we don’t recognize a situation anymore.  Life has been progressing that way since I was a little kid.

Parents used to be able to raise their kids their way, discipline them without somebody calling the police (I don’t mean child abuse here); people could apply for jobs and the best candidate would get it instead of the right minority candidate; people had more moral focus and could say the words “God” and “Christmas” and “Christmas Tree” instead of being told we can’t say those words anymore because they’re…wait for it…Religious!  Gasp!  And then those “words” are replaced by foolish terms that don’t mean anything, whether one is being politically correct or not.

Our Federal Government is interfering in our lives more than ever.  And many people cry out against it but at the same time, we’re almost threatened by our overstuffed Federal Government if we DO rail against them!  Our own POTUS talks down to us in a scolding manner.  Can you say Stalin anyone?  They are now forcing us to accept mandatory health care, something that is deemed by society to be necessary but is certainly not an inalienable right.  Now I’m not saying everyone doesn’t need healthcare but let’s fix the piece of that pie that needs fixing…not the entire system.   I remember a comment I read about the healthcare debate a couple of years ago, “If you have a leaky faucet you don’t tear down the entire building to fix it.”  This is true of healthcare as well.

And education is being dumbed down as well, with vital history lessons not being taught or at least not being highlighted as they were when we learned world history and our Country’s history.  I once had 2 piano students from the same family whose father taught them history besides what they were getting in school.  He felt they weren’t getting ALL the important history they SHOULD be getting.  Bravo Dad!

To keep our free society, as it still seems to be, we must guard our Freedom with due diligence and question every move the government makes that threatens our freedom in any way.  How many people really do that?  People are called “sheeple” in this day and age because they are “too busy” to guard their personal freedoms…too much to do in our lives.  Well, doh!, add protecting our free society to that list folks!  “Know thy enemy” which more than likely is your own government.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are some fine people in government, both young and old.  But that number seems to be getting smaller and smaller.  And we Americans need to step up to the plate more than ever now and be extremely diligent and alert about who is wanting to represent our interests.  Are they?  In fact, who are they?  Do we really know?  Will they let us know?  If not, will you vote for them?

We need to protect our Freedom and now is the time, more than ever.  Remember those words of former late President Ronald Reagan, “The 9 most feared words you will ever hear are…I’m the Federal Government and I’m here to help.”

God Bless America, our Constitutional Republic.  May we always, always be Free!  Amen!

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Kind of an odd title for this post.  But yes, it is about singing Byzantine music.  The Greek Orthodox Church is built on byzantine music, art and architecture.  Complicated as it is to study it is very easy to listen to.  The chants flow easily and beautifully, exploring musical intervals not common to the “westernized” musical ear.  There is a plethora of music from ancient times that feeds what we sing today.  And the timelessness of a music that started so many years ago is truly spiritual and magical.

I’m about to embark on that journey as choir director of a Greek Orthodox Church.  The music for the Divine Liturgy is going to be restructured to reflect the true byzantine tradition that it should.  What a wonderful journey into the past, keeping a culture alive within the walls of the Church.  A true escape for a while on Sunday morning to lose oneself in the beauty and spirituality of the Divine Liturgy.

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Eve’s Philosophy

My latest rant has to do with a Facebook friend who has taken upon himself the trashing of all the Republican candidates for President, and the Roman Catholic Religion (likening it to the Muslim “sharia law”), and anything conservative.  Personally, I think Facebook is overrated and should be kept light-hearted.  So I in return, have posted a couple of links to articles about Obama that state his many lies in office and how he hasn’t come close to fulfilling any so-called promises to the people.  We, in fact, are in worse shape than ever in this country.

Then I picked up an email from a friend about how no one really knows Obama.  So many of us never heard of him.  And I am from Chicago…lived there still when he was supposedly running for the Senate.  I don’t remember ever seeing his name on a ballot or voting for him or anything!  There are only two candidates for a senate seat…one republican and one democrat.  So it’s not like there were so many I couldn’t remember who I voted for, or any odd names such as “Barack Obama.”  I would have remembered a name like that.

The email I received asked many important questions about Obama…namely, why nobody he supposedly went to school with knows anything about him.  If he were at Columbia University, nobody there remembers him.  People in his classes (supposedly his classes) didn’t know the guy…can’t remember anybody like him.  And we all know all of his records are sealed…birth certificate, class records and grades, etc.  Why?  And that’s a BIG why?  Everybody who runs for office is raked over the coals.  But Obama?  Nothing!  Why?

This email pointed out how as soon as Tiger Woods’ extra-marital affairs news hit the media, every woman from here to Timbuktu got in front of the camera to say they were yet another girlfriend of his.  Boy, that was easy.  But we can’t even know if Obama had a girlfriend before Michelle, how he and Michelle met, the name of his best man?  Stuff that is very much “out there” except for him, it seems.

There is just so much mystery surrounding this guy that I am still shocked that he ever could be elected President.  No vetting process for the highest office in the land?  Are we Americans collectively nuts?

I am doing my part in November of this year to be sure I know exactly WHO the next President is…I mean his background.  We really don’t know who Barack Obama is and that is shameful.  And this weekend, I am also going to an open house of the Masonic Temple where I live!

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Eve’s Philosophy

My newest rant on December 26, the day after Christmas, is from food shopping at the store I regularly visit.  Why do people talk on cell phones constantly?  Once again I saw a mother on the phone and her young boy, maybe 3, was with her and a good little boy at that!  But Mom was busy yakking it up on the phone and basically ignoring her child.  I have seen this scenario before unfortunately.  The Mom ignores a special one-on-one time with that child to have interaction and make it a special “shopping time” with the little one.  And the child always looks so lost.  I felt bad that the cell phone had been elevated to a more important level during that shopping trip.

Which brings me to…talking on the cell phone in public whilst walking on the street or shopping in the store or riding the T, etc., is just plain low-class!  Now I don’t mean to be a snob but really!  Talking all the time in public to basically an inanimate object whilst the rest of us are privy to “too much information” is just…low-class.  What did we all do before cell phones were invented?  We talked to EACH OTHER and not a little “ear-tag.”  We made decisions by ourselves!  What a concept!  This really bugs me at the store.  People call to ask questions about pasta, whether or not they need vinegar, etc.  We spend our lives teaching our children to make decisions and then they grow up, go to the store and can’t manage…they have to call home!  Huh?!  Make that decision.  The rest of the household will just have to live with it.  We did!  And me and my brother and sister turned out to be “ok” humans.  Good God!

We seem to have forgotten manners with the technology now in our lives.  Those little black or colored things stuck in our ears or now in our hands whilst we text people…they are more important than even thanking someone for holding the door open for you!  That’s disturbing.  I have a cell phone and do a modicum of texting as well.  But anyone who really knows me knows to NEVER call me in the car…I just don’t want to talk while I’m driving unless the person is IN the car with me.  I can’t handle a steering wheel and a cell phone at the same time and I don’t think I should have to.  Plus, I DO want to be incommunicado at certain times.  I don’t think I should have to be available every minute of the day.

Everything we have in our lives has a measure of importance but none of them is more important than the human contact.  Maybe if we keep that uppermost in our minds our collective manners will improve.

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