Monday, November 19, 2007

Maintaining the physical plant

Now that this morning's waking-up high has passed, I'm worn out. I'm tired from resetting my circadian clock, and my voice is still tired from the 5 hours in bars Saturday night (not, actually, that they were super loud, as bars go, but 5 hours of talking over music will wear you out no matter what). I just tried to practice and it feels lousy, not the kind of lousy where more practice can overcome the lousiness; I can't tell whether working through it is a good idea or not.

It's hard to explain to other people what status singing has for me, mostly because in work, one is supposed to be psychically (if not physically) monogamous. Academia is usually seen as a vocation, outside of which there are hobbies, but nothing you're supposed to devote mental energy to. Likewise, if singing is your career, you might have a "day job" to flesh out your income, but you don't usually care about it or go to school for it. I've gotten impressed, curious, and extremely suspicious looks from members of both professions when I explain that I'm "serious" about another part of my life. It's hard for singers & conductors to imagine that I can have a "day job" of scholarship and teaching, when those are professions one is supposed to be extremely invested in. In a nutshell, neither "singer" nor "graduate student" is seen as a viable "backup" for the penury of the other (although, while I'd be able to make ends meet without singing, I'd have to find a "day job" or extremely lucrative church singing job to drop out of grad school. But it would be possible.).

So part of me feels strange, awkward, when I think about whether a night out on the town will result in annoying vocal irritation; aren't I a grad student? But aren't there also singing opportunities in this city that just aren't possible anywhere else? Shouldn't I take advantage of that fact while I'm here, and not yet at the whim of the job market? And shouldn't I feel justified (weird, but justified) in having two! different ways that I enjoy making a living?


Hilaire said...

I think it's wonderful that you have these two different elements. Just fabulous. An enriched life can only be a great thing. Hope your voice is okay.

SK said...

I feel the same way about aikido and piano sometimes. Like how it's sort of dorky of me to be going home a bit early on Friday nights so that I can train on Saturday, or that I don't play broomball in the winter because I'm worried it'll break my hands... and yet I'm not a martial artist or a pianist - or anything at all - by "vocation." So yeah. It's awesome to be able to devote myself to things I love to do... but I sympathize with the times it kind of sucks too. It just means we're awesome, well-rounded people. Right?

kermitthefrog said...

Right! Who wants to play broomball anyway? :)

And my voice is definitely fine -- it was just worn out from all the socializing. Thanks though.

I realized later this post might have sounded somewhat defensive.. but I do feel *put* on the defensive, often, by people's reactions. I got to share this with a couple other people in the same situation last night, though, which was very refreshing.