Today in vocal beauty boot camp was intense. The trust among the participants is growing, as is the vocal beauty of the group. Spirits were high this morning as we heard some increasingly beautiful sounds coming from some of our classmates during the morning video-recording session. (I was going to be up next, but then we sort of ran out of time.) Apparently the room we were in needed to be worked on in the afternoon so we transferred to another room, which I actually liked a little better; it was a little bit of a better size for our group. During the breakout sessions in the afternoon at one point three different people were shedding tears at the same time. I had some hope when Dr. Robison promised me that my voice would blossom like others when I got the pharyngeal openness right. He had me speaking the words to the song in a dramatic, spooky voice to teach me what to do. In fact, he wouldn't allow me to sing at that point because every time I tried to sing it I was closing up, but I would stay open when I was speaking dramatically. Anyone who was observing from outside wouldn't know what was going on. By the end of the day, Dr. Robison asked if we could offer a closing prayer to give thanks for the things that had happened. There truly were some great changes today. In fact, at one point a woman started singing behind me, and I had to turn around to find out who it was because her voice was so different (and gorgeous!).
I didn't stay for the hymn sing they had tonight; I just went home. I expected the Utah County rush-hour traffic to be pretty crowded but it wasn't very bad. I felt pretty good when I got home, but also a little tired. I came home and started reading the scriptures, then fell asleep for quite a while. I think I'm going to need a good night's sleep to be ready for boot camp tomorrow.
A few more gems that I learned today:
Being like a little child. Little babies, when they are learning to walk, don't just get frustrated and give up if they can't do it the first time, nor do they give up if they fall down after they walk a little bit. They just keep going forward. We adults can be the same way. In boot camp, for example, people get it sometimes and lose it other times. Instead of being frustrated about the loss, we should look at the potential we have and keep moving forward. Likewise, when we sin, our attitude should be one of moving forward and trying for better, instead of repeatedly wallowing in past sins.
Worshiping through hymns. Since hymns are a form of prayer, it is "vain repetition" if we sing hymns without bringing out the sacred meaning of the words. Adding the meaning makes the hymn much more beautiful, exciting, touching, and musical, for both the performer and the audience.
Why am I doing this? As I look inside myself and look at my motivations for attending Vocal Beauty Boot Camp, I have to admit that my motives may not be entirely unselfish. I am well-known in my ward as the person that everyone can hear in sacrament meeting, because my voice carries over the singing of the congregation. But at vocal beauty boot camp I have discovered that I have a lot of work to do to reach my full potential. I'm afraid that if my goal is to get more acclaim and attention by improving my singing, the improvements probably won't come in the way I want. If my motives are more pure and I desire to sing beautifully because I want to worship and help others worship, I think I will be more blessed with the improvement I want. So I must make sure that my intentions are appropriate if I want to sing very beautifully.