Cheers to @BenPatienceFIt for the subject. His tweet about repeating the gym movements in your head reminded me of being told to conjure up what I was about to sing when I was taking a breath.
Via Youtube I've been an observer at vocal masterclasses. I'm getting back to serious singing in my next show - a mix of opera and stand up about some of the more bizarre situations in which I've sung over the years. I've sung in. Watch this space.
Always good to be reminded of the need for correct posture, breathing and support. A lot of the young singers shown didn't know how many pairs of ribs they have or where exactly they were. There was also quite a bit of leaning towards the audience. Some patronising attempts at covering up obvious mistakes by skipping sideways while flourishing an arm. And one bumptious baritone bounced onto the platform to announce, through a daft beard, that he would love to sing "Hai Gia Vinta la Causa".
Mate, nobody loves singing something that difficult.
I once admitted to being scared of some Rossini when I was singing with British Youth Opera. It was at a cast party, and my remark was overheard by one of those repulsive sopranos who go to Chetham's and later the Royal Northern, meanwhile making old people's lives a misery cutting their teeth doing the rounds of retirement homes singing "Deh, Vieni, Non Tardar". You can't tell one of those sopranos that all the elderly want to do is sit in quiet expectation of their next meal, make passively-racist remarks about the staff and accuse other residents of stealing from their lockers.
Anyway, this northern soprano who had heard me admit to being scared of the Rossini laughed on a top F sharp and said, 'Then why do this? I relish all my steppings out to sing, relish them. I wouldn't admit to fear. Would you, Val? Isn't fear all wrong?'
She sneered at me and turned to Val: Valerie Masterson, coaching that year's singers. And bless Val for saying, 'When I sang Constanze at Glyndebourne, I would sit cowering in an armchair all day praying that I had still had all those top Ds by the time of the performance.'
The northern soprano, blessedly, ignored me after that.
Watching one of the Shakespeare programmes last week - please don't miscast any more stand up comedians in acting parts, thanks - I remembered seeing Cheek by Jowl in As You Like It and thinking I'd like to have a go at playing some of Shakespeare's female parts. Rosalind, perhaps, Beatrice or even Cleopatra...
The late Rex Doyle, actor, looked sharply at me and said, 'Don't be silly. You'd get cast as Mad Margaret, Mistress Quickly and Lady Macbeth!'