Stepping out from the harmonic shadows

This past spring semester I decided to quit just loading my schedule with all difficult classes (like I have been ever since it was an option back in middle school). Well… I actually did take all difficult business courses; HOWEVER, I allowed myself to have one class that could be my little ‘reward’ and escape from the rigorous academic world.

Last semester, I was so stressed out sometimes and missed playing my viola in orchestra (which I had been doing since I was in 4th grade). So, I had my mom bring my viola down for a few weeks–right before finals week– so I could take a little break and relieve some of my stress whilst doing something I love.

At times, I have found myself humming or singing at either happy moments in time or very bad days. I use music to express my joy and happiness. I also use it to comfort myself and make myself feel better. Usually I don’t realize I’m doing it. This makes me think of the movie “Princess Diaries” starring Anne Hathaway when she is in her convertible, soaking wet, and stuck on a hill while its down pouring singing ‘catch a falling star & put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day’.

Anyways, back to the point of this post, I decided to take a voice class for non-majors and it was one of the best choices I have made at Iowa. With viola, I had severe performance anxiety when it came to solos; however, with singing it was completely different. Of course, everyone had pre-performance jitters including me. But after a few measures of singing in front of my supportive voice class I became more confident and felt as though I grew a little taller as my voice broadcasted throughout the room.

You don’t realize how many aspects you have to think about when you sing. There’s eye contact, diction, posture, hand gestures, staying in key, staying with the rhythm, etc. Already having music experience definitely helped me with some aspects. However, it is strange to think that your voice-that you use everyday for talking- could be turned into an instrument with no buttons to push. Some people may think singing is a lot easier- however, because you can’t just press a button like you can for numerous wind instruments or slide your finger slightly to the right note, it makes it more challenging to continuously hit the right notes. However, with will power and a lot of practice, you can manipulate your voice and train your voice to be (pretty much) pitch perfect.

I believe that my voice class can be a parallel to my life in college. Before college, I played viola which is usually the harmonic part that supports the violin section and their melody. I always supported others and never was a leader in high school. I just went with the crowd. However, with having a change in ‘instrument’ that allowed me to finally have the melody and spotlight shows who I am slowly  becoming in college. I am an independent person now. There is nothing holding me back and I try to put my best foot forward to show everyone who I am. I am no longer that harmony in the background you can barely hear with the melody. The harmony that lurks in the bequest shadows of the melody. I am now the melody. I no longer will dwell in the footsteps of others. Instead, I make my own footsteps in my own little path.

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