I’m on the M60 to LaGuardia- heading to Chicago and then Indianapolis for some post-holiday family time. What a day to fly- full of pouring rain, damp chill, and “wintery mix”- the most dreaded words in natural disaster-free area meteorology. To top it off, I’m flying standby, thanks to a relative in the airline industry- which, by the way, is neither free nor all it’s cracked up to be. Last time I did it I missed Christmas with my family after being at the airport all day because they couldn’t fit me in. But tix to Chicago were ridic expensive so I decided to try this again.
I was going to fly yesterday til I realized I had to sing an epiphany service at church.
I had one problem at the service, and you’ll never guess what it was.
I’d pulled a pec muscle the day before.
I know- only me. And it’s not the first time. I can’t even begin to explain mechanics of the complicated and creative way in which I hurt myself- suffice to say I was attempting an acrobatic stunt. At home, not in class.
How does this affect singing, you ask? Well if it were opera it wouldn’t have, but in a choral setting it was debilitating. The problem was that I couldn’t hold my music.
I first realized this when I was practicing after a trip to pedelson’s to get some scores. Pedelson’s, btw, failed me, so I had to trek over to Juilliard- but they had a very nice “yellow sticker sale'” with some intriguing markdowns. Lots of G&S, and I resisted buying cendrillon- marked down from $100 to $66- so that’s still there, snap it up before I change my mind!!!
So I’m home practicing with my new Sorcerer score in my left hand, where it belongs. Why do right-handed singers hold their music in their left hands? A few reasons. 1st off, from where sopranos are normally positioned in the chorus, the conductor is to your left, so it’s easier to see him. Secondly, any good musician will be marking her score with a pencil, so if you’re right- handed, your left is for holding and your right is for writing and turning pages.
At least, those are my theories.
So I’m practicing, and I realize it hurts to hold my music. So I’m like, “ow, screw this” and prop it up on my dresser. Problem solved.
Until I get to church. After a few minutes of singing, my left chest is killing me. So I simply switch hands- no problem, right?
WRONG!! It was so hard trying to hold my music in my right hand. 15 years of choral singing seems to have created some sort of imbalance in my upper body. My arm and pecs were tired, I kept dropping things- I dealt with it by holding as little music as possible at once. But damn- I’m a strong girl! No wonder high school kids never look at the conductor- they haven’t developed the strength to hold their music up for that long!
It reminds me of after my surgery, the first time I went out drinking (the night the Red Sox won their last World Series), I couldn’t believe how hard it was to hold a pint in my left hand. It was heavy!
So everybody try holding their music on the oposite side and see what happens!