Monday, September 14, 2009

ANOTHER BEGINING || Singing Lessons

Groucho Marx in film "Copacabana" 1947.
So part of my reason for going to Rhan Wilson's UKE U was to become a more comfortable singer. To me singing is a lot of work. I didn't have any public singing experience as a child or young adult. I think that it is going to be a continual growth process. I thank Rhanbo for making me almost yell out lyrics, it was embarassing at the time, but the commando tactic forces one to open up the throat and let the sounds flow - good or bad. Rhan has given me da Nerve, da Courage! And the Uklectics have given me incredible support from which to grow.
Now I started some singing lessons at the Albany Adult School with a powerful woman named, Janice Spampinato. Wow, she's a firey woman with a Italian Mother's power and a Groucho Marx sensibility. Kareoki, body relaxation, head & throat relaxation, tonal testing, a-e-i-o-ooo's. Yeah, that's an commanding woman and I'm looking forward to the next 9 lessons.
There's about 20 in the class. 2 men and 18 women. It's nearly 18 miles from my home so I was surprised to see Allison whom I had met when I was learning via the Hawaiian osmosis process at the Royal Hawaiian Ukulele Band on University Ave. in Berkeley. Allison plays ukulele and flute. More to come... HU
(P.S. ====> Be sure to read Rhan Wilson's comment below.)


  1. Jeff,
    Thanks for thanking me - I appreciate it and am glad that my tactics had the desired effect.

    My personal story to this effect was that I have always sung.... to myself.

    In high school I wrote songs that no one ever heard. Then, in rock and roll bands, I would sing lead and backgrounds, but only if it was very rehearsed and I didn't put myself in any potential embarrassing situations.

    It was only until very recently that I took a vocal workshop with John Cowan, whom I very much admire.
    His advice was simple - you have a gift, use it. I had his permission.

    More recently, I joined the Sista Monica Choir and if you think I put you on the spot, you should see her in action. SING!!! LOUDER!!!
    She literally forces the shower singers to "get over it" and use their voice.

    Now, I am always singing. Out loud, in front of whoever. I don't really care whether it's perfect because, in case you haven't noticed, no one else is either. It's far more important to me to play, sing, dance, and have fun than it is to attempt to protect my idea of what I "should" be doing.

    You Jeff, have a gift. We all do, and it's up to us whether or not we want to utilize it.

    It's not important whether it's good enough for prime time - you never know what little seed of inspiration you may actually plant for yourself and for another who is wondering whether they will ever be able to get up there and sing in front of someone else.

    Thanks again and again. I am so glad to have been of help.

    Rhan Wilson

  2. There are lots of people who are so lucky to have given the gift of music yet are too shy to let everybody know!