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Temper, Temperament

I just finished a rehearsal session. Whether my voice is good or not depends on you, but I know a thing or two about myself and today was a good day.

My old coach told me the voice is notoriously fickle. What she really meant was it does what it wants. Most of the time I feel like I have control, but every now and then I'm reminded who's really in charge. It's not me.

I can tell when the resonant chambers are in full swing and it makes me feel invincible. Musically, I mean. When the vibrations off the cavities in the head, diaphragm, shoulders and jaw are swinging with each other really great sounds come spewing forth. That is, if you like my voice in the first place. Which I do, but then, it's the only one I have. So, there's that.

It's a miracle to be in the midst of vocal ability. Popping full, rich sounds that bounce off the walls and (sometimes) across the street, is an unbelievable feeling. It's why, I think, singers sing in the first place. The feeling. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, my coach calls it fickle.

The real irony is that fingers aren't. Play guitar, get better at guitar. Simple. Straight forward. Nice and easy. Not so the voice.

I was warming up a couple days ago and could not get a good sound out of my mouth to save my life. I was trying. I was doing my standard routine, wasn't skipping any steps and nothing. Unless you like croaking. Then, it was something! All that after a run of really good days with depth, breadth and heft.

A fellow actor asked me the other day what to do about vocal performance. He was struggling with getting his full voice into his characterization, and I empathized. I gave him a couple techniques - focus the mind on the diaphragm, breath the entire instrument, use as little throat as humanly possible - stuff like that. He said he knew there was more, he just wasn't getting it. That's when I shared my intimate knowledge of voice, "It's not you."

Isn't life funny? Our bodies have all this promise, all this potential. If we're lucky we realize it every once in a while. When we do it's a place akin to heaven on earth. But, as we know, time has no patience for our preference. It just keeps going. The good news is, I don't sound like a frog today. And that means the temporal nature of our existence comes around to good again sooner rather than later. Maybe fickle isn't so bad after all.

Speaking of acting, Trouble the Water continues at Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon. Check out for showtimes, etc. It's pretty special to be part of something that just might be the right play at the right time. Hope to see you under the stars.

Blessings all.


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