I’ve never liked watching myself perform, many people don’t, but one of the best ways to improve is to do exactly that. Embedding seems to be failing, so you’ll have to go to YouTube and watch me singing Wind on the Sea direct from Shava’s channel.
For context, this was the first time I actually performed Wind on the Sea before an audience of more than one. Now, performing a new-to-me piece in front of a room full of some of the best bards in the Society while being videoed and recorded was probably not the brightest idea I’ve ever had. I’d been asked for a few options for pieces “at or under 5-6 minutes”, and most of my pieces are under 3 minutes so I went searching through my repertoire for longer options to offer. Wind on the Sea is one of the very few longer ones I know, plus it felt good to have Gwen at least represented at a Luminaries concert. Go fig, the organizers picked Wind on the Sea as my performance piece. (My comment at the beginning about having no obligation to teach anything was a reference to Master John Inchingham’s introduction in his performance just prior to mine.)
• I stayed on pitch. When performing solo a cappella, especially when nerves are in play as they were here, it’s very easy to go sharp. Even a full choir will occasionally drift in pitch. (We usually blame the basses because they’re the easiest to hear and if they drift, the choir follows.)
• I remembered all the lyrics. This is a pretty basic thing, but it’s something I’ve struggled with as I’ve been returning to performing. You’ll notice the blue book in my left hand with one finger holding the place where I have my lyric cues written down, but I didn’t have to reference it during the concert. There’s really a very easy way to address this: more practice. Zsof (Mistress Tyzes Sofia) pointed out to me at KWCB that there’s no excuse for a vocalist not to practice (in the car! in the shower! while doing dishes!), which means there’s no excuse to ever need a lyric sheet in a performance. She’s absolutely right. I still will keep my music book as a crutch, but her encouragement gave me more confidence in my ability to remember more lyrics.
• I didn’t betray my nerves too badly. I did have one friend say he could hear the nerves a bit, but only because he knows what my voice sounds like and knows my vibrato isn’t that fast naturally. Another example of nerves that I can tell is that my “performing” is more subdued than usual. I like to put personality into pieces instead of just singing the right notes with the right words, and there’s definitely some of that emoting going on, enough that I’m pleased with the performance, but had I been performing the piece for years, I would’ve felt more comfortable at the mic and been able to exaggerate a bit more.
My places for improvement are largely fixable by additional practice. I want to emote more, there were a couple places where my tuning was a tad off, and I found out from Gwen that I’ve been missing a few melody subtleties that I need to incorporate in future performances. Overall, though, I’m not displeased by it.