I recently spent a week with my daughters at the 15th Suzuki Voice International Songs for Sharing conference in Bentleigh. There were students and teachers from Australia and overseas and we got to learn songs in different language including Spanish, Finnish, Italian and Polish. The conference culminated in a free concert last Tuesday night at the Edge Theatre in Federation Square.
Being the only adult student in a classroom of children, most of whom are under ten is quite confronting. I'm used to being in a position of power and knowledge and to be in a situation where I am the student is quite humbling. It also helps to let go of any sense of dignity and to embrace childlike joy. How else can you skip around the room, holding hands and singing?
As part of the conference we had the opportunity to perform a solo piece in front of the other students and teachers from Australia and overseas. I've sung in public before at my teacher's end of year concerts but not in front of the wider Suzuki community. I was singing the French song Que Nes Suis-je La Fougere which I know quite well.
I was towards the end of the 30 singers so I had plenty of time to get nervous. Knowing the song well and having performed it before in public didn't help the nerves. So I got thoughtful about them. Wondered where they were coming from. And realised I was wanting to be perfect. Wanting to get up there and be amazing. Once I realised that it was easy to switch gears and remind myself that I'm only a student and like all the children in my classes, I'm still learning.
It was the first time I've sung in public without a microphone so my voice sounded different yet again. I'm used to practising with my daughters so it was also strange to hear my voice on its own and not blended with theirs.
The concert at The Edge on the other hand was all choir and no solos and it was wonderful. The feeling of blending my voice with those around me to create exquisite music for our audience was incredible. We were conducted by our teachers and I loved the way they'd give us a huge smile at the end of a song and mouth 'Wonderful!'.
I think singing in choirs may be my new thing for this year. What's yours?