Musical Milliner

May 26, 2014

Disordinata

  images (Revised 9/18/17)

The destruction of a long-term  relationship, leading to her hitting rock bottom.  She is sometimes delusional.  In her addled mind, she sometimes believes she’s lost all of her friends, most of whom were mutual friends of the partnership, her in-laws, her community.

This delusion is the result of wrong thinking. When she has a clear mind, she sees all the people who really care about her, and have been there all along, some since childhood. Once again , they are in the foreground of her life, reminding her of her value as a human being, as a friend, as a mother. Yes, she has lost some friends in the war. Friends who were there for a season, and have moved on. It’s not a bad thing. It just is.

 Back to the delusion, she knows it is all her fault. Of course it is. That is what he says.  His mental illness, his failures, all bad occurrences and recurrences would never be, but for  her decision to recind the contract.  She has ruined his life. Forever. That’s what his family takes as gospel. It’s a family of enablers.

But it’s not all her fault. Get real.

His mother prayed for the demise of his son’s marriage to this unsubmissive woman, this vegetarian, teetotling feminist who breastfed her children forever, and didn’t change her name at marriage. A woman who took off to one of the top summer opera  Young Artists Program for 12 weeks months after her wedding, and the following two summers, and weeks periodically for the rest of the year.

In other words, she was a bad wife according to the mother-in-law, and she fed that narrative to her son, the husband.

Among tha many gems uttered by his mother was the following: “There is nothing wrong with my children, it’s just the people they married.”

Do you get that?

Aren’t we, as women expected to  keep our marriages together? If they fail, is it not, by default, we who are to blame?

Do you get that?

 The meek little wifey model disappeared decades ago. It’s still practiced in fundementalist cultures all over the world, including the United States. Society has evolved and expanded, and some people aren’t able to stretch their imaginations and adapt. They refuse. The in-laws close ranks and believe whatever it that their son or brother, her husband, tells them. And it’s always the kids who suffer from the disconnection. You shun the mother, and wonder why the children will do anything to avoid spending time with those people. The children are loyal to their mother. They observed firsthand the abuse over the years, and how their father’s family did nothing to help.

The same woman once said, “I like my children. I just don’t like other people’s children.”

Does she get that ? Skilled dispensor of passive-agression, her mother-in-law?

Does she wonder why her grandchildren are not in touch? Does she understand they why don’t come around? Of course, that is their mother’s fault. Never mind the children are adults. That is their family culture. Submit, conform, or you can’t play with us.

What am I talking about? I am trying to reconcile how I went from someone with a good education, a prodigious talent, a career, self-respect. A singer with big competition wins A confident woman who collapsed into a beaten down, humiliated, & depressed woman in a violent marriage. How did that happen?  I need to check in, look into this hatbox which I shoved up on a high shelf, and check my compass.  I hate thinking about all of this. But I’m stuck again. What’s working? What’s static?

I am ready to write about these things now. My children are all adults. This is also their history.

(c)GoshGusMusic2014,2017

August 6, 2013

The Singer’s Mind

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This is an informative article from a teacher’s blog. Lots to think about. The art of singing involves so many inter-connected systems. One’s psychological and spiritual state is a huge part of the equation, and technology is giving us answers as to how the musical brain functions.

Mostly, singers are bat shit crazy.

Read on.

 

http://www.singalexander.com/blog/2013/8/Training-the-Singer-s-Mind

http://www.singalexander.com/blog/2013/8/Training-the-Singer-s-Mind

September 2, 2011

Rituale

Filed under: music — by Musical Milliner @ 3:17 pm
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It goes like this.

I park my car on the street across the driveway. I check my look in the rear view mirror because appearances matter. As I walk around to the passenger side to gather up the heavy satchel, the purse, the stainless steel water bottle, I pause to look down a few blocks to the ocean where I can see the water line of the shelf out some distance from the beach. Often it is grey from high fog.

The wrought iron gate on the house has an old label, “Please push both buttons.” I wait for the buzz which lets me press the bars open, and hear the echo in the turret as the second floor door is opened. Careful to quietly close the gate, I walk down the foyer and climb up the winding stairs where I can hear another singer’s lesson in progress.

I dump my burdens on the floor, close the door, and head into the kitchen to select a mug and a tea bag. I imagine most of us have a favorite. The cups are  souvenirs from productions or festivals. Of course, I favor one or two from places I’ve been. Peppermint.  Always.  A turn of the knob on the stove and  I wait for the kettle to rumble.

And I listen to the lesson or coaching in progress as I wait with my tea,  seated  out of view on the loveseat behind the kitchen wall. Those ten minutes are interesting and often instructive. I pay attention.

This particular ritual plays out weekly, but sometimes more or less frequently, depending on my needs. I am bound to all kinds of ritual. The predictability sets up routine which in turn summons my attention, and inspires me to focus on the task at hand.  Ritual may help us create meaning or intention. Rituals  strengthen connection between us.

In music, as with most big brain activities, repetition and ritual are daily bread.

(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap) 2011

August 18, 2011

Risposte

Filed under: music — by Musical Milliner @ 1:08 pm
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Over the summer I have read and skimmed through seventeen books on repertoire, musicology, pedagogy, and read through almost as many opera scores and song cycles. This has left me with more questions than answers, but has brought me to certain conclusions.

I am disturbed by the pedagogues, many of whom are not singers, but theoreticians related in ways similar to musicologists. I am reminded of the adage that “music should be seen and not heard” so often smirked toward the direction of our academic brethren. There is much voodoo and little common sense. Most alarming are those tomes dedicated to surveying “great singers on singing.”   In some cases, it is obvious by the way a singer speaks of her technique just why she has vocal issues.

As to answers to my questions, I have begun a sure process and feel I understand my own vocal direction. I am a beginner in my new fach. I am looking at repertoire which other folks, audience and singer alike already know, but I do not. Music I should have known but never familiarized myself with because I had so much to learn within the bandwidth in which I used to sing.  Had you told me that at this point in life I would be best suited to Strauss and Puccini I would have thought you absolutely mad. With confidence my teacher and two coaches have finally convinced me otherwise.

I still have books to read and dissect. The San Francisco Main Library has been a regular haunt as I work through the music stacks and the audio section. I’ve learned what I do not know and must now learn. This is a very good thing.

(c)GoshGusMusic (ascap) 2011

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