Thursday, April 26, 2012

4 Days of Voice Lessons

Guess who has been taking voice lessons?  Me!  LOL!  But seriously…

Every year since we got married, I would tell hubby that I wanted to take voice lessons during our summer break.  His response would always be, “Sige!”  But I never did.  This year, when I told him I wanted to enroll, his response was, “Dati mo pa sinasabi yan.  Ikaw lang naman, eh.”  So I felt very much compelled to finally enroll and long story short, yesterday was already my fourth session.  It’s been quite a journey!

My voice coach is none other than Jojo Acosta, the first person here in the Philippines to offer customized voice lessons.  He has 30 years of voice coaching experience tucked under his arm.  He can play the guitar, flute, and keyboards.  He is a loving son, dependable kuya, loyal husband, awesome dad, and yes, he is my brother-in-law. =)

After four sessions with kuya Jojo, I have greater respect for singers.  I used to think that dancers sacrificed more since to hone their craft they have to move their whole body.  With singers, I always thought it was just about the “voice box” and diaphragm.  However, if singers sing properly, they must use their whole body to perform!  Oh, and more than anything, it is about good posture and proper breathing.  As kuya Jojo would say, “Singing is just a breath away.”  Nice!

Being the teacher that I am, I have learned about the different Learning Styles of individuals, and I am very happy that my “customized voice lessons” have been feeding the “analytical” me. I figure since kuya Jojo has known me for more than 5 years already, he has seen the need for things to be broken down for me first.  I have sung only twice in my four sessions with kuya Jojo.  Once during my first session when he wanted to hear me sing and the second time was yesterday, and it was just a verse of a song, but mind you, I feel like I know so much about singing already.  Here’s why:

Day one – kuya Jojo talked about good posture and he explained to me how the different body parts contribute to singing properly.  Singing with your chin held not too high and not too low.  Think “dangling earrings right above your shoulders” is what he says.  But after executing homework in front of the mirror, I’m now thinking, “Hide double chin.” and this works perfect for me.  LOL!  Kuya Jojo got a good laugh out of this when I told him about it during my 2nd session.

Day two – was all about proper breathing.  I felt like I was having a workout with all the different breathing exercises.  It was hilarious and enlightening at the same time!  The “proper” way of breathing is an individual thing because what is most comfortable for me may not be the same for someone who has a left nostril that is clogged, or whatever.

Day three – had to do with facial positions.  Tapping on my visual way of learning, kuya Jojo used animals to show the proper way of opening one’s mouth when singing.  Here are the three animals that he used:

Again, there is no real “best” way of opening one’s mouth since it all depends on which one is the most comfortable to you.  Though there is a preferred type for majority of singers.

Day four – had me “drinking vowels”.  Who would have thought that each of the five vowels place themselves in different parts of our “home”?  The letters “A” and “O” come from the dining room, letters “I” and “U” from the main gate and letter “E” from the front door.  Huh?  I’ll hold back on this lesson because you just might want to discover all about it on your own…for as kuya Jojo would say, “Anybody can be a singer!”

I have six more sessions to go for the summer program and already I’m thinking of enrolling in the whole year round program.  Lea Salonga, eat your heart out!  LOL

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Old Notebooks

I found these on one of my shelves the other week...

Inside each notebook are hundreds of quotes (and a whole lot more) that I wrote down (copied) since my HS days.  I totally forgot I ever did this.  Amazing!

Here are some quotes/advice that are worth sharing:

  • Give compliments.  One of the easiest ways to feel good about ourselves is to recognize the beauty in others.
  • A good friend laughs at your worst jokes, puts up with your worst moods, goes along with your worst ideas...and always sees the best in you.
  • Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump, you may be freeing him from being a camel.
  • Could we see when and where we are to meet again, we would be more tender when we bid our friends good-bye.
  • What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.
  • When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say I used everything you gave me.
  • When you reach the edge of a cliff, trust God enough to let go.  One of two things will happen: either He will catch you when you fall or He will teach you to fly.
  • The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you.
Found a very short poem (I have long ones, too):
  • I once had the blues, 'coz I had no shoes.  Until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet.
Pang-asar lang:
  • I may be fat, but you're ugly and I can diet.
Even some passages from "The Gospel According to Forrest Gump" (I think I got this from a book with this title):
  • Nobody ever got into trouble by keeping his mouth shut.
  • If you can' sing good, sing loud.
  • Whatever you do, try to have a reason for it.
  • Always be nice to your mama.
  • When you are feeling really down, read the Book of Job --- and see what he had to go through!
At may short story pa!
It was Worth it

     During the First World War a soldier in the trenches saw his friend out in No-Man's Land -- the ground between our trenches and those of the enemy -- stumble and fall in a hail of bullets.  

     He said to his officer, "May I go, sir, and bring him in?"  But the officer refused.  "No one can live out there, " he said.  "I would only lose you as well."  

     Disobeying the order, the man went to try and save his friend, for they had been like David and Jonathan throughout the whole war.

     Somehow he got his friend on his shoulder and staggered back to the trenches, but he himself lay mortally wounded and his friend was dead.

     The officer was angry.  "I told you not to go," he said.  "Now I have lost both of you.  It was not worth it!"  

     With his dying breath, the man said, "But it was worth it, sir."  

     "Worth it?!" said the officer.  "How could it be?  Your friend is dead and you are mortally wounded."  

     The boy shrank from the reproach, but looking up into his officer's face he said, "It was worth it, sir, because when I got to him he said, 'Jim, I knew you'd come.'" 

I even copied paragraphs from my favorite books!  LOL!  Baka ma copyright infringement (is that what you call it?) ako.

How about I even wrote down text messages...and who they came from:

  • It is wonderful to get answers to prayers but its even more wonderful to let God mold you and make you into an answer to someone's prayers. - Rye Benemerito
  • In life, God doesn't give you the people you want, instead He gives you people you teach you, to hurt you, to love you and to make you exactly the way you should be. - Iya Pagui
  • What God is doing, you may not know now; but someday you'll understand why; questions that taunt you and trouble your mind, will one day have Heaven's reply.  Trust in God's ways! - Lannie Blas
  • Good teachers smile in trouble, gather strength from stress, and grow brave by reflection and prayers.  Send this to a worthy teacher...I just did. - Jennie Wi
  • I wish you woke up this morning realizing what a wonderful person you are and the world is blessed to have you as a part of it.  Claim and enjoy God's blessings! - mommy
  • In life, we can't change the direction of the wind.  However, we can adjust our sails and take advantage of the wind.  May God sail with you always. - ninang Hermie Hernandez
  • This coming Easter, let us, like birds, leave behind what we don't need to carry -- grudges, sadness, pain, tears and regrets -- fly light.  Life is beautiful. - Doods Lavapie

And this is where I end, a few minutes into Easter.  What a way to welcome the Resurrection of our be reminded of where I came from and how it got me to where I am now...I am where I should be.  Thank you, Lord!

My Redeemer lives!!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday Reflection

I’ve been wallowing in pain the past few months.  Not in physical pain for I believe I have a high tolerance for that.  Emotional pain is more like it – pain that I allowed to mutate into spiritual pain.  I have come to understand the reality that when you wallow in your pains and sufferings, it will envelope you and make you so self-centered that you feel the whole world is against you.

This pain hits me hard at night, when I go to bed not tired enough to simply fall asleep.  I would go about my day distracted by a 12-hour workload with the bliss of working with children.  Then at night, usually after a hearty chat with my hubby, I am reminded once again of the feelings brought about by betrayal.

Last Holy Tuesday, hubby and I lined up for confession.  It was a long line and the chapel was warm, I felt like I was going to pass out for lack of oxygen.  But I knew it was more because of the fact that I had to face my self-centeredness.  I could have simply just let go of the pain, but I waltzed with the devil for the past months, embracing all the hurts and bad thoughts that betrayal can pour upon you.

In the confessional, the priest patiently listened to my tearful litany of wrongdoings focusing mostly on the bearing of pain that caused me to take for granted a good number of promises to my God.  Then after all the soul bearing, the priest in a gentle and caring tone told me, “I will not tell you what to do.  Just reflect on the Gospel of the Last Supper and read how Jesus, who did not deserve to be betrayed for He was all good, was betrayed by His own disciples.”  After the priest gave me the rest of my penance and as he prayed over me and I prayed my contrition, I was a basket case.  I had again been released of the bondages of my sins, and it was truly up to me to let go of all the bitterness in my heart. 

Through the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 26, verses 26-56), I am reminded of how Jesus was betrayed by his friends, not just by Judas and Matthew, but by ALL of his friends.  At the Garden of Gethsemane, Matthew and the two sons of Zebedee fall asleep as Jesus prays, even after he explicitly asked them to stay awake with him.  Then of course, the kiss of Judas…why a kiss?  Why after calling Jesus, “teacher”?  How painful was all of this?  I recalled my pain as I was being spoken to by one of our church elders, I could literally feel my heart breaking.  What more Jesus?  I still had my husband, family and friends to see me through, but at that time, Jesus had no one.  How did He feel at that time?  Since He is God who became man, for sure He felt all the emotions one can feel when you are hurt not by any enemy, but by someone you love…betrayal, rejection, loneliness…it is more than an insult for it truly breaks your heart. 

I reflected further on the Last Supper by reading the chapter entitled “When Your World Turns Against You” of Max Lucado’s book, “And the Angels Were Silent”. 

“As long as you hate your enemy, a jail door is closed and a prisoner is taken.  But when you try to understand and release your foe from your hatred, then the prisoner is released and that prisoner is you.”  
How could I have allowed myself to be a prisoner for so long?

“…‘Who ever told you life was going to be fair?’  God didn’t.  He didn’t say, ‘If you have many kinds of troubles’, he said, “When you have many kinds of troubles (James 1:2).’  Troubles are part of the package.  Betrayals are part of our troubles.  Don’t be surprised when betrayals come.  Don’t look for fairness here – look instead where Jesus looked….Jesus looked to the future.”
I am not of this world.  My home is in heaven…oh, that I may always fix my eyes on you, Lord.

“….The Father’s loyalty to Jesus is the Father’s loyalty to you.  When you feel betrayed, remember that.  When you see the torches and feel the betrayer’s kiss, remember his words:  ‘I will never leave you; I will never forget you (Hebrews 13:5).’” 
Thank you for not leaving me, even if I have left you.  Thank you for dying for my sins, even if I have yet to really learn how to die to myself. 

It is truly a Good Friday.