Had another lesson with my singing teacher last night. I told him of how I had finally heard my voice for the first time, and I darn near swore off singing forever. He laughed. "We all hate the sound of our own voices," he said in a 'welcome to the club' sort of way.
When I left singing in choirs it was because I constantly had choir directors demanding that I sing in ways my voice does not naturally fit. I wanted to break free from that, and let my voice free, sing the way I thought it was meant to sing. I see now just how wrong headed I was. I mean, the choir directors were really trying to force me to sing against my kind of voice, so they were wrong, but so was I. The kind of singing I am learning, the kind that seems to make best use of my voice, is not a kind of freedom, it is actually far, far heavier shackles than the directors ever imagined. I am beginning to understand what Maria Callas meant when she said that the Bel Canto style was straight jacket placed upon the voice. The great singers are not cutting their voice loose: they have instead learned how to place far greater controls upon it than most of us can imagine. Here: enjoy one of the greatest.
The teacher also told me to work on imitative singing, but only of people who were worth imitating. He told me to stay away from crooners like Bing Crosby or Sinatra, as their voices were suitable for small intimate gatherings, but not for filling a church with sound without the aid of a mike. Among those he did mention worth imitating was Tom Jones.
"Tom Jones?" I asked.
"Don't knock it," he said. "Back in the day, he had it going on."
I think I spent the rest of the lesson trying not to laugh over the idea of singing this at Mass.