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Ugly Sound Time


Every two weeks I go see my voice coach Abby. We do things like shout vowels across the room, impersonate Cher, and pretend to squeeze grapefruits under our armpits while belting GOODBYE TO BLUEBERRY PIE. It’s often ugly, embarrassing, and always always awesome. Laughter and trust make it possible, because I know Abby believes in me, plus she rules at both coaching and singing.

Hire only talented instructors who believe in you.

Ask my family and/or neighbors about the practicing sounds. No, don’t. There’s a reason I don’t subscribe to NextDoor. You know how much you hate hearing the sound of your own voice? I record these sounds and listen to them. Sometimes I delete them before God theirself must witnesses the ungodliness, but mainly I try to figure things out what works and what doesn’t and why.

Occasionally there’s pain and I know to back off. Pain usually does not lead us to good places, friends.

In some moments the sounds work and Abby says YES and I try to remember how it happened so I can recreate it not that far back not too far forward support it but take in less air. I get to YES sounds by making all the other mews and bleats.

Learning is vulnerable and ugly and hilarious if you allow it. And, yes, sometimes briefly triumphant.

I’m in Ugly Sound Time. Like nap time for a toddler after Daylight Savings Time plus the occasional ego crush. You must meet Ugly Sound Time with courage and trust and again, much laughter. Warning: Ugly Sound Time may take over other aspects of your life. Like when people ask me “what I do.” Bleat. Mew. Citrus armpits.

Overall I say less these days. Online, virtually nothing. I heard Sheila E. talk about drumming– the spaces in between the beats are more important than the beats themselves.

This is where learning happens.



2 comments… add one

  • Ernie March 28, 2019, 12:56 pm

    Oh how I enjoyed this, especially the not being part of Nextdoor. So, are you a singer then? Or just an ‘ugly’ sound maker? Forgive my ignorance- this is my first time here and I am being lazy and not exploring your other posts to put the pieces together. And yes, yes- – I too cringe at the sound of my voice.

  • Ann Imig March 29, 2019, 8:00 am

    Thanks for stopping by, Ernie. I was a musical theater actor in my teens and twenties. About a year ago I started singing again. Before that I wrote online for 10 years, became a speaker, and created LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER show.

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