Friday, October 26, 2007

Five Strengths

Tish has tagged me for this meme:

“So, here’s the challenge: make a list of five strengths that you possess as a writer/artist. It’s not really bragging, it’s an honest assessment (forced upon you by this darn meme). Please resist the urge to enumerate your weaknesses, or even mention them in contrast to each strong point you list.

1) I am a very good theoretical musician. What that means is while I'm a slightly above average pianist and singer, I have a very good grasp of the makeup of music. How music fits together, how it wraps around itself and forms patterns, creates new combinations.... I can sense how music can complement emotion, and even create emotional states in listeners. I sometimes feel music can be like a living entity - the voice of God.

2) I'm a very good vocal sightreader. A sightreader is someone who can immediately read the notes on a page and sing what's written, while making few mistakes. Using my skills in #1, I can sense the patterns that a song is following, and anticipate where the notes are going next. This means sometimes I can actually skip ahead and prepare for an upcoming section, while my voice is still a few notes behind my eyes.

3) I'm a very good keyboardist. This is different than just a pianist in a couple of ways. A pianist will typically play what's written on the page, using the actual piano score. A keyboardist, which I love being, will supplement the piano in a musical by providing different instrumental backup when either an orchestra is called for in the score, but not available, or other more unique sounds are needed. In any given play, I might use my keyboard to emulate a saxophone, a trumpet, or a violin. Usually I'm not playing full ensembles, but mainly melody lines or counterpoints. When I performed keyboards for "The King and I" last fall, I probably used it to play strings, cello, flute, pan flute, low brass, bass, bells, french horn, and many other tones in one piece alone, the "Small House of Uncle Thomas" ballet. Doing this is one of, if not my favorite part of being a musician.

4) I feel like I'm a good singer. I have a wide range, and typically sing tenor - although with a microphone, I have sung bass before. I did a show a few years ago called, "All Night Strut" where I was one of two guys in the musical revue, and I had the lower register of the two. So I sang bass. I also have the ability to sing in a number of different styles: ballad, belting, full voice, whatever.

5) The last one is not really a talent, but I suppose it might be: I can do voices and read aloud with expression and many different voices, and styles of voices. I've always been convinced I would make a very good voice-over artist, in cartoons or even things like books on tape. I love reading stories to my kids, making up distinct voices and mannerisms for all the characters. My biggest hit lately is "Ramona" from the Beverly Cleary series of childrens books - who sounds remarkably like Lily Tomlin's "little girl in the big rocker" character...

I play a talking game with my little girl we call, "The Goofy Game" - I imitate Goofy's voice, and he has a "conversation" (in character) with Tink. Often Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, other Disney characters and even a stylized version of Walt Disney himself will join in the verbal adventures. These are memories that are priceless...:)

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