Warrior Words: Getting to know me
This is my seventh Warrior Words column and I realize I haven’t really given anyone the opportunity to get to know me. Eight months ago in my bio, you read that I’m passionate about theater, learning languages, and most importantly singing; for this week’s column, I decided that I’m going to talk about the latter.
It all began three years ago when I decided the only way to improve my theatrical abilities was by singing. At first, I was too terrified to sing in front of anyone, let alone audition for a voice school. It was my mom who called me one day saying she signed me up for an audition at Musical Theatre of Connecticut. As a small, awkward sophomore just delving into the art of showboating, I was terrified to sing in front of strangers. Well, the time for auditioning came and went, and soon I was driving to my voice teacher every Wednesday to practice new material and hone my techniques.
If we fast-forward to the present, anyone can see the effect those initial voice lessons have had on me. I can’t go a few hours without singing. If there’s time to spare, you can see me walking around my house with one headphone in my left ear, singing as I walk around aimlessly. I like to sing when I iron my clothes or when I do my homework or when I lock myself in an upstairs bathroom and sing incessantly for an hour. The last one might sound a little odd, but I promise you the acoustics of any bathroom are too good to miss out on.
The discovery of Spotify was something that changed the game for me. Suddenly I had access to thousands of songs I could practice with. I only have four Spotify playlists that I listen to, but each one helps develop a different facet of my voice. The first is my fun playlist, which consists of all of the pop idols who sing songs with words that parents don’t want their kids listening to: Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, old Demi Lovato, new Demi Lovato. I sing along to this playlist purely for enjoyment, but it’s also helpful to listen to how modern vocalists are adjusting their sound to cater to today’s audiences. The second playlist consists of old, classical show tunes. From The King and I to Brigadoon, the songs from this playlist are technically difficult and help me warm up my voice and condition the classical side I’ve tried to build over the years. I’ll admit that most people wouldn’t ever listen to this kind of music because it would be considered “boring,” but my mission when listening to this playlist is to recreate its beauty in my own style. My third playlist is also full of show tunes, but they’re brasher and more contemporary. They’re the kind of theater songs you might see on Glee but haven’t been ruined yet. This has to be my favorite of the four because all of the songs are energetic and fun to sing. Most of the kids in my grade have seen me dancing and singing along to this playlist when driving into school. Practicing these songs has helped me develop the part of my voice that’s the loudest and brassiest. My last playlist is exclusively Disney songs. This playlist, although seemingly childish and lighthearted, pulls me away from the big orchestrations and show-off performances of the previous playlist and reminds me that my voice can sound equally as impressive when singing simpler songs. Songs like Part of Your World aren’t the most vocally demanding, but they do teach me to appreciate the simplicity and lightness of the music and challenge me to make those performances just as engaging as the others.
The music I listen to every day teaches me how to access and train the different parts of my voice. That call three years ago changed my life because singing has made me a happier and more confident person. Although I still can’t read most music or tap out a rhythm well, it’s something I couldn’t live without. Next year will be a brand-new start with strangers and new experiences: I know I’ll be scared sometimes without my friends and family. But the thing is, as long as I have my voice, I’ll be able to weather anything that comes my way just by pressing “play.”
Daniel Glynn is a senior at Wilton High School. He shares this column with four classmates.