Although I am not a confident singer, I have the experience to be more confident than I am. I sang all through school, always being in the select choirs. And I took vocal lessons in high school. Then in college I focused on dance and didn’t sing at all.
Now I’m back to singing in shows. It makes me wish I had never stopped. Thankfully, singing is something you can always go back to. It’s dancing that’s the tricky one.
For the show I’m in now, the music director has me singing the harmony most of the time. I said that was fine. Theoretically I can read music (having played piano from age 7 to 18), and in previous shows I’ve been singing second soprano anyway. I thought harmony all the time wouldn’t be a big jump.
All those years in school, I always sang soprano. If there was a super high note that only a couple would sing, I wouldn’t sing that, but I have a solid high A when singing in a group. In high school we would sing mixed up too, not standing grouped in SATB. I used to stand next to a tenor and an alto, and had no problem holding my notes. I don’t know if it’s so much that I’m used to singing different notes than those around me, but I have found I’m used to picking out the high note in a chord.
When we started learning the music for Zombie Prom, I was having the hardest time. I thought I had lost my musical capabilities. The previous two musicals I’ve done were in big groups (Bye Bye Birdie and Crazy for You) so either I was listening to everyone else or able to hide well. I also was singing the soprano part most of the time. Here, there are only three or four of us singing at a time, and sometimes I’m the only one on a part.
But then I was put on the high part for one song, and poof, I got it right away! Easy as pie. Thank goodness, I was starting to feel even less confident in my abilities.
Practice makes perfect, and I am starting to feel like I’m getting the harmony parts as well. Or maybe it’s that I’m more familiar with the music. I really didn’t know this show at all when I auditioned.
I don’t know exactly what the take-away from this is. If you are normally a soprano, there aren’t many chances to practice learning the lower parts. And this may just be my handicap, stronger singers who have been singing for longer may not have this problem. But if you are a soprano and are ever asked if it’s ok to learn the alto part, be prepared that you might need to work a little harder than normal.