At home with the Messiah

Essential rehearsal equipment

How times have changed!

It doesn’t seem that long ago that when learning  music I would sit for hour after hour at the piano and regale the neighbourhood with some pretty tragic attempts at accompaniment. I needed to do that to learn my lines. It must have been so painful for anyone within earshot – especially as I had to repeat lines over and over – and over. Worse than a child learning the violin.

I must admit that my neighbours were very polite – they always said how much they enjoyed my rehearsing. Yeah right!

Today in my efforts to memorise Messiah choruses for our imminent Orpheus Choir concert, I used new technology. I no longer have to rely on having to plug away at the keyboard. Instead I connect up my iPod or iPhone, put the earphones on, select Handel’s Messiah from my iTunes list, hit ‘play’ and off I go. (Needless to say, I need to have first downloaded a reputable recording of it.)

I was pretty happy singing away at the top of my voice with the sun streaming in through the window. Great fun…

Then I thought … oops, the neighbours. Previously, even though my playing was no less than bad, at least my unwitting audience had context. They could hear the bars of music coming between each of my soprano lines. Now they get to hear nothing but me … seemingly unaccompanied. Little do they know that my backing group is the whole of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and choir.

We’ve all heard it before – people with headphones singing to themselves. It doesn’t always sound the best especially when it’s heavy metal. Handel has his own quirks.

“All we like sheep, have gone astray-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay”

I wonder what they think now.

I should also mention that it’s a lot more fun this way. I can sing and dance at the same time – I love it!


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