My Experience: Taking Voice Lessons

Her Campus DCU Campus Correspondent Courtney Fitzmaurice writes about her experience of getting back into performing.

 

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a quiet person. So, people are always surprised to learn that I love singing. When I was a small child, I would perform for my mam and dad, and if I felt they weren’t listening, I’d stop singing and start over until they gave me their full attention. From the ages of seven to 13, I went to dance classes every weekend. As part of the summer shows, over the years I got a few solos, from High School Musical’s What I’ve Been Looking For to Grease’s Hopelessly Devoted to You. Although I was very nervous for every performance, I loved it. At that age, I always felt confident about my singing and I knew I had a good voice.

 

In secondary school, there weren’t very many opportunities for me to sing. I found that in the school choir, solos were often given to the music students and no auditions for parts were held. As I grew older and became less confident, I rarely sang. I only practiced when my house at home was empty, embarrassed that my family members would hear me.

 

In September, I decided that I wanted to have something to look forward to apart from the stress of final year, so I joined group singing lessons. Waiting outside for the first lesson, my heart was racing and my hands were shaking. However, I gathered the courage to go inside.There were about eight people in the class in total, which doesn’t seem intimidating, although somehow it’s more difficult to sing for a smaller group of people than for a crowd. Each person had their own preferred music genres, so each week was a surprise. I learned basic singing techniques and it was a great experience.

 

As the lessons drew to a close, everyone performed a solo piece. I was extremely nervous for both of my performances. My song choices were Requiem from the musical Dear Evan Hansen and Lover by Taylor Swift, two of my favourite songs. I dreaded performing, although it wasn’t judgement from the other class members I feared, it was judgement from myself. I managed to get through the two performances despite my anxiety and the nerves that plagued my voice at the beginning. Overall, it was a great learning experience.

 

In January, I decided I wanted to continue lessons, but to focus specifically on musical theatre. I joined the Musical Theatre for Beginners course at the Lír Academy, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Every Monday evening for three hours, I was able to forget about college stress and have fun with a group of like-minded people. For the first class, we had to choose a song to focus on for the course and perform it right there and then. I chose Pretty Funny from Dogfight; it’s a simple song but very beautiful, and I felt it suited my voice. After I finished performing, I was shocked to hear a classmate say, “I don’t want to follow that.” The teacher asked me if I had any experience in musical theatre, and could I read music? My answer was no on both counts, and he was surprised. That performance and the kindness of those in the course gave me so much encouragement.

 

Every week, we had an hour of dance lessons, which was completely out of my comfort zone as I hadn’t danced properly in years. I sometimes felt awkward and shy and ended up breaking character, but I was there to learn and to have fun. Although everyone in the class was more outgoing than me, I felt comfortable with everyone and we all supported and encouraged each other during every lesson. There was never any judgement. Our lessons were cut short due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and I can’t wait for them to return, although I may already have forgotten some of the dance routines.

 

I’m so happy that I got back into music this year; it’s given me more confidence in my voice and I met some wonderful people. I’m going to look into joining a local musical society once the pandemic has passed, and to continue devoting time to music. I’d encourage everyone to revisit an old passion or hobby, you never know what you’ll find.