Strohbass….in my brain

Strohbass (vocal fry) is the gravelly sound emitted by men when they are singing as low as they can possibly produce sound.

If my head was singing in a  vocal register right now it would sound like that.

Today started innocuously enough; everything was going fine, I had a great voice lesson, went off to work, and then started doing my homework. I was feeling very calm and collected, and was marveling that I actually had time to do my homework. And then a half hour after it would have been helpful to remember, I realized that the reason I had time to do my homework was because I accidentally missed a session with my accompanist.

I ran down the hill but it was too late–he had gone home.

I called his home phone to contritely apologize and then stuck around with my head hung low knowing that he would be back for a lesson later on. I apologized in person when he returned and he was actually rather kind about the whole thing (indeed my inner monologue is being much harsher to me than he was) but the entire episode really highlighted some points for me. An epiphany of sorts, and although it may seem like most people would just know these things I guess I have a special way of looking at the world.

1–20 credits, 3 jobs (well, 4 I guess, technically), directing a play, and a lead role in a musical–while all are good things separately they should not all occur in the same semester.

2–Even though I am interested in hundreds of things I should not try to balance them all at once. It will lead to me toppling over into disaster.

3–Even though I am good at multi-tasking; not all people are juggling commitments 24/7.

4–My days comprised of work, rehearsal, shows, duty, and meetings average 14 hours a day straight through from start to finish not even counting homework. There is a reason most people work 8-10 hours a day and then go home. I don’t start the going home process until about 10:30 pm. Which means that the things other people accomplish from say 6-11 I am trying to shove in from 10:30 until 12 at which point I crawl into bed completely brain-dead.

So these realizations have brought me to some conclusions:

1–I really really really want to perform, there is no doubt about it. So I need to be using all of the time and expertise I can now to hone my craft before I have to test it.

2–I need to cut back. A lot. I’ve already decided not to be an RA next year for these reasons but I need to find other ways to cut back. I don’t know how but I have to for my own sanity and for my journey in performance.

3–Most other people aren’t as busy as me. I don’t have time to do everything, at this point in time, but barring any sudden death I will have years of life to explore the other things I want to. I don’t have to cram them in now. My life isn’t over after college.


I need to slow down, develop patience, and allow other people to contribute.

I hate making myself vulnerable by not controlling things, but life (like your voice) cannot be controlled.

I need to learn to sit back and enjoy the music.



3 thoughts on “Strohbass….in my brain

  1. This is exactly why I now stop in CM to have a cup of tea and conversation at the end of my day.
    If you don’t make time for yourself, you will just continue getting more numbbrained, and then it eventually turns into a perpetual cold.
    It’s easy to say that you need to slow down, and much harder to put it in practice. Make sure you are as firm about letting yourself sit and meditate for five minutes as you would be about finishing homework or any other social commitment. Good luck with finding balance!

  2. Amen Emilie! I’m glad you came to some grander self-awareness, but I’m sorry it had to feel like strohbass (but I also greatly appreciate knowing that word now – I will use it regularly :)).

    You are an excellent person and I firmly believe that cutting back and relaxing can only increase your awesomeness. Do it!!

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