Last year a great unwashed rabble of babies and children slept in our succah. Soon as they left, our cousins arrived. It started that night, the shivers, as I walked with our cousins to the bus stop. By Hoshana Raba morning I couldn’t stand up. My husband smacked the hoshanas on the ground and I couldn't.
The fever dragged on through Simchas Torah. My kids and their wives and children had all come to see me, and as it turned out I missed the whole thing.
Naturally I thought this was a bad sign, but my teacher said: it will pass, Alizah; you are blessed.
After a while I was able to stand up, and someone advised me to play the oboe.
We happened to have an oboe in the house; I played for a while. It squeaked a lot. It was hard to get a sound; the fingering chart confused me, and I gave it up.
So I decided, 40 years after Hunter College Music School, to get up and sing.
My voice sounded terrible; weak, off pitch. But since I wasblessed, I found some exercises in an online video; by a guy named Eric Arceneaux [check him out, he’s good]. I learned to breathe all the way past the diaphragm, down to the feet, and up to my chest, and hiss the breath out a full 40 seconds. I practiced lip trills [little kids do this], raspberry trills [with tongue out], tongue trills, vocal fry [making my voice sound gravelly], singing YAH YAH with my tongue all the way out; singing UH UH like a monkey, and NYAAH NYAHH like a child in the schoolyard.
Please note, if you are lacking humility this fault will be fixed automatically.
If you are the type who gets serious, worries and slides into depression, this too will be fixed automatically.
So I don’t know if my voice gained strength from the physical exercises or the soul exercises.
Whatever it was, I made a good recording. Thanks to my teacher Zion Nefesh, for letting me know that I'm blessed.