Singing Mindlessly/Scaring the Dog

This reminds me of sitting in my parents’ house and doing lip trills w/o even knowing I was doing them, and my mother saying, “Are you cold? Do you need a sweater?” and I said, “No, mom, I’m fine.” A little later, I did another one (again, unconsciously) and she said, “I can turn up the heat!” and I said, “No, I’m fine.” Third time, I did it again, and she said, “I have a sweater if you’re cold,” and I said, “No, really, I’m fine.” She said, “Why are you making that noise?” and I said, “It’s a singer thing, I didn’t even know I was doing it,” and she said, “Well, stop it. You’re scaring the dog.”

It sounds like the young woman on the subway was making a conscious decision to vocalize publicly. Maybe she was on her way to an audition in a place where there were signs saying, “No vocalizing! Violators will be asked to leave!” (They exist.) Maybe she was ridiculously pleased with herself for being in NYC as a singer and wanted to share that with everyone. 

While I have made sounds publicly in inappropriate places (usually unconsciously) from time to time, they’re usually limited to lip trills and puppy whimpers. I did vocalize walking down a street once on my way to an audition because I was in a hurry, it was noisy anyway, and I figured I wasn’t standing still long enough for anyone to tell me to stop. (Kind of like why I run on the street instead of on the treadmill – because my swearing under my breath in a fixed place would be taken much less kindly than the same down a street while there’s traffic noise that could possibly drown it out. Or at least I’m going fast enough for someone to say to himself, “Did she just say what I think she said?”)

One thing I can say is that singing on the street in NYC, even if it’s just lip trills and humming, will make a lot less heads turn than if you do the same in Milwaukee. Trust me on this.

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

One thought on “Singing Mindlessly/Scaring the Dog

  1. Believe me, I know this! (Not that I vocalize on the street, but I do in my apartment at all hours, particularly Sunday morning before church, which sometimes means 7:30 am). I live around the corner from the Met and my down the hall neighbor is a music critic. Ah, to be somewhere heads turn!!!

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