Being a student is great

This is what happens when you’re on the final stages of recovery after being sick for weeks. You go on a shopping spree:

Oiishi okashi!

I went for my first singing lesson last Friday. Had to postpone a week because of laryngitis. By Friday, I had most of my voice back but it was still a little off.

My teacher said, “You shouldn’t be singing when you have laryngitis! You must take care of your throat because it’s your tool as a singer.”

So, on my first lesson, we merely talked. I told her my singing background and goals while she explained all the basic things that singers should take note of, like posture, breathing and enunciation.

Singing

I’ve wanted to sing professionally most of my life. When I was 16, I picked a singing school at random and signed up for classes.

At my first lesson, I arrived to discover that the lessons were conducted with a karaoke machine. We picked a song for me to sing and the teacher supposedly corrected my mistakes.

He said I shouldn’t do falsetto and that I should strain my throat to reach the high notes even if it kills me. Do enough of this and your voice will improve, he said.

So, in my first lesson, I screamed my throat raw and he said “well done”.

I never went back again.

Singing

After that, I never signed up for anymore lessons for fear of encountering another crook teacher. Until now, that is.

I mean, I’ve been tempted all these years. I know crook teachers are probably the minority. But it’s always either the lack of funds to pay for lessons or the fear of finding out that I have no talent or skill and therefore can never reach level I want.

But now, since I’m on a roll signing up for classes, I thought I might as well give singing a go, finally.

Singing

I decided to go with Lily Anna Nuris at The Music Lab where I was learning drums. (I’ve quit learning drums for now because I found I couldn’t progress without being able to own my own drumset.)

I like The Music Lab, and Lily teaches Olivia Ong (the singer who sang the theme song for The Little Nonya and who enjoyed an illustrious singing career in Japan become returning to Singapore last year).

Lily is a very respected artiste in Singapore with a resume a mile long so hopefully she can fix me. Haha. She will be performing a solo concert this Friday at Esplanade, performing songs by Alanis Morissette.

All I Really Want by Lily Nuris

I think I might go check it out, even if the timing is kinda late, at 9:30pm. She sang several lines for me on Friday to demonstrate her lessons and I think her voice is really sweet.

And my drums teacher Alvin Tan will be part of the band! =D

Besides singing, there are the two dance classes (Hip Hop and Jazz) I’ve already started on. I’m working on my childhood dream of acting in musicals. I think I’ve left it kinda late to start developing skills but that can’t be helped; lessons are expensive.

Anyway, one can still be an actor-performer when one is old and grey right? Surely there are old characters in musicals!

Japanese classes start this Thursday. Erm, this is to indulge in my love of the Japanese language, acquired through reading manga and watching anime.

Anime

I totally love my classes! It’s such a good life being a student and spending all your time learning things you like.

Oh, OH. I watched The Karate Kid last night. It’s freaking amazing. Jaden Smith is freaking amazing. He’s a heartthrob even at the age of 12.

Jaden Smith

(He is Will Smith’s son, in case any of you don’t know. Wang Wang didn’t know until the end of the movie. Duh.)

Of course, it’s making me want to get a jump on signing up for wushu classes now. I’ve been holding back because I thought I had signed up for too many classes already as it is and wanted to see how I deal with the current curriculum first.)

(Also because, a couple of weeks ago, I paid a visit to the school I wanted to learn at, all ready to sign up, and it was closed for the night. -_-)

Oops. It’s almost time to prepare for Jazz dance class.

I’ll just need to go hide all the snacks I laid out to take that photo earlier. I’m not allowing myself to eat any until I’m totally cured.

Yeah, like real.

Lousy musician, weird fan mail

My first public performance as a drummer!

Okay, this isn’t a particularly exciting piece for me to showcase since the drumming for this song is supposed to be understated and unexciting. But this is the only video I have.

And Cheryl Sim is an amazing singer so it’s worth watching. (I had two two different vocalists, by the way, both named Cheryl.)

Anyway, I left my camera with the guys and I think this footage was shot by Unker Kell, using The Goonfather as a tripod.

I’m glad they didn’t film the other song because I was a mess in that one. I totally suck as a music performance artiste. I’m only kind of good for posing as one.

My Girly Band

In the above picture is the other Cheryl, who sang Sweet Child ‘O Mine.

And… introducing my future band mate: Minou!

Minou and Sheylara

She just started taking electric piano lessons at The Music Lab. We’re going to perform together in the next student concert!

Playing at The Crazy Elephant was nice. Felt like a real gig, with a real audience, unlike a regular student concert filled with friends and family who smile and nod at you encouragingly even though you suck.

My Girly Band @ The Crazy Elephant

We all didn’t have, like, band names. On the programme sheet, we’re listed as Band 1, Band 2, Band 3, etc.

I didn’t bring the programme sheet home with me cos my friends spilled chilli sauce on it while I was on stage performing.

By the way (and this is totally unrelated), a stranger recently e-mailed me asking if I had a boyfriend because he wants to ask me out on a date.

I replied, “I am attached but thanks for your e-mail.”

He said, “Do you mind having another bf?”

We went back and forth a little with him trying to get my number and me politely declining until I got tired of replying. It was getting ridiculous so I just ignored the whole thing for a bit.

And then… I got this:

“If you don’t want to give that person a chance, at least give yourself a chance to open up to more choices and possibilities. Should get to know more guys while you still young, while you still can! I mean…this is the 21st century and people are talking about women liberalising.. Furthermore, you’re so pretty..It will be such a waste if you constraint your whole life to just one guy. It’s an exciting world out there. Prove me wrong..?”

Total flabbergastation.

I didn’t reply that because I don’t think any reply in the world can do that piece of work any justice.

AND THEN…

Six days later…

He e-mailed me one more time.

He said, “I guess you are not as spontaneous as Fiona Xie…”

Like…

Excuse me?

My drumming debut… plus icky photos

I’m performing at The Crazy Elephant this Sunday!

Come and watch me!

If not, nobody will be watching me, since nobody but drummers look at drummers.

Especially if the band has a chio vocalist.

The Music Lab Student Showcase

Actually, on second thoughts, don’t look at me. I’m very unprepared and very stressed about it, even though I’m only performing two songs.

I haven’t started learning the second song yet!!

Well, if you have some time, just come and enjoy our student concert. There will be over 10 bands, each playing about two songs. And try not to pick on my mistakes!

It’s free admission but you’ll have to buy your own drinks, just like in any regular pub.

The Music Lab Student Showcase
Sunday, July 19, 6pm – 9pm
@ The Crazy Elephant
Clarke Quay, 3E River Valley Road,
#01-03/04, Singapore 179024

OMG I have no idea what to wear.

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Worm food

In a bid to halt an imminent cough I could feel coming, I bought Vitamin C capsules last week.

I wasn’t prepared for what greeted me inside the box, so I plurk-tweeted it.

Redoxon Vitamin C capsules

Of course, everyone wanted to see pictures.

I’m surprised no one has seen it before. I have this impression that everyone takes Vitamin C pills because so many people advised me to take it when I was sick.

I guess people normally take chewable or effervescent tablets. I prefer time-release capsules because they’re kinder on my gastric.

So, here’s the promised picture!

Redoxon Vitamin C capsules

The first thing that came to mind when I saw this: Trays of icky worms you see in bird shops and aquariums. The brown stuff in the capsules look like the brown stuff that the worms crawl around in. Hence, worm food. Although I don’t know what worms actually eat.

Nevertheless, it feels weird eating this.

But it must work because the cough never came. And my sore throat didn’t develop into full-blown flu even though I ate durians on Saturday and potent durian ice cream on Sunday.

I’m feeling almost 100% now!

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Copulating flies

Actually, the Club Morte guys used a cruder word to describe what you’re seeing in this picture below. I just don’t want to say it here.

Humping flies

Okay, I have no idea what is going on here. I just took the guys’ word for it that the flies were copulating.

(Bigger photo coming up. Don’t read on if you don’t like seeing insects close up.)

We saw these at an organic farm in Malaysia last Saturday. I’ll talk more about the trip another time!

The flies were very co-operative, allowing us to go really close to take photos. The funny thing was that they didn’t move at all in the few minutes we spent photographing and examining them.

Someone said they must be dead but they don’t look dead to me.

Here’s the close-up!

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Humping flies

What do you think?

I wonder what’s that white blob between the two flies.

Just want to rant

I’m stressed out of my wits!

With my California Fitness Bodyage Challenge winding to a close (test next week), I thought I will have more time beginning next week to rest and relax.

Sheylara at the gym

But nooooooooooooo.

My music school, The Music Lab, is putting up a student showcase on July 19. (Will post details soon.)

Rehearsals will start next week, which means I have three weeks to learn and practice playing 2-3 songs with people I’ve never met before.

My drums instructor and band director keep assuring me that it’s more than enough time to prepare but I find it impossible to believe them!!!

Sheylara at the drums

My band director says, “It’s very easy one lah. The trick is to choose popular songs so people will sing along.”

LOL.

Shape Run 2009 falls on the same day as my student showcase.

Faint.

And I’m flying to Kuching for a 10km mountain trekking race in exactly two weeks’ time.

Mountain trekking

And a million other small things that add up.

Gamer Girl Friday will resume next week! I’m going to Video Games Live tonight! And inline skating tomorrow!

And I’m looking forward to finally being able to break my rather strict two-month diet.

I think I’m gonna miss Dr Evil’s nagging, though.

“Drink more water! Sleep more! Eat more!”

Sheylara at the gym

“Keep your back straight. Don’t move around. We’re training your arms, not your legs! Your legs very energetic hor? You want to train your legs also? Okay, noted!”

Photos from previous session, 2.5 weeks ago.

Check this out:

Sheylara at the gym

All the fancy, high-tech equipment in the two-storey gym and he makes me do push ups on the stairway railing. O_o

You just can’t know what he’s thinking.

World’s Screamiest Person

There is, of course, no such word as “screamiest”.

But I’ll bet some of my friends will gladly testify to the fact that I’m an aural personification of that word, producing as hard evidence their burst eardrums.

Screaming, for your information, is just a way of relieving tension and stress. I can’t help it if my body’s preferred method of stress relief is screaming, can I?

For example, I was engaged in this very stressful activity yesterday.

Sure, sure, it looks like I was having fun, especially since I even had the presence of mind to smile for the camera.

But it was really quite stressful.

I was giving the World’s Fastest Drummer competition a shot.

Held at the Singapore Drumfest 08 at Youth Park yesterday, the WFD comprises two segments: Fastest Legs and Fastest Hands.

That was me on the double bass drum pedals, which explains the awkward sitting position.

You have to hit the pedals as fast as you possibly can in 60 seconds.

It’s tougher than you can imagine because, like, 20 seconds into it, your legs are on fire and you wanna smash something up in exasperation.

That was when I started to scream.

Okay, it wasn’t so much a screamfest as exclamations and yells. “OMG OMG OMG shit I can’t feel my legs anymore hahahaha OMGOMGOMG aaaaaiiiiiieeeeeeeee.”

After 60 seconds of that (I mean kicking the pedals, not screaming), you will hardly be able to walk because both your legs will have turned to water.

You have to understand that it was my first time trying out double bass pedals.

I scored 616, meaning 616 strokes in 60 seconds. Fastest in Singapore is 778. Fastest in the world is 1034.

I believe I can do a lot better if I can just channel the energy I expend in screaming into hitting the pedals. But you know me, I’m into dramatics.

I tried the hands, too. You bust your gut in single rolls on this pad for 60 seconds.

I totally sucked at it and gave up in disgust even before I reached 60 seconds. I decided that I was generally better at posing for photographs.

I scored like 300 because I wasted 30 seconds laughing uncontrollably instead of hitting the pad.

Fastest in Singapore 1067. Fastest in the world 1247.

These people are crazy lah.

I’m going to train up and take ’em on next year!

This all happened at the Singapore Drumfest 08. Yesterday was the preliminaries of the Drum Challenge Asia and Singapore Band Challenge.

I loved those drum solos performed by the contestants.

And I took photos with some of my favourite drummers in Singapore!

Brandon Khoo (who drums in The UnXpected, with Shirlyn Tan):

Well, to be honest, I’ve only seen the UnXpected perform once, a couple years ago, so I cannot really claim to know anything about Brandon’s drumming, but I’ve heard his name so often since I took up drumming that I’m starting to get the impression that he’s somewhat a legend.

Edmund of PeepShow!

Incidentally, his surname is also Khoo. Here’s Edmund doing the double bass. Can’t remember what he scored.

By the way, this is the fast hands that scored 1067, Alex Tey:

Power!

Here’s Eric, my senior at The Music Lab.

We’re both taught by Alvin Tan, who is also one of the judges for the Drum Challenge Asia.

Alvin testing the drumometer:

I don’t have a picture with him because he’s camera shy, so I snuck a picture while he was otherwise distracted. Haha.

Alvin is a fantastic drummer and instructor. He’s totally cool. And I hope he’ll be totally cool when he learns next week that I haven’t practised in two weeks due to my insane schedule. (I had to skip a lesson last week.)

The Singapore Drumfest 08 is ongoing till September. Semi-finals will be held at The Arena, Clarke Quay, on July 26.

I wonder who I will meet there next!

No more screaming, unfortunately, since the WFD competition was only for yesterday.

But I shall start training up my screaming… no, wait, I mean my drumming (duh!) for next year.

Whatever. Protect your ears!