I thought I'd count breaking this bad habit toward Goal 80--developing 5 good habits. Because it's my goal list, and I get to say.
As some of you know, I am a professional singer in New York City. I sing solo stuff here and there, but most of my work is with ensembles, some of the best anywhere, and it's really a lot of fun. Unless I go off half-cocked, as I too often do, about tuning.
It's a lot easier for a group of violins to tune and blend, because they sound more or less the same. It's harder for a group of singers, because not all the voices sound alike. Those of us who can really blend our voices with everyone else and tune to the nth degree are on the A list. Those of us who can't, even though they might be really good singers, well...let's just say nobody wants to stand next to them in a group (or in worse cases, hire them).
Sometimes I get really hacked off when I think people aren't even trying. The sound just comes barreling out of them, as though they had no idea it takes a whole different technique to sing ensemble than it does solo. And a lot of my friends have absolute pitch, which means that they can pull any note out of thin air any time they want. I don't--I have to find a pitch in relation to all the other pitches I'm hearing at the time. The problem with having perfect pitch, though is that it makes you kind of inflexible (though some can adjust, a lot of them don't, and then it drives you crazy, especially when their "A" isn't a 440 "A", it's a 445 "A" or a 435 "A").
But anyway...you don't have to have perfect pitch to be vain about your tuning ability. Prime example: Moi. I'm pretty good at it, and I think I have a pretty good reputation in that respect. On the other hand, I sometimes think, "What if it's ME?" And it very well could be, I have to admit. (My friend POD has a post over on Thuffering Thuccotash about this flying finger of frowny-face coming back to point at your own self. Her post actually started me thinking about this!)
So this is my bad habit: making terrible faces when the tuning goes awry. Sometimes to the point of putting my hands over my head. I just think it's probably really unprofessional, and so far it hasn't done anybody any good whatsoever, that I know of.
Starting last Sunday morning I really tried to keep a poker face, and for the most part I succeeded. I nearly jumped out of my chair once, when during a tuning discussion one of my friends said "Is that the place you were making a face about?" "WAS I MAKING A FACE??" I cried out. She said not really, she was only looking at me from the side. Apparently even a slight puckering of the lips passes for making a face. Apparently my reputation for making faces is at least as big as my reputation for impeccable tuning.
What I'm hoping is that with controlling my outward reaction I can control my inner reaction a bit and not get so control-freakish. (Except about controlling myself.) And I'm going to start carrying my Korg tuner around again and monitoring myself. Just to make sure it's not me...