Steve Ngai (危 志 荣) KuaLa Lumpur, Malaysia

Singing Journey

Recently, my passion toward has increase a lot. This makes me recall back, how this hobby got started. Just a little journal of my singing journey.

I don’t know when I start to like singing but I think it is the secondary school time. I think my desire to sing is affected by my desire to the songs I listen. I like to listen to songs, be it Chinese, Malay or English. Chinese and English more.

But, I never learn how to sing correctly, with the right technique. Like others, I just listen and imitate. Imitate those days related to today that I have learnt, the word is pitch matching. Imitate those days not only include pitch matching but their style, how rough is the voice and so on.

Funny moment is a time when we have science singing competition. I pair up with Soon Tee. We came out the lyric and use Beatles’ melody and a ‘chang’ and suprisingly we got first. But, only 3 participant including us. Of course, we must sang terribly compare to my standard now.

My desire to sing is so much to sing like them until I make so much effort just to sing one chinese song. Because I don’t know Mandarin, in order to sing, I need to rewind the tape, play it and write the ‘han yin pin yin’ and then stop and do it over and over again. And I did this for some songs. I still keep those lyrics.

That time also I have the better immune to the lyric. I don’t really get bothered by the lyric. When I listen to songs, I just like the music and the singer’s voice I think. But now, I got so easily affected by it. Maybe the side effect to learn that I need to mean the lyric when sing spiritual song.

Another memory I have is during college time. They want to get a representative from every intake to perform during yearly prompt night, something like that. That time I got really exited and I love KRU songs that time. Feeling some confidence, I decided to go for it (bad decision). But, I feel afraid. So, I asked another Malay friend to tag along. On the actual day, he back off and leave me go for it alone. And, I will go for it (another bad move). Because I feel so familiar with the song, I go for it without bring/looking the lyric. And guess what? I have forgotten the lyric. I just can’t believe that will happen. And I really bomb it big and I bomber thing is I see myself that I really bomb it big but just bomb.

I continue to like singing but never really learn the technique, just the same, imitation until I have become a disciple. That time, most of the campus brothers also like singing and our hang out is singing. Kenny Cheah and Roger play guitar and the rest sang. That time got Chee How, Mike, Jack. Many a time, we sang during date because of that. We got time to practice because that time, most of us are free. Mike and Roger is not a song leader yet and of course all of us still singles, not yet get steady not married. The sisters even expect it on the date.

My encounter with Mike

My singing really start to improve with my encounter with Mike. I don’t know he is a great in singing until he sang a song. He also encourage me in singing during discipling partner time. I can’t remember all the things that time like what he taught me but I think one of them is listening. Actually, he is good in singing but not really good in teaching or guiding even until now.

Falsento
I sang much falsento because of Bee Gees I think and doesn’t realize my falsento has gotten better and better and I don’t know why and how I do it well in this. During karaoke time, many seems impressed by it.

Choir

I was in the choir for around a year and then I’m out from it. That time, Zee Que is leading the song ministry and Weng Hong just stepped down. Because there isn’t enough time and expertise to help the choir, Zee Que decided to combine choir with song leader but not all will be in. He conducted an audition and I failed to go in. It is a very humbling moment in my life because I really don’t expect myself to fail. That time, I am the choir leader even. So, the humbling gets more hurt and even some I see them lesser vocal skills manage to went in.

I’m back

Then after some months, I thought of coming back. I give myself 6 months of training and I told Roger my desire. Later, Mike approached me and told me to come to join their Saturday song leader practice. I felt exited and honor, to have this honor to practice with song leader. But, he said I’m not a song leader for at least 6 month. That time I think is Jun 2005.

Books
Then I began to buy book. I bought a book called Teach Yourself To Sing. Don’t know when. Another one is Singing for Dummies. I bought this one on August 2005. This book really has help me much, teach me the technique and give me the understanding.

Diaphram
Since long time ago, I have been hearing this but just couldn’t do it. At one time, during carolling, I feel a little of it when I drag a note at the end of the song with my maximum volume. But, just occasionally or accidently or maybe just for that song. I did tried many times and at times the more I tried the more struggle I feel. I tried it wrongly. I got headache. I even can’t sing a normal song comfortably like when I was younger and I wonder why.

Sudden passion in singing

Recently, I begin to crave for Josh Groban’s songs so much until I can’t tahan to wait to borrow from Mike and bought it just now in Sungei Wang for RM42. I don’t why I just love his style, voice and songs so much. Think back, it has to do with some day when our church put a Musical Theather called “Upsidedown”. From that time, I begin to have the passion to be like them, to sing like them, with a rough voice. It is jus so nice. I begin to love it and appreciate it. But, I think once of the reason why I didn’t do much thing about it is because of my singing skill, more accurately me breathing is not there. I’m still not using my diaphram to control my breathing.

Another occassion spur me towards powerful singing again is the time I went to Singapore some months ago for Leader’s Conference. One the last day of the conference, during Sunday service, a sister whom later I know from Korea sing a powerful jazz style of Glory Glory Hallelujah. Wow, she really inspires me and I begin to imitate her in the way secretly because it’s embarassing to practice with people due to my incompetency. One time, I sang it in my house. I close all the room door and find that little ‘room’ sounds good due to all doors are close, so can hear the echo, my own voice. Later, from time to time, I try to sing rough or ‘opera’ style and realize that “Hey, sounds not bad.” But, my breathing is not there yet. So, my singing is not consistent due to that lacking. When I am not breathing correctly, using the diaphram, I have so much stress in my neck and shoulder and also I have problem to hit the note in my head. The note is too high for me.

But, don’t know since when, my breathing has gotten improved. I guess maybe from time to time, I focus in how my airflows is. I checked myself. “If I can hit the note in my head easil, if I don’t feel the stress in my neck and shoulder. If I don’t have headache when hit high notes, if I can easily hit any note, if I can free in my throat, if I feel pain in my diaphram, then very likely I’m using it. Then, I practice more and more.

Then, another inspiration is after watching Puteri Gunung Ledang. Then, I practice more and more recently and begin to see some improvement I think. When my breathing gotten better and better and more natural (At times I didn’t think too much about it). With that better breathing with diaphram, I feel so enjoy with my singing. I can be more easily project my voice, accending and discending. I can hit note in my head easily. I can also control it to like to ‘josh/musical theather’ style. The key is really breathing with diaphram. It is so important.