Well, campers, it's a hot one. I wore a very inappropriate dress to work today, because I walk, people, and I have to be able to not die in 103 degree weather. But no one really sees me, so it doesn't matter.
In other riveting news of my life (chuckle), I have a coaching today and I'm quite excited. I love coachings because I feel like it's a chance to really work through your issues with a piece without the pressure of it being perfect. I try to be as prepared as possible, obviously, but the premise is that these are works in progress not yet set in a performance-ready groove. They're supposed to still be very malleable. Having only just arrived at the conclusion that perhaps I don't suck as much as I always thought I did, I am noticing there is so much power in humble confidence. The humility part, of course coming from the knowledge that the more you know about singing, the more you realize you don't know. The confidence part coming from the hard work I have put in and the fact that I am willing to sacrifice and give of myself to be really good at something.
How often do you meet a performer in whom both of those qualities can coexist? It is rather rare.
The problem is that singing is something that is very difficult to ever feel sure of. You can know that the note has usually come out in the past, but you cannot KNOW that it is going to the next time you have to sing it. So it is not confidence in singing, really, that we can ever have, because our cords are fragile, temperamental little things that do weird stuff. It's confidence in ourselves we have to work to cultivate. It's so cliche-ish I almost hate writing it, and because it doesn't help to tell a person with no real inner-navigator to be confident in themselves. It is impossible to accomplish, and it's a phrase too cavalierly thrown around.
For the singer, the humble confidence comes from knowing we have prepared and done our work, and have put every ounce of ourselves (in the truest sense of the word "self") into what we are doing, and after that we are able to just let it go, and be okay with what comes out. It's the ability to get out of the way of the music and say, it's really not about me. I am here in service of something a lot more important than my voice and my career.
Sometimes it is a bit staggering to think that we are singing things that have stood the test of thousands of performances and hundreds of years. It kind of puts it all in perspective. I'm just one more soprano learning another revered work of the the canon, and in the words of holy writ: there is nothing new under the sun.