Monday, February 27, 2012

The only constant is change

One of the things I love best about the craft/skill of singing is that no matter how accomplished you are, there is always something you could do better. Every working singer I know still has a teacher who acts as their ears. Someone to help with little glitches here and there, fixing this or that when a role hasn’t fit perfectly into their voice, or building for one that is a little beyond their current level.

It is also one of the things that my type-A self finds most frustrating about singing. The sense that I will never be finished, and that someone will always have some advice, or something to add.

For years, I’ve gotten feedback, various good and bad. And you know when there are things you have to take to heart and things that you should ignore, because it doesn’t seem to be coming from the right place of genuine concern for your career. The weird thing about singing is that it is a discipline that seems to have a lot of non-specific, non descript lingo that people throw around and can mean a lot of different things. So, when someone says something like “Its sounds like you’re singing from behind a door,” how do I take that feedback to my teacher and figure out how to fix that problem? You pretty much can’t. You just wonder what’s wrong with you that apparently everyone notices but no one knows how to fix.

The other day I had a lesson that felt like everything I had been hearing from competition judges, coaches, etc., somehow added up to exactly what this person said I was missing, but no one had ever been able to articulate in any real way that I understood, much less offered a solution for addressing it. The odd thing is that I have always more readily accepted criticism and declarations of my own vocal lack than I have positive affirmations of my singing. Maybe it was because instinctively, I have always known something was not quite right.

It is so hard to trust when what you hear you will need to do to correct this is hard to accomplish, uncomfortable, very scary, and actually, different than anything you have ever heard, that it is really the right path to take. While I did not immediately have an emotional reaction, I found myself tearing up throughout the day, feeling just generally kind of verklempt, wondering if I was ever going to be able to figure out how to really sing. The more I went over it in my head, and listened to the recording, the more I knew it made a lot of sense. I should have been thankful that someone finally told me what I’d been needing to hear, but instead I kind of felt sorry for myself. Am I really here again? What the heck, I thought. I’m ready to be the finished product.

So all this time I’ve been writing about facing my fears, and I’m being given an actual way to put it into practice. Oh, and the other thing—I weighed myself today for the first time in seven years. It was worse than I thought. But I'm REALLY motivated now. I think 2012 is going to be a year of change and reevaluation.

The other thing I’m wondering is how I could possibly be dumb enough to put all of this on the internet for all of you to read!

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