build that thing
They’re building in the field that’s on the far side of the green space in the back of our house. They’ve been at it for the better part of three years. And so far? They’ve built a road and some sort of power generation station (or something. I honestly have no idea. It could be a super-secret government bunker for all I know. ahem.) People literally comment, “are they going to do anything other than move dirt around back there?” all. the. time. And there is the noise of heavy machinery at work all summer long. (Which, when you live in Canada is kind of a travesty, given how short our summers are.) Meanwhile, ENTIRE SUBDIVISIONS have been built and populated in surrounding areas.
Not to get all philosophical on you but, depending on what you’re building and on what the ground looked like before you started and on what machinery you have and on your availability? The foundations may take a long time to get built. You may feel like you’ve been pushing dirt around for nearly three full summers and in the same time it took you to get a road established, entire other subdivisions are finished and populated. There are kids running around in those other subdivisions. And curtains up in the houses. And lawns planted and ready to be mowed. And SCHOOLS ALREADY BUILT WITH TEACHERS AND STUDENTS AND FANCY NEW COMPUTERS AND EVERYTHING. And all you’ve got is a gravel road and a power generation station (or a super-secret government bunker. because honestly? who can tell?).
Nothing but NO. THING. beats putting down a good foundation. Even if it takes two summers longer than all the other subdivisions.
ps I love Rebekah Piatt’s take on this very subject.
pps And if you’re worried that you’ve stuck it out long enough in this particular dirt pile and that it might be time to find a new contractor? D. Brian Lee has you covered.
If you want to instantly make a singer (or singing teacher) feel guilty, just ask them how much water they drink on the daily.
We all know the health benefits of hydrating. We all know that our bodies require hydration in order to function well. We all know that the vocal folds have a mucous membrane that needs to stay slippery in order to be able to oscillate efficiently and healthily to create sound, and that the best way to keep that mucous membrane slippery is to stay well-hydrated. (Okay, maybe we didn’t ALL know that last one.)
And, from my experience, nearly every single one of us has hydration guilt* from not drinking as much water as the should-monster** tells us we need to.
One thing you can do to start to slay that should-monster? Is drink 500 mls (approx 2 cups for those folks who are still using that super-antiquated system of measurement known as IMPERIAL. ahem.) of water before ingesting anything else in the morning. Yes. EVEN BEFORE COFFEE.
Try it out for thirty days. See if it helps you #singyourfaceoff even more than you already are …
*yeah … I made that one up #yourewelcome
** yeah … I made that one up too. #doublewelcome
ps Lyn-Genet Recitas uses a cool / easy-to-remember formula to figure out how much daily water intake is right for every body: divide body weight in pounds (yeah, pounds *eye roll*) by two and that’s how many ounces of water that body will likely be happy to have in a day. (So, a body that is 200 pounds will likely want to drink 100 ounces (or three litres) of water per day. #easypeasyright?)
repeat after me
- I am good at what I do. But what I do is NOT WHO I AM.
- I offer my students wonderful performance opportunities. And I help them prepare for those opportunities to the best of my ability.
- My students’ performances do not increase or decrease my value as a voice teacher (see point 2). OR AS A PERSON (see point 1).
- There are other great teachers out there and I am not the right teacher for every singer on the planet. [I may or may not need to repeat this one a few hundred thousand more times. Maybe get it tattooed to my forehead. Ahem.]
ps check out my friend Michelle’s FB Live on this subject. she’s wearing a filter that makes her look like a hippy. #sotheresthat
say what now?
I just had a great talk with Dr. Dan, a contemporary voice specialist based in Australia, about how our training influences what we perceive.
A singer who is classically-trained, for example, may perceive effort and strain (not to mention the possibility of injury!) in a belt sound. While a contemporary commercial singer may perceive the same in Pavarotti’s rendition of Nessun Dorma.
And while I would wager that there are not many contemporary singers teaching classical voice out there (and, thus, not very many voice teachers throwing shade on classical voice production in the studio due to their perception bias) … I would also wager that the vast majority of music theatre and contemporary voice teachers out there are classically-trained. Which can be problematic when those classically-trained voice teachers do not make efforts to work through their perception bias.
So this is an appeal to my classically-trained voice teacher colleagues who teach music theatre and contemporary singing styles: the next time we hear sounds that we are sure are poorly produced, let’s open the door to questioning how much of our surety is based on perception bias. And let’s commit to acknowledging the possibility of perception bias in our teaching. And let’s do what we can to mitigate it … which is a whole other post. Or FaceBook Live. (stay tuned)
future singer thanks you
Seth Godin says:
Twelve years from now, your future self is going to thank you for something you did today, for an asset you began to build, a habit you formed, a seed you planted.
Even if you’re not sure of where it will lead, today’s the day to begin.
And I muse about what things we can encourage the singers we work with to start now (like, right now) that their future selves will thank them for …
Steaming every day? Choosing one great singer in their fach/voice type/style to listen to every day for a month? Developing a hydration habit? Doing a character study on a role that they aren’t ready to perform yet? Finding the perfect warm up and cool down for their voice? Investing in an acting course? Discovering who the incredible sound people are in their town? Taking a dance class? Learning how to learn music? Taking a song-writing course?
I come from a long line of pastors so I’m pretty sure I’ve heard every harvesting analogy out there. Choose your favourite one. And know that you have control over what future singer thanks you for.
ps my friend Vanessa says this too. only she’s WAY DEEPER than I am.