I’ve been taking singing lessons for a long time – almost as long as I took piano lessons. Longer if I put together all the time I’ve had with the five different teachers I’ve had over my life. And sometimes the lessons are great and sometimes they aren’t.
The greatest gift one teacher gave me was to get me to an Otolaryngologist. And that led to surgery to remove nodes from my vocal folds. My first teacher and I had fun and singing was fun and I remember that I felt like I could sing anything. My third teacher said something to me that pretty much took that confidence from me. She told me that I had an ugly voice and I believed her. Self-doubt is insidious. My fourth teacher – well the first four years of working with her were great and the last two were not. I didn’t trust that she could help me deal with a vocal issue which I had. And my current teacher, my fifth – well things aren’t working now after so many years.
I know that I have a powerful voice and that I know how to sing well. And my current teacher said has said some things to me lately that he has never said before. What he said and what I’ve been thinking about is that I don’t have a tentative presence or speaking voice or laugh. But I do have a tentative singing voice – an unsure presence which comes through in how I sing. When I sing, I seem to be insecure.
That made me realize why I love listening to Gerald Finley and Tomas Quastoff – there is such honesty in the singing and total commitment of self to the words. It may not always be pretty but it has such total surety. I need to sing like the Emperor – as if I am on stage naked and don’t give a damn about that.
And my teacher has continued to point out to me that when I sing, my voice needs to be connected to my body so that my vocal folds are together. And I’ve told him that the more that he says that to me, the worse it gets. I start to manage how I sing rather than just sing. And then I’m not in the song – I’m singing from my head and not my heart.
And, just this week, he told me that after I sang my last exam that I should not have gone forward to work on the next grade’s listed songs but that I should have gone back. “After all, Jean, these are not easy songs.” I know that AND I chose songs that I liked – melody and word. And I had looked at songs from the next grade at his suggestion – not my own. I trusted his judgement over my own.
The only thing that he told me at my last lesson that did make any sense is that there is a part of my voice which doesn’t always line up. It’s an issue that I need to deal with. And then he made suggestions of repertoire I could sing which would help me address the issue. It’s not that the middle part of my voice is unclear but that it is not consistently clear. I get that.
And I sit here [and as I’ve lived with all of this lack of ease since January] I’ve been thinking about what I want. I love to sing. There will always be music in my life. And I know that I want to have fun. Progressively, singing has not been fun. So, there’s a lot for me to think about.
I wonder if it is just singing for my teacher that has lead to me tying myself up in knots? Is it that I look for his approbation before I believe I have the right to be heard as a singer? What’s the story I tell myself about my right to sing? And what is the story I tell myself about needing a teacher or vocal coach in order to know that I’m singing physically and musically well? What is the mythology I’ve set up about my teacher? What’s the story I tell myself about my right to heard?
There have been many times, especially lately, when I wonder why I am still taking lessons. Part of the mythology is that I need a teacher in order to sing well. Yeah, a teacher who knows what they are doing can help me deal with any vocal issues which present. And I know that, beyond that, what I need more is a vocal coach to help make sure that I’m pronouncing the words in German or Italian or Russian correctly and to make suggestions that I can consider about how to approach any particular song.
The story I held and learned over so many years is that the outside expert knows best. And so, I’ve found myself afraid to make a decision. My heart tells me one thing and my head tells me another. My Self says, ‘Trust yourSelf’ and my head says, ‘Hedge your bets. Don’t make a decision you might regret. Don’t do something you cannot take back.’ And so I waffle and I dither.
It still amazes me, even knowing what I know about my body as a Quantum Biological processor and trusting the process of Quantum TLC™ that I still get mired in old history. There have been so many waves moving through me and, even though I remind myself to breathe and to keep my eyes open and to look straight ahead, I’ve really been looking down. And today, a very good friend who is also a WEL-Systems Institute® Affiliate reminded me that when I look down, I’m looking at my life from the position of old beliefs, values, and attitudes – all externally referenced. She reminded me that it is possible to move through waves and to still be locked in the content.
So, I’ve been sitting here breathing into that. And, thanks to my friend’s reminder, I’ve let go of ‘why’. It does not matter ‘why’. What is important is knowing at a quantum cellular level that I AM the expert in this and in all aspects of my life. No one is more expert about me than me. No one knows me better than I know myself. No one knows who I AM more than me.
What I do know is that this journey to mySelf keeps going forward. And with each new discovery, I own mySelf more and I own MY TRUTH more.
There is no good – bad or right or wrong about what I’m working through right now. There is just information which my body is processing. What I do know is that the I AM that I AM will lead. I just need to get out of my own way.
And it is all about trust – trusting mySelf to lead in MY life. And in that trusting, I have let go of so much old mythology.