Yesterday someone suggested I write a proposal for a conference presentation on how to get along. More specifically, about how people in the professional voice arena can create avenues of goodwill and constructive dialog. Maybe – be friendlier to each other, and more open to exchanging ideas?
His point was, “its lovely when voice professionals come together and get along, but how do you do that? What makes that possible? We need someone to talk about it.”
I don’t know how to write that proposal yet. I’m not sure how to instruct others on how to “get along” when I have so much to learn about it myself.
Please understand, my chosen profession (call me crazy for choosing it) is fraught with historic tension, fear, anger and strained relationships. I won’t even claim to understand this psychological history, because I don’t and don’t want to. I have heard enough stories and experienced enough relationship woes between voice teachers to know something is potentially awry.
Do relationship problems exist more chronically or pervasively in voice than in other professions? Who cares. They exist, and there are historic “dividing lines” between voice scientists and voice teachers, classical singers and pop singers, university faculty and community voice teachers. Many lines have been drawn in many people’s heads, and you can probably think of a few more than I’ve listed here.
In viewing the following video yesterday, I was reminded that the human voice is capable of so much . . . more.
Often in voice training, or when learning new vocal skills, we give in to the fear that we might hurt ourselves, or produce ugly tones, or worse – do something “outside of our genre.” Gasp!
This limited line of thinking keeps us from exploring the range of textures and dynamics we are all capable of, and it also robs us of the inherent joy that comes with making sound. All kinds of sound. For someone as skilled as the following vocalist, we have to imagine the freedom with which he explored different parts of his voice! What kinds of weird sounds did he experiment with in order to discover such different voices in the same voice? How much fun are those sounds to make? And how much fun is he having singing on different sounds back to back?
Before anyone gets their pedagogical thinky-minds in a bunch over his “technical issues” (should you be inclined to go there, teachers), take a moment to hear this voice for the magic it is – a voice full of ability, life, and a reminder that we are usually capable of more than we realize. Especially vocally!
I get tired, y’all.
Tired of constant negativity, finding fault, and altogether tired of our culture’s obsession with focusing on what’s wrong.
These traits exist in me as much as the next person, and I am learning to be more patient and loving with myself on this subject.
But, I also believe in giving compliments, encouraging people, and focusing on ALL the things that are going well. I think it is a powerful and effective way to build relationships and help ourselves grow. And from what I can tell, this is not necessarily a popular way to be.
In fact, I’m going to go as far as to say that focusing on the “what’s right” of a situation, or seeing the most positive aspects of something or someone, is often perceived as naive, weak, or just plain dumb. I’m okay with that because I’ve discovered that being ultra positive works better than being ultra critical. For me, and obviously not everyone. Remember, we all get to decide how to play the game of life.
A beautiful woman enters the room. She is impeccably dressed. Tall, with flowing black hair. Her lipstick is the perfect shade of red, and her heels match her suit as if they were designed by the same person.
And then – she starts to sing.