There Are No New Thoughts

How liberating to know there are no new thoughts!  Everything we ponder has been pondered before.  Think about it.

Barring great pioneers such as Albert Einstein, the rest of us should not expect to bring brand new knowledge into the world.  New collections of ideas maybe, but not new ideas themselves. We all borrow or steal ideas from each other as a matter of course.  This is the way of it – across time and across the human condition.

Both Byron Katie and Elizabeth Gilbert discuss this topic in their work.  “There are no new stressful thoughts,” Katie says.  Gilbert agrees: creative work consists of recycled and re-purposed thoughts uniquely brought together.  We are not working with new materials here, people.

So, why would the idea of “no new thoughts” be liberating and not depressing?

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You Already Know How to Sing

You already know how to sing. Whether you or anyone else thinks you are good at singing is another matter entirely.

For the self professed “singers” in the house, I want to address your fears around voice training. If there are any.

When I started my singing career, I had no clue how my voice worked and had even less desire to learn about it.  I just wanted to sing, which is the case with most working singers.

Why analyze something you’ve always been able to do?  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – right?

Then, like so many other unsuspecting singers, I discovered a love for teaching that dovetailed beautifully with a love for helping people.  (Working with voices is the perfect job for someone interested in music, psychology, and science btw.)

Soon after I began teaching, I discovered the world of voice science. That discovery sparked an insatiable desire to learn about vocal function.

This step, learning the mechanics and acoustics of the body, necessarily requires teachers.  Voice teachers. Ugh. Who wants to take a “voice lesson?”  And where could I go to learn how the voice works without getting accosted with an aria?

Like so many other singers who do just fine on their own musically, I was suddenly frozen between wanting to know more about how the voice works and not wanting anyone to tell me “how to sing.”  In this case, sing jazz.

Fast forward a few years, and finally . . . meet Tom Blaylock.

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A Singer’s View of Voice Problems

“The only thing better than singing is more singing.”
~Ella Fitzgerald

I was diagnosed with nodules when I was in my Masters’ degree – for classical voice performance. When I was in the ENT’s office, I realized that I didn’t know anything about how my voice worked. Not really.

Sure, I’d been taking voice lessons since I was in high school, sung in choirs forever, and I had even taken one semester of vocal pedagogy. But that didn’t teach me about my voice. I just hadn’t been paying attention.

So here I was in this chair – alone – crying. I barely heard what the ENT was saying. I just didn’t know what this meant for me – for my singing career that hadn’t even started yet. I heard him say that this was most likely caused by “vocal misuse and abuse.”

This is, as I know now, an unfortunate standard line still used in too many clinics. I was doing everything that teachers and coaches and conductors told me to do! How was I abusing my voice?

I went on immediate and complete vocal rest, found a speech therapist, and dropped out of the lead role in the opera. (And then had another night of crying about that.)

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How to Get S**t Done and Feel Good About It

“Done is better than great.”
~Dr. K. Sherrod

I’ve been running on this idea that “done is better than good” ever since reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.  (Please reference my Big Magic posts if you haven’t already.  Her ideas liberate the creative mind.)

I’m upgrading “done is better than good” to “done is better than great”.  Because, and let me be totally vulnerable with you, I have spent most of my life shooting for GRRREAT which has stopped me from completing many, many creative projects.

If you set a goal of P.E.R.F.E.C.T. then you’re liable to 1) give up in a heap of tears and shame 2) flitter around in fits of avoidance and business (read: busy-ness) or 3) just keep working and working and working and working and working and never get jack s**t actually accomplished.  Bottom line, you never hit the “finished” line.

Again, let’s remember: done is better than great.  Dr. Sherrod might go a step further and say that “good enough” is indeed good enough.  I personally love how saying “good enough” feels!

Please be aware, I’m not advocating for crappy work.  There are few people out there who take the above concepts a bit far and produce work that deserves a few more minutes of attention.  (Just a few, dude, pleeeeease just 10 more minutes of your time.)  And let’s face it, there will be people who say the same thing about this post too. So be it.  At least it will get published or to it’s finished line.

What’s the point of all this “good enough” talk?

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Building Trust in the Vocal Studio

“Authentic and positive relationships are not built in a day. Put your best and most honest self forward and then trust the process. A mentor of mine said that experience is just time in disguise. Neither can be truncated or expedited. You just have to keep showing up, keep expanding your reach, keep learning and growing, and individual relationships will fall into place as they should.”
~Grace Stern,
from TomatoSass, a Blog for Women in the Music Industry

Brené Brown continues to give us gifts of magnificent proportions.  I just saw her talk on the “Anatomy of Trust” and wanted to rebroadcast it’s existence in case someone out there happens upon this blog and has space for 20 minutes or so of life-altering goodness.  (video below, btw)

I love technology and our ability to freely broadcast transformative information!  So much it makes me want to cry, but I digress.  On with the show.

Brené’s research reveals how trust functions, and in typical BB fashion she brings it home through real-life stories and her wide, open heart.  This video settles like warm hugs in your chest the same way a deep and intimate talk with your bestie does, at a time when you need it the most.

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