Worry is trained into us by our culture.
Instead of practicing or studying or growing; we worry:
“Am I good enough?,” “Will they like me?,” “Do I like my voice?,” “Am I where I need to be?,” “Is this the right song/aria/repertoire for me?,” “Why is my voice doing THAT?,” “Should I be feeling something here?,” “Why can’t I get this?”.
These are all things that we ‘creatives’ all struggle with from time to time. Unfortunately for the singer, all that stress can go right into the voice – the very medium of expression that we need to communicate our art.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I have struggled with my voice and continue to work on rebuilding it from ineffecient techniques. The worries that I have experienced could fill a book: “Am I going to be good again?”, “Am I going to be able to sing again?”, “Am I too old to sing anymore?” These have been the life mantras for me for the past several years. I still continue to hear these phrases from time to time.
But then I sit down at the piano and do the work.
Whatever happens on that day – happens. I try so hard not to judge it, my only job is to set up the ‘vocal environment’ to be friendly and hospitable. And then I just LET IT GO, whatever it is IS WHAT IT IS that day in THAT moment. By vocal environment, I mean the vocal exercises and technical tools that I use to bring forth a balanced response from my voice.
Doing the work can be a POWERFUL tool against worry. Sit down, sing those scales, get in touch with your body, release the tensions of everyday life, sing for the sheer simple joy of singing. (I grew up in church, and when someone would sing badly my mother would say, “They’re making a joyful noise!”)
When you focus your attention on the POSITIVE, you can use that creative energy to become something else.
Worry will strike – how can it not? The reminder is that worry is merely a sign of your creative power and the DEEP LOVE that you have for making music. Let those ideas percolate in your world for a while the next time you get attacked by worries.
Image: Piano Notes by Charles Rondeau. Public Domain.