Updated: Jan 26
'The art of letting go', 'Acceptance', 'Enjoyment', 'I'm a singer!!!', 'Arrival', 'Release', 'Presence', 'Exploration', 'Fuck up and recover', 'Discovery', 'Flow', 'Flourishing'.
I asked my students to put a headline on their 'singing year' ahead for direction and motivation.
What's your headline?
I started this year by asking my students 11 questions that I've compiled inspired by a booklet called 'The year Ahead.' (See link).
(Scroll down for questions).
The main purpose of asking my students these questions was to reflect on the year that's gone and REALISE all the progress and growth and look ahead on to the new year, hopefully with a new sense of direction and a risen level of motivation. These 'interviews' got much deeper than anticipated and highlighted topics, and raised further questions such as, 'How do I get to a place where I can fully accept and trust my voice'?, 'How do I separate myself from my mind so I can feel freer in my singing'? 'How do I get out of feeling inferior to the instrumentalist in my band'? 'What are my main responsibilities as a singer in a band situation?' 'How do I get into a regular practice routine and build good habits'? 'Why can I not allow myself to call myself a singer'? Etc...
These are ongoing conversations I am having with my students, all of which come from different musical backgrounds and experiences. I will try my best to unravel some of these topics in further blog posts.
What was especially revealing throughout this process, although not surprising, was the common thread we all share in terms of our insecurities. I call these insecurities 'mind trolls'. They are silly, mean, little buggers that pop into our heads and ruin our flow by whispering things like 'you are not good enough, or 'you're never gonna reach that note' and, 'who would want to listen to you sing anyway,' SO MEAN!! I know because I have loads of these little silly ones going on in my own head all the time. In fact, I have them right now writing this....shhhhh go away; I am busy!!!
When I get into this frame of mind, I like to remind myself of one of the first solo gigs I ever did. It was in a fancy piano bar in Central London, and I was fresh out of music college and felt totally out of my depth, especially as I had to accompany myself on the piano. I was bricking it. The bar was fairly empty except for two rowdy customers who decided to sit right behind me and talk as loudly as they could. One of those gigs...we've all been there!
Anyway, a man walks into the bar and sits down. A whole community of 'mind trolls' started having a meeting in my head and concluded for some reason or another that this man disliked the music I was making. They were saying that he'd probably come there to have a quiet drink on his own, and I was ruining his evening. He would most likely complain to the manager and leave soon they decided. I wanted to sink through the piano stool while trying to keep my fingers moving across the keys on the piano.
But the man stayed, listened, and on his way out left me a note that read -"I am going through a mad time at the moment, and your singing has made me cry as well as making me feel happier than I've felt in a long time, thank you." I still keep this note as a reminder of my 'mind trolls'. They keep on having their ridiculous meetings in my head from time to time, but at least I know what they are.
I know they are lies. These 11 questions won't get your mind tolls to go away, but they might reveal them, which is a good place to start. Maybe then we can slowly begin to navigate away from them and allow ourselves to truly feel 'Enjoyment,' "Acceptance," "Presence," and "Arrive" at having the "Flow" that we want.