Some Days Aren't Easy, Some Days Are Hard
Updated: Feb 17
Here's a long winded thought for the day:
A few years ago a tutor told me "don't work on your voice to prove someone wrong or to defy expectations, do it for you". Now the argumentative 20 year old listened to this advice but I never really heard the message behind it until the last couple of days
I have always worked on my voice and on music in an effort to prove something to someone. To gain praise after being laughed at in a junior school choir practice. To gain attention after illness ostracized me from senior school. To prove that college interviewer wrong after she told me I would "never achieve a career in music". To impress and stand out in an Academy where in all honesty I turned up completely out of my depth. To prove to an employer was worth their time. To compete with everyone in the music industry to be the best. The strongest. The most versatile. The most durable. The most successful. The most conversant in theoretical concepts. The most conveyant of emotion. The most technically correct.
Recently those words said to me by that tutor finally clicked. How can our voice ever be truly free if we are constantly pushing to prove something to others? And if freedom is what is required for a healthy voice, surely aiming to rectify a wrong or constantly feeling in competition will be entirely detrimental to this process both mentally and physically.
Those reasons I mention above still drive me to keep working hard, but after the last month of thinking and practicing religiously I now know I am doing this for me, and my voice is not identical to any other. And most importantly I've realised that is ok. In working this out suddenly I have gained a freedom in my voice I have never experienced. I know what I want to convey through music and how to differenciate that from expectations. I am less embarrassed when I crack on a note or am not 100%. I have realised technical aspects and barriers I previously couldn't comprehend.
I chose to keep music as a prominent part of my life to bring joy to others. To make that special day even more magical; to make people feel and think; to make a statement. In ridding myself of the need for approval from anyone but myself, I am now more able to fulfil that purpose and share music positively. (note, direction for improvement etc is a completely different concept)
I am the last person to want to preach my views and cannot stand to talk about feelings and whatnot. But I thought in sharing my own little moment of revelation I could be able to help someone else some day.
To that tutor, I apologise for my initial ignorance. I hope you end up reading this and know I am ridiculously grateful to you for probably giving me the one piece of advice I truly needed.