Today is March 28, 2016, the day after Easter, a day for ruminating on the new life that is blossoming in my heart. Friends and colleagues have insisted that I start a blog for a long time now, and I have resisted. Why would I do that?
I have to say that I’m afraid. Afraid of censure, of being thought of as crazy or over-the-top (both of which are true). 🙂 Afraid of not being taken seriously. Afraid of being too serious or too sarcastic. Afraid of numerous other things. And yet, despite my fear, I feel deep in my soul that it’s time for me to be vulnerable and honest and my full (and crazy) self.
So my commitment to you is that I will be my complete, multi-faceted, international, Baltimorean, intense, crazy self. But probably not all at one time–haha! It would be SO nice if all the thoughts that go through my head in 60 seconds could be written down at that speed. But alas, one word at a time . . . .
I had my first coaching with the esteemed coach and conductor Giovanni Reggioli last Wednesday. As we were discussing singing coloratura, he made a comment that captured me (and I paraphrase), “It’s ok if something is hard and takes time to master.” It was unusual that a comment of that nature struck me, because after all, I have been singing classically for a long time now and, hello, I’m a voice teacher who encourages her students to practice (PLEASE practice–it helps so much!). I have done so many hard things in my life; in fact, since moving to the States at age 18, one could even say that the definition of my life has been “difficult” (a story for another day).
But then I remembered the first rejection I experienced as a very young opera singer: I was sitting in the dean’s office at the music school I was transferring to. I knew I had talent (a story for another day), but at that time it was raw and untutored. It never occurred to me that other people wouldn’t be able to see it. But as I sat there and absorbed the dean’s words, I realized that others were indeed missing my talent. In that instant, I knew that my natural aptitude would have to take me the whole way. I began to believe that I couldn’t work at it, that “it” would have to just be there for me, and that if it wasn’t, something was wrong with me and perhaps I wasn’t a real singer. All of this is crazy, yes, and yet all of us have made unconscious vows at various times in our lives. This is so ironic to me because I tell my students the complete opposite and am horrified if they think things like that.
While I certainly have intensely practiced over the years, if I didn’t pick up something quickly, I would think I couldn’t do it or that something was wrong me. If it wasn’t easy for me to learn, then I was doing something wrong.
The actual truth is that I’m enormously talented and have indeed been able to do a lot naturally because I’m very musical and intuitive (and had a ton of inadvertent training as a Third Culture Kid).
But when I heard Giovanni say what he did, something inside me released. I felt like I could breathe. I felt free to work on the music that I love. I felt free to investigate new repertoire like the large bel canto roles. I felt free to wonder if I can indeed sing coloratura runs. I felt free to re-align my life to those things important to me. In essence, I felt free to be myself. At a paradoxical level, it’s enormously freeing to admit that something is hard. And opera is hard. Being an opera singer is one of the most wonderful things in the world, in my opinion, and it’s also difficult. It’s SOOOO freeing to admit this. Somehow it makes it all easier. Suddenly, something being difficult isn’t so bad. It’s simply difficult. Difficult can be free even as it’s difficult.
What exciting and freeing thoughts!!
What about you? My question to you would be for you to explore something in your life that is hard. How can freeing mental, emotional, and energetic space around it release some of the tension you have been holding?
Until next time,