A few days ago I wrote about how surviving a very personal rejection made me much more confident in expressing my own truth (taking a risk). I also wrote about my fears about contemplating a professional career as a singer (creativity, confidence and love).
Today I was amazed by the way these two issues came together in a singing lesson. (Not from my regular singing teacher, who’s not around much at the moment, but one of her former students, whose doing very well at present!) Essentially her approach was to focus on one very specific sensation in the cheekbones, and follow that sensation, allowing the rest of the body to be relaxed and responsive. And not to manufacture or influence the sound in any way.
It’s really hard, because up until the last 2 years I’d been doing all sorts of little tricks to make the voice come out the way I wanted. But the intervention actually gets in the way of the full resonance of the voice. It makes the voice much more “produced”, and less immediate and intimate.
I’ve been working to get rid of all the little tricks and tensions – but every time I felt a little nervous about a note, or wanted a phrase to come out a particular way, they would creep straight back in, and I’d lose more than I gained. A frustrating process.
Anyway, towards the end of the lesson the teacher said that what I really needed now was to own my voice. To dare to reveal it the way it is. To stop tweaking and listening and interfering. To let go of expectations of what sound I want to produce, and just let my body sing the way it knows best.
And so, in effect, to present my authentic voice – as I had been learning the confidence to be my authentic self.
I’d been thinking that the break-up, in stopping me singing for a few months, had really got in the way of my professional aspirations. But the break up also taught me some important lessons about confidence and trust in myself, and above all shown me that I can survive being rejected. I’ve taken a real step forward in applying that confidence to my life. I want to see if I can now apply it to my singing.
Rejections come thick and fast in the early stages of being a professional singer, and some people never get beyond that stage. Having your voice and performance rejected by a panel of auditioners, often without any explanation, is painful, because both voice and performance are very personal.
But I have survived a rejection of me on a deeply personal level, at the hands of an intimate and trusted lover. Why should I be afraid of being rejected as a singer by an audition panel of strangers?