Hello all! Today has been an entirely uneventful, and actually almost unworthy of talking about, sort of day. Last night I had a sleepover with two of my best friends, so it was a late morning, going out for breakfast, sleepy T.V. watching sort of day.
Tonight, on the other hand, should be quite good! I can’t tell you the full extent of it, because it’s quite secret until… later… but firstly I promised a friend I would go to his art show [he put it together, but there are lots of people in it – many of them friends/acquaintances], so I’m heading off to that in a matter of minutes.
First I have a small thought – not long enough to constitute it’s own special post, but big enough to think about. So a minute ago I was practicing voice [singing – opera and stuff] and my mum made a comment about not really getting to my higher range. Now, I know she was just trying to be helpful but I’ve become a little more sensitive to people making comments about my voice recently. This year I had an unfortunate experience with one of my instructors which actually caused me to stop singing for a while – he was definitely what I would define as overly critical. And again, I know my dear mum was in no way being hurtful about my voice – she’s highly supportive of my singing, and has quite a bit of experience herself – but hearing even just the slightest criticism after being so heavily criticized can cause one to just not want to do it anymore. Anyway, all this reminded me of a thought that affected me quite a bit this last fall while preparing one of the lead roles in my school’s musical.
I don’t know how many of you out there are singers, but there’s something about singing that is very different from playing a musical instrument. When one sings, one is using their body as an instrument, you can change it small amounts here and there, and it will change as you mature, but really your voice is yours, and is the most personal type of music I believe a person can do. When one plays a musical instrument, on the other hand, they have the advantage of having an instrument that is separate from themselves. If someone tells a trombone player that their tone sounds brassy, a lot of the time they can switch to a different trombone, and the tone will improve depending on the quality of the instrument. [I know this – I play French horn, trumpet, and violin. The instrument you are playing on can make the a world of difference!]
This is not true for a singer. When a person tells a singer their voice is breathy, or weak, or just plain old unpleasant, it’s a much more personal thing. It’s true that you can train and eventually get your tone to be more focussed than breathy, or use air support to get it to be more confident sounding, but let’s face it, your voice is always going to be unique to you and hearing that something that personal, something that is literally a part of you, isn’t good enough, well… hearing that hurts!
I just thought I would share that tidbit with y’all. For those singers out there, I’m sure you can agree with this, and for those of you who reserve your singing ambitions for the shower now you know something more about why singers can be so uptight about criticism!
Oh, and to those of you who are shelling out the criticism, maybe you try getting up on the stage to sing, and dance in front of 700 people while wearing ridiculous yellow pants – these pants also happen to be suede on the inside, and boiling you slowly from the inside out.