This past summer when I was teaching in Lyon, I walked up these stairs every morning to work. It was no mean feat (where the photo was taken is about 2/3 of the way up–it’s steep!). Today as I pondered what to post, I remembered this photo; when I took it I was thinking about what a journey singing is, day in, day out.

Singing forces you to examine yourself. You can’t hide from your flaws and foibles. The odd day, you have a great practice or rehearsal or performance, and you feel so full and happy, you might even be tempted to think: “I’ve got it!”, only to have it slip away again. In order to practice with real awareness, you have to be willing to observe and accept everything: the little glitches and growls and weaknesses that might surface on any given day.

These last few days I have felt discouraged. I’ve questioned myself and didn’t like what I was hearing. I’ve worked so hard on my practice for so many years, and it’s frustrating when it feels like there is no progress or when things just don’t feel right. But today I remembered the journey. I just showed up in my studio and put in some time, and I let things be as they were. I didn’t strive for a particular result, and I noticed what I was doing. I sought to work less hard, surrender and experience a little more. It’s a long journey, but it’s worth it.