There are many sides of a person that find their expression in the singing self. At least that has been my experience over the years, both in my own practice and learning and in that of my students. Therein lies the inherent vulnerability in singing. Because not all aspects of ourselves feel easy or comfortable to bring into voice; these are the parts of us that we prefer to disown for one reason or another. Perhaps we have been shamed, hurt or abused for expressing those sides of us. Or we feel that they represent weakness or “unacceptable” traits for public consumption.
I know for myself that one of the reasons I started writing this blog was to examine myself in detail as I went about probing such questions, but there are no easy paths here. Too often, I find myself lacking and recognize (in my age and infinite wisdom–LOL) the patterns which attempt to mask or erase elements of my personality that are unpleasant to look at. What I am identifying, however, is that it is often exactly these bits that are the most interesting, the most unencumbered by notions of propriety. In a word, when I access these parts of me, my singing more frequently becomes freer, stronger. Old habits die hard though, and there are often internal voices of consternation warning me of the dangers involved in charting such unfamiliar waters. I literally feel my vocal habits wanting to veer back onto the straight and narrow, but this is ultimately a path that disowns who I am in my entirety.
I’ve been taking more time recently (one of the Silver Linings I alluded to in last week’s post) to do a brief meditation before I start to practice so that I can form an intention. Today’s intention is to bring all of me into the room. Angry me. Selfish me. The me who cares about meeting my own needs. Artistic me. Silly me. Risky me. Shy me. Loud me. All of it. It’s scary, but it’s worth the risk it takes, because I become more comfortable in my skin and this affords me more strength and honesty in my singing.