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When I first started writing this blog in 2019, my goal was to examine the deep connection I felt, both as artist and teacher, between the singing voice and selfhood. I wanted always to be as honest as possible, even if it meant sometimes exposing the dark underbelly of what it means to truly open your heart and sing from what you find there. I intended to share the journey of a singer from both the performing and learning perspectives, and to do so unflinchingly. I hoped that it would resonate, that other singers might feel heard and validated by what I wrote, and I also hoped to shed light on what this work was for folks who are outside of the profession. I felt that they might feel that my reflections applied more universally to them as well.

This week, however, I found myself in a hard place. I didn’t want to say what was bubbling up inside me. Upon being caught up, once again, in a whirlwind of work (it never seems to stop), I had to ask myself honestly: why am I not practicing? I have literally not sung a note (at least not intentionally) for a good 6 weeks since my last performance. I find a multitude of reasons why I can’t. But it begs the question. Why am I not making time for it?

So I thought it might be important to meditate on. After all, I am a bit of a stickler on goal-setting and practice regimens for my students. One of my big research interests is the Art of Practice, and I engage in all kinds of methods to get my students to practice more joyfully and effectively. So it sure feels hypocritical (!) not to be doing it myself. [In fact, so much of the literature speaks to the importance of teachers truly practicing what they preach, modelling for their students and generating empathy in the process] I decided there were two reasons:

One: I am getting older and starting to distance myself from my identity as a singer. It no longer feels quite as central to me to be a Singer as it once did. I have many interests and passions, and singing is an important one, but it no longer defines me solely. But there’s also…

Two: I am afraid. I am afraid of sounding older. Of no longer having the voice I once had. I recognize how much work it takes to keep an older instrument in shape. It makes me tired and feel defeated. So I hesitate. I stop.

It’s the truth. And it feels hard but important to say it.