Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 8: Feelings

I love this video of Nina Simone. There is so much vulnerability in her singing and her facial expression. When I sing, I think so much about the technical side of things that it can be hard to let go and feel. Why is it so hard to feel when we play music? For some it is not hard at all. For many, it is. For me.... sometimes I have it and sometimes I don't. Today I did not. The worst part is I want to feel it. There is feeling inside of me, trapped in a little cage, waiting to burst out. David tells me if I keep practicing with the intention, it will be automatic one day. I believe it, but in the meantime, it is frustrating to want to feel the music, and feel the learned habit of holding back. 

When I was 15, I was in love with a boy who was on anti-depressants, against his own wishes and at his parent's insistence. I remember he told me that he couldn't cry anymore. The medicine left him unable to feel strong emotions. I could tell this bothered him a lot. I thought that was the saddest thing I had ever heard. It broke my heart to see him feel sad with no way to release it. The sadness just stayed inside. We may not all take Zoloft or Prozac, but how many of us cover up the sadness with repression, anger, drugs, denial, alcohol? When I watch Fox News clips on the Daily Show, I am amazed at how callous so many people have become. The joy we take in watching people mess up American Idol auditions (or X Factor... whatever the show is now) instead of feeling bad for them and their crushed dreams, the giddiness that overcomes us when we pass the tabloids at the super market. My own vice is watching the Republican debate follies. You could say it is my own version of the American Idol auditions. 

And even if we are not participating in the callousness, it effects us. I know for myself, I have learned how to guard myself and keep my feelings hushed in order to avoid embarrassment. A musician can't guard herself. The music will suffer. This is true for any artist, but it is most important for a performer. A performance that is not real and emotionally honest is a waste of everyones energy and time. A good actor believes he is the character he is playing and a good dancer believes she is the violin playing the melody in the song. A good singer becomes the lyrics and a good piano player forgets that he and the instrument are two separate entities. I must make it a habit to feel everything. 

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