Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day Three: You Can't Always Get What You Want

I was so glad to fill up my first hour of practice with Katie, my voice teacher, at USC. The thing that amazes me about Katie is that she seems to have this amazing understanding of Eastern Philosophy, but she has never even taken a yoga class. Today, we worked on my high notes on the "Ah" vowel. Even though this is the easiest sound to make in the upper register, I struggle with it. Katie says I try too hard to control the sound which creates tension in my jaw, which creates a tense sound. She says that we have to learn how to let go of the need to control everything, that our voices are not truly controllable because they are always changing. My voice will be different tomorrow, and there is nothing I can do about it. The trick is to let go of the expectation and need to control every little detail. I told her that she sounded like a Buddhist and that I was going to name her "Yoga Master of Singing." She laughed but didn't totally know what I meant. I told her about the Buddhist concept of non-attachment, how every moment passes and nothing is permanent and the secret to happiness (according to Buddhists) is to learn how to accept that fact of life. Once I gave up the feeling of needing to be in control, my high notes began to soar clearer than ever. 

After yoga, I mean singing class, I ran on my favorite trail in Elysian Heights near Dodgers Stadium. Running has helped me feel stronger when I sing, and I am pretty sure it has helped me increase my breath support. After running, it was back to the studio to practice. I am happy to report that I fulfilled my 4 hour requirement today. I'm exhausted, but calm. 

I want to carry on the deeper message of my voice lesson into the rest of my life. You really can't control everything, but if you show up and do your work, there is a good chance you will have a positive outcome. Frustration is the real killer - acceptance makes you resilient. You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need. :)

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