New Years Resolutions: #SING
December 31, 2013
It seems a lot of people I know like to hate on new years resolutions, and I totally get it. Many of us resolve in January to accomplish certain goals or tasks, only to find ourselves a month or even a week later in a place of selective memory or total abandonment. This of course leads to some level in disappointment or self-loathing, which is a terrible place to be. So maybe it’s healthier for us to just not resolve?
Ehhhh, I don’t know. Personally, I love a good resolution. For me, resolutions are more about reflection than goals. In order to point ourselves in a direction toward something we’d like to achieve, we have to reflect on where we’ve been and I find this to be invaluable. It also seems that in reflection if we are truly honest with ourselves about where we are coming from, we’ll be kind to ourselves about where we should go.
For instance, if I haven’t been doing sit ups at all in 2013, resolving to do 150 sit ups a day is probably not setting myself up for much success. It also sounds like some sort of punishment, which certainly doesn’t fall into the “kind to myself” category.
Additionally, resolutions are a great opportunity to seek accountability in our lives and there are few more effective tools in seeking success than accountability. Honestly, I find this is why so many dedicated students come regularly to voice lessons. Sure I help point them in a better technical direction and maybe introduce them to appropriate repertoire, but ultimately, I hold them accountable. Because they have asked, I remind them to stand up straight, breath well, give it their all. Sometimes we just need to ask.
Taking these things into consideration, I thought I’d start 2014 off by offering four resolutions, specifically about singing. I hope that if you find these attainable and kind, you might consider pursuing them or something similar. Need accountability? I can help with that. Feel free to email me, or go more public and leave it in the comments below!
Sing every day.
Seriously, make a sound every day. I don’t care if it is in the shower, or in the car or in a closet. Find a space to sing. I find time and again that singers who experience the most success with their instrument first and foremost have fearlessness in using it and then a deep familiarity with it. That seems basic, right? But do you really know the ins and outs of your voice? Do you know every crack, corner and crevice? Can you describe the vibrations? Can you apply adjectives to the sound? Do you know what you don’t like about your voice and what you do? Are there parts you’re afraid of using? There is only one way to answer all of these questions. #SING. Every. Day.
Sing one song very well.
This is actually a personal resolution that I hope you’ll take to heart as well. Sure, I’ve got some songs up my sleeve, but if someone asked me right now to sing something, I’d probably hem and haw a bit. This isn’t necessary. We are singers and singing is best shared in song. What’s your song? If you don’t know, let’s figure this one out. Regardless if your goal in performance or not, it feels good to know that if asked, or let’s get more extreme and say if a gun was held to your head, you’d have one song that you could sing. Like, #SING! I imagine it to be like the right pair of jeans. When in doubt, you can put them on and you know you look good. (I’m still looking for these jeans, by the way.) So, what’s your song?
Seek opportunities to share your voice.
(This resolution will be pointed toward two different audiences – the first is for those who want to perform and the second is for those who believe they don’t.)
For the performer: When are you going to sing next in front of others? What is the exact date, location etc.? If you don’t know, I’d encourage you to figure this out ASAP. The reason? Well, it’s simple. Time keeps passing, and if you’re waiting for the right opportunity it may not arise. As artists, it is important to be patient with ourselves and impatient with the world. We know we have a gift worth sharing, and others may not. Therefore, we might have to convince them by actively seeking opportunities. Not sure where to start? Here are just a few off the top of my head…
- Open mics – great place to try things out – happening all the time.
- Faith communities – not a part of one? Consider joining. I doubt you’ll find a more accepting performance opportunity.
- Auditions – don’t worry about how right you are for the role or the show or?? Just try!
- Homes for the elderly – I take back what I said about the faith communities – this is your most appreciative audience.
- Family – duh. They’re JOB is to support you.
- Etc. etc.
Catch my drift? Just because you’re not signed to a label or cast in a show doesn’t mean you can’t perform. You can make it happen.
For the non-performer: Singing is fundamentally about sharing. It’s your voice. It is a tool for communication. I know that you might not aspire to be Beyonce, Michael Buble or Kanye. (Sorry, Kanye rhymed with the other two so I had to use him.) But, you like to sing and I bet if you were truly honest with yourself there is a little something, way down deep inside of you that aspires to sing for others. In what capacity? Well, that is up to you. Maybe it’s karaoke? Maybe it’s for your spouse, partner or family? Maybe it’s for some elderly folk who haven’t heard a good tune in a while? The truth is, it doesn’t really matter. It is about sharing and understanding that regardless of your self-perceived talent, there is value and reward in the act.
Finally, do people know you sing? Is singing trending in your life? I’ve been cheekily putting #SING all over everything this year (I even made some cute buttons) and although I don’t know that this trending topic will take over Twitter, I do mean it in all seriousness. If you love to sing, then my hope is that singing will be a topic that trends in your life. Tell people you #SING! Tell them you’ve been taking voice lessons. Give them the opportunity to engage you in this conversation. Don’t keep it to yourself, because you might find this is something that others love, too. I can’t tell you how many people in my day to day life find out what I do, and want to pursue this conversation with me, often revealing their desire to #SING, too! From my bank teller, to my Starbucks barista to my friends and family… I’m amazed at where this topic can go. I also find it introduces that accountability piece we discussed earlier. So, you love to #SING? I love to #SING, too! What are we doing about it?
Happy New Year, all! I’m wishing you all the best!