Journal: Leave your baggage at the door. - Jeanne Nemcek

November 12, 2014


Davin, here! I’m excited to introduce you to a new monthly blog series written by our friend and SINGtern, Jeanne Nemcek. Jeanne, a graphic designer and illustrator (this picture above is hers!) is such a huge help to the studio and in exchange, I trade her voice lessons! I asked her if she would begin writing monthly about her personal experience with singing and learning more about her voice through voice lessons. My hope is that others will be able to relate to her story and her honest candor about the challenges and joys of singing. Please show her support by commenting below! Now, on to Jeanne…

I began singing years ago in a bluegrass and country trio. This eventually lead to cofounding a folk/rock band performing original compositions. When that dissolved I dabbled in jazz vocal workshops and even joined a women’s choir briefly, very briefly. Then my singing and performing gradually faded away. No grand explanation why, it just happened.

Fast forward to this past summer. As a freelance illustrator and graphic designer I compulsively check a variety of job postings with the goal of meeting new clients. Through one of my daily searches I came across an ad seeking an intern for a voice studio in the Fine Arts building downtown. This instantly clicked for me because it was looking for someone interested in helping with various studio business combined with social media and if I knew how to read music, that was a big plus. Bingo. A firm believer in kismet I immediately sent off a note of interest with my resume. Before the end of the day I heard back from Davin and we set up a meeting.

Thus began a working relationship that continues today and includes the most humbling part of my creative journey, weekly voice lessons. I say humbling because being untrained and forever curious what my voice could actually do given proper instruction I was now faced with the responsibility of finding out. Not only that, I would have to face some cumbersome emotional baggage I’d been dragging around for much too long. Having had a bit of mild success with the band followed by my unexplained long absence from the scene only made the concept of getting behind a microphone again feel daunting. The longer I put it off, the larger it became an obstacle to somehow conquer. Bottom line, there is really no space for blame anymore, life happens and I just had to find a way to move onto what I really wanted, to sing.

Doing what is second nature is great but having the confidence to depend on it being ready and waiting is priceless and that is what lessons provide for me. I enjoy practicing, doing scales and pushing myself to achieve more at each lesson. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to reach through the ceiling of what you thought was your highest note or smoothing out the break just a little bit more. Of course, all of this requires a patient, encouraging teacher that not only challenges you but also respects your history and hang-ups, sees through them and ultimately makes you do the same. Getting to know Davin as a professional and a friend has expanded not only my appreciation of all genres of music but taught me the importance of listening to my natural instincts and going for it. Combined with the talents of Missy and Kathryn, the studio is a powerhouse of creative spirit and knowledge. It’s a wonderful group to be part of and learn from.

I just returned from a good lesson today and feeling in the right place for the moment but I realize it’s temporary and with the next lesson I’ll get nudged out of my comfort zone once again. But honestly, that’s why I’m here in the first place and what can be better than that?

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