Thursday evening musings, as I re-emerge into the land of the living out of the land of mucus and fever...hope everybody is looking after themselves out there!!
I've heard this line in some form or other repeatedly. "Please fix my voice", "I need to find somebody to fix my voice", "can you fix my voice?"
It occurred to me this week, in my fever-induced state (yes, I am still thinking about singing even then..) how this question, query and statement is actually standing in the way of the singer getting the help they need.
First and foremost - nobody can do the work, but YOU. The statement actually takes YOU the singer out of the equation and leaves you victim and makes the responsibility of success or failure, completely in the hands of somebody else. WRONG.
Your success, and your failure, is YOURS.
What needs "fixing"? You must determine that either by yourself, or with the help of someone with the authority and knowledge. Perhaps you aren't sure what needs work, but you know something isn't working! That is a start! When you are dealing with a specific concern, lead with that, in finding a teacher who can address if fully. You may find what you thought was a specificity is simply a by-product of something else that the teacher is privy to;
Do not ask for magic bullets, magical visualizations, immediate results! Be able to explain what you are dealing with as best you can, and ask for expertise to riddle it out and discover why and what to do now.
I always tell my students that THEY DO THE WORK. Their development and success is THEIRS. I am there to provide the eyes, ears and expertise to guide them, but I cannot do their work. They must develop the tools in which to translate and physicalize and make it muscular and technical behavior.
If you are looking for somebody to "fix" you - I can almost guarantee you, that will never happen. Even if you happen to meet somebody who could actually help, you won't realize the help, because you haven't learned to ask the right questions!!
Nobody can fix anything about you! YOU and ONLY YOU can do the work!!
By assuming somebody else can "fix" you leaves you open and vulnerable to wander from teacher to teacher aimlessly gaining frustration and losing time and money and the will to discover your voice!
What are you needing to "fix"? If you know, then you seek out the person that understands that and is willing to work WITH you to discover how to do just that. If you are wishy-washy and needy, you become your own victim. STOP THAT!!
Your voice is YOURS. You must claim it, and everything that comes with it; Including the good the bad and the ugly. You must be willing to see truly where you are to know how you got there and how you move forward into a more positive and usable instrument! Waiting for a "fix" is self-victimization, excuse-land and does not promote a mature forward moving artist!!
How do you fix your instrument? YOU CLAIM IT. IT IS YOURS!!! Quit pretending, and find out how it works! Find out what isn't working and why. And then get to work!!! The work begins with YOU and your discovery of self. Then it takes time to research and find a teacher that will work with you and recognizes your needs and frustrations. A teacher must be able to hear you where you stand and give you a solid appraisal with definite goals in mind. Life is too short for "Let's just sing and see what happens". Find somebody who HEARS you. Find somebody who CHALLENGES you to discover what you need and who will create a course of study that will EMPOWER you and give you knowledge and practical physical work to create the behavior for your instrument to behave!!
This is work. Finding the right teacher for that time isn't always easy. Nobody said it would be easy. If it is important to you, you will seize it and find it!
Then DO THE WORK. Whatever it takes, however long it takes. COMMIT TO IT if it is what is important to you.
By claiming the work, you claim the results. You cannot blame anybody, including yourself. You make CHOICES. You make a choice, you follow that choice to its logical end, and then see the results - or make another choice.
If you come to me and say "I need you to fix my voice" - I am going to hesitate, and may recommend a psychologist is more appropriate. If you come to me and say " I need to fix my voice - can you help me find the way? This is what I think is going on..." NOW we can WORK!
CLAIM IT ALL!!!! Let it lead you to the truth. Don't let your excuses misguide your discoveries. You find it, you fix it, you claim it!
Susan Eichhorn Young
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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