Self-denial is a form of stress management - HOWEVER, delusion needs to be addressed immediately!
Eventually, self-delusion will hit reality and the exposure will not be pretty.
What do you, the singer, need to consider if you are starting down that road of self-delusion?
Delusion wastes everybody's time. Delusion treats the craft and artistry of singing, and the pursuit of career with no respect. Delusion is self-inflicted due to a self-inflicted ignorance and stupidity. There is no room for it and no time for it. Delusion is self-inflicted and yet it seems to be imposed on business from all directions, and it has to stop.
There is no such thing as "instant" or "over-night success". These are media buzz words for ratings. IT DOES NOT EXIST. If you believe it, you are living in a dream world and need to stay right there!
Singing is not a trick or something you can learn how to do tomorrow. Let me share with you a phone call I received last week:
The message was left thus: "Hi, I hear you teach voice lessons. I am going to an audition tomorrow afternoon and I am supposed to sing. I want you to teach me how to sing tomorrow morning and teach me a song for this audition."
Please do not spit all over your screen and ruin your computer. Yes you read correctly. Yes, I am telling you the truth. Now, I could have just squeezed my eyes shut and shook my head and hit "delete" on my phone, but I decided it was time to address this ongoing issue...so I returned the call. It was serious. So was I.
My response was simply this: (paraphrased slightly of course) "Singing is not a trick. Singing is a discipline that has elements of mental, psychological, spiritual and physical balances. It demands commitment, dedication, passion and drive. It has purpose, not whim. I do not work with people who want to be "whim singers", I work with people who want to claim their artistry in their lives and discover the discipline and craft of singing fully. So if you decide this is what you want to pursue please feel free to call me again with a different message. In the meantime, don't waste your time, my time and the time of the people at the audition - including the other singers there who might be there for a completely different reason than you."
Silence. A sigh. A small "thank you, I didn't know that". And have a good day.
Now she knows. Now she has a chance to explore and discover or go another way. Either is FINE.
And speaking of wasting people's time...the delusion of thinking you can learn a song or even 16 bars the night before an audition is RIDICULOUS! What do I mean by "learn"? I am talking about discovering the entire song first - to explore the physicality of the song, the basics of the song - including CORRECT rhythms and notes, to find the resonance of your voice within the song, to find the stylistic balances in that resonance, to discover the motivation and characterization in the psyche of that character, to find how it projects through physical means and through vocal colour....and then finding a 16 bar cut that will exemplify that. And then REPRODUCE it in an audition room with AUTHENTICITY!
Can you do that the night before? Not with any respect of the craft nor the business. Yes, seriously.
If you don't realize you are wasting other people's time and wasting the business' time - you are delusional. If you are delusional, you are not about true craft. If you walk into an audition with no true preparation, you are wasting other's time. If you walk into an audition with no intention of seriousness - not right for the role/wouldn't take the role even if it was offered to you, "just for the experience" - you are wasting EVERYBODY'S TIME!!!
The true artists and true believers of craft are the ones that RESPECT THE PROCESS. If you are standing in a room waiting for an audition ON A WHIM, you are delusional. There are people there who are better at it, better deserving, and have worked for that opportunity; who NEED that opportunity; who will be dedicated to that opportunity!
You are wasting the time of every actor in that room who truly wants to be there, and NEEDS to be there; You are wasting the time of the CDs and Directors in the room; You are wasting the time of the business and what real actors/singers who pursue craft daily.
Your delusion will hit reality when you are found out. And when you are found out, you will never be taken seriously - even if your attitude changes. It'll be done.
If your physical instrument does not work, due to lack of technical behavior, singing poorly, overuse etc - you cannot expect to rework your voice and audition and get a job at the same time!!!! If you need your voice for a job and your voice does not function ultimately, this is working at cross purposes!!! Again, creating a physical instrument takes TIME. Recovering a physical instrument takes time and patience and dedication. Do you want to sing or don't you? And again, what if you get a job and fake your way through that audition? Can you actually DO that job or have you just lied to the casting table???? Delusion.
If your instrument does not function - you cannot do your job. You cannot do ANY job in a healthy way. You are required to get healthy FIRST and then pursue the job. How long will it take? It depends on the damage/issues and it depends on what the instrument can sustain. If building the voice is like any athletic activity, then it is going to take the time it takes with a carefully developed program to follow. If you want to be a body builder and you have never been to the gym, one or two sessions and then entering a competition is laughable. If you want to run a marathon and have never run a block and you think two training sessions and a new pair of Nikes will do it and then you enter a marathon and expect to get through is ridiculous! So it is with singing - a physical and athletic discipline. It takes time to create true and balanced behavior. It takes time to re-create true and balanced behavior when there has been damage or incorrect technique. If you don't take that time you will never find the optimum you! It is not the business' fault. It is not the teacher's fault. It is not the coach's fault. It is YOUR fault. It is YOUR instrument and YOUR time.
I sometimes hear "But I don't HAVE time". And my answer is simply this: "If you don't MAKE time, go do something else."
Building craft and technique is ABOUT TIME. There is no delusion in TIME. TIME AND EXPERIENCE is reality. Instant is delusion.
So if you feel you must protect yourself in your delusion, then be happy there. But don't take up space where others who are dealing with reality are more prepared to be. Don't waste the space of others; don't waste the time of others. If you pursue your delusion, eventually it's going to hit reality very HARD and you will shake your head and wonder how you got there, and sadly, may be very much alone. And sadly, when you threw away your time to pursue delusion, you will wake up with no time left.
Dare to stand for the truth of your instrument. Dare to FIND the truth of craft and discipline and artistic pursuit. Dare to be that person in the room who wastes NO ONE'S TIME - including their own - because their path is honest and truthful!
If you don't want that then let the ones who truly are willing to do whatever it takes, however much time it takes, take up that space. It's not your space if you are not willing to do what it takes to find the truth about what is expected. Don't waste your time, their time, our time. Go find something else to do that gives you a truth. Find your reality.
Susan Eichhorn Young
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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