One Voice Lesson and You are Ready for What?

One Voice Lesson and You are Ready for What?
Wednesday musings...

Why is the discipline of voice often disregarded?

Would it occur to you that an hour in the dance studio would make you a dancer? Or an hour in acting school would make you a Shakespearean classical actor?

Then why would one assume you would only need ONE voice lesson and be ready to take on the business?  Or never studying and expecting within a month to be ready to audition for a major international show?

These are some of the "interesting" experiences and questions as a singer and as a voice teacher we are often faced with.

One voice lesson isn't going to make you proficient.  Many years of study doesn't necessarily make you a singer either - but that's ANOTHER blog!

Voice study and development doesn't just happen.  Vocal ability isn't a trick.  Technique is not a circus act nor a party trick.

As my husband has always said "Can you summon your talent at will?"

No matter WHAT your discipline - your talent is a raw energy that needs harnessing.  That is discipline and craft.  One hour of study does not create discipline or craft.  One hour of study does not "make" anything.

If you believe one voice lesson is all you need - then I suggest you give your head a hard shake and perhaps find a job that you can learn in an hour.  Whatever that might be.

Real vocal discipline isn't a quick fix, or a band aid, or a trick, or a delusion.  Real craft is about time, and dedication, and practice, and discipline and research, and attention and consistency of study and practice.

So,  now that we have established that you will not learn to sing in one lesson - what WILL you learn? What COULD you find in that hour?

You MIGHT learn, in that hour,  whether you can work with with the teacher you stand in front of.  Trust your gut.  You MIGHT learn you are not going to get it all in an hour.  You MIGHT learn there is a myriad of muscular and athletic components to your instrument that need time and development.  You MIGHT learn what needs to be addressed FIRST for your instrument.  You MIGHT learn what needs to be focused on primarily, not what will be the final result.

"I want to be a singer"  might simply be met with "Great, let's introduce you to the beginning of a singer's body".

"I have to learn to sing" might simply be met with "Do you WANT to sing?"

That first hour might be a simple INTRODUCTION to a POSSIBILITY.  You MAY begin to realize that this is truly something that excites you and you want to pursue it;  You may begin to realize that singing is not a trick and it may take more time than you thought;  You may begin to realize that it is way too much discipline than you are willing or able to give it;  You may begin to realize that your goals may take a little more time and effort than you thought.

Whatever your realizations in that initial hour (and I hope you have some!)  there should be realizations!

Either you are ready, able, willing to dedicate yourself to this discipline or you are not.  Either you are ready to make the commitment and the step to explore your singing voice and the craft of singing, or you are not.  There is no gray or shading here.  You either DO it or you DO NOT.

In that first hour - you MIGHT discover that there is work to be done!  You should have a sense of what you need to begin with, how to initiate it,  what it will do and how it will benefit.  You should know WHY these things are important and WHAT it will do.

In that first hour - you and the teacher you stand in front of, MIGHT begin to discover vocabulary and what you know and what you do not know.  What your organic language seems to be;  What your physicality is able to do initially and what it might be able to discover over time and discipline.

The art of singing is a discovery and honing of craft that is athletic, organic, physical, acoustic,  and places demands on all levels of understanding and all levels of intelligence.  You will not find all of this in a hour, or a day, or a week.  In that first hour, it may be revealed to you that this discovery takes experience, time and attention!

In that first hour - you might get a sense of POSSIBILITY.  With time, discipline, patience, dedication and practice,  what might I find about ME?  about the craft of singing as it pertains to my physicality, my athleticism, my instrument?

In that first hour - you might get a sense of RESPONSIBILITY.  What is yours? What is the teacher's?

In that first hour - you might recognize there are issues to work out before the building of the voice can begin;

In that first hour - you simply might have walked in thinking you were going to be told how to sing, and now discover you are humbled and NEED to LEARN how to sing!

If you walk away from that hour energized and humbled, excited and inspired - then yes, begin that journey of discovery and see what your voice reveals as you begin the discipline of voice.

If you walk away from that hour thinking you don't need anything more - then you sadly just weren't listening.  And no, you still are not a singer.  You have not achieved a trick, a discipline, a craft nor an artistry.  You just wasted that hour.

Discipline of craft - singing, dancing, acting - EVEN LIFE - shows us that the more we study, the more we discover, the more we develop the more we realize that there is so much MORE to learn!

If you don't take that discipline into EACH aspect of your life - you will waste a lot more than an hour...

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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