(or, as Dot says, “Own your tone!”)
Today I was walking my little dog, Febi, down a sunny sidewalk and thinking about the things I wanted to do today and the kind of energy I wanted to be in, but I knew all the while I wasn’t there, because I was thinking about the annoying, unresolved events the previous day had brought me. Even though thinking about all that was quite bothersome to my spirit, I couldn’t really find the self-discipline to stop!
She was so free, just singing—loud enough for me to hear, but she didn’t even care. She just owned her energy. She chose the right to sing in public and enjoy herself! I don’t even remember what notes she sang, or if it was in tune, but it actually brought me a lot of joy. I remember thinking, “Oh, if all of my students could only be that free”—thinking particularly of a few shy ones.
Then I heard something—it was a happy lady singing at a very audible volume, a song in Spanish, as she was briskly walking alone down the street, holding up a little red umbrella to shield the rays of the radiant sun.
The rules we create for ourselves can be so rigid sometimes, for no good reason, and really limit our expression. Here this lady was, just singing because she felt like it. She was free. Then it dawned on me to ask myself: “What rules do I have? Do I feel free to sing now?” I decided, “Why not?” I made the choice! I started just resonating and walking (like I have assigned many of my students to do, in order to get present and ‘own their energy’), which is usually easier to do when you’ve got an ipod in your ear!
Even though I had nothing to sing along to, I just began singing to the music I was creating in my head. I felt good, more alive and free; more of my own energy flowing through my body. Suddenly I recognized that the stuff I was previously worrying about was gone. I was glad that lady, strutting down the street chose to own her energy—“Energy” is that underlying feeling or vibe people give off when you’re around them—because that light in her made me want to own mine. It helped me to just be in alignment with the joy that “vibed” off of her. And I bet she had no idea of the impact that her singing had on me—if she even noticed me! Many times, we never know how we impact others, but we’re always giving out a signal—whether we realize it or not.
Then I really started PROCESSING...
“What if...every person on this earth took responsibility for embodying their own energy at all times? NOT projecting how they wanted somebody else to feel about them, but choosing the feeling they wanted to embody in that moment?”
That lady wasn’t trying to change me or influence how I felt. She was just being herself and it affected me in a positive way, anyway! How cool is that?
Before singers sing a song, we’re supposed to CHOSE how we want to feel (subtext) and just embody that energy in the PRESENT moment. How about in real life?
We’ve all made the simple mistake of doing the opposite. We anticipate what people will think of us if...or wish they would respond a certain way to whatever rules we have created for ourselves. At times, we even fail to communicate properly, assuming their set of rules is our set of rules.
For example, if we have a strong rule that “talking to yourself in public means you are crazy,” then we probably won’t do it in public. (But let’s admit it people, everybody knows that WE ALL TALK TO OURSELVES SOMETIMES so why pretend? It’s just “thinking out loud.” Smile.) When we see someone else talk to themselves in public, we might even judge or criticize them, because they’re not following our rules.
As a vocal coach, I’ve realized that the rules people create in singing, are usually the same ones they create in life. In other words, if you’re really hard on yourself as a singer and expect perfection in every note, you probably expect that in real life, too, from yourself and others—and maybe your high expectations of self have even stopped you from singing!
We singers are that vulnerable group of people who very easily fall into the trap of caring about what other people think and forgetting to “own” what we think. After all, we are putting our heart on our sleeves, sharing the most vulnerable part of who we are—“our voice” (which is connected to our heart and soul) with the world, so wouldn’t it be normal to want some sort of approval; or to care about what people are going to do with what we put out there?
Singers tell me, “I want to write for myself, but I want people to buy it! I have to care what they think!”
Yeah. That’s fair…but how could we learn to “own our energy” as a singer? How could just embodying the feeling we wish to create in life, help us feel more powerful?
FIND out how SINGING MAKES YOUR ENERGY BIGGER!!