WHAT CAUSES HAPPINESS? - for singers.
I have a very personal answer to that question.
I've been singing "seriously" for more than 25 years. Many of my early years of training were spent in fury and frustration about my voice's refusal to do exactly what I wanted it to do at any given time.
My close friend, the singer, Beverly McGuire (who is also a remarkable singing teacher), can attest to the sad fact that more than once in her presence I slammed down the lid of the piano in despair and threw my sheet music out of the 3rd-story window of the rehearsal room in the university where we studied.
Such was my lack of patience (and happiness) regarding high notes that did not spin and long phrases that would not flow. It took me a long time to find an attitude that allowed me to calm down and grow as a singer.
I am still evolving as a human being - who also happens to sing. But I have lived enough years to be able to "look back" and gather some answers to the question, "What causes happiness - especially for singers?"
Here are a few hard-won pieces of happiness wisdom:
• As my technique gradually improved and I was able to do more of what I wanted with the music - I felt increasingly happy.
• As I chose better music - that is: meaningful songs that spoke to and about the things, issues, and feelings that I believed in, I grew more passionate in my singing. And that passion felt like happiness to me.
• When I had the chance to sing those carefully chosen (or written) songs to a receptive audience, I felt real joy - a richer form of happiness.
• And as the years went by, and I was able to work with students of singing, I felt great happiness in seeing them "find" their voices. I still take great pleasure in teaching. And in singing. And in writing songs.
Looking back now, I realize that happiness was always there for me to experience, even in the early days of singing. I bound myself up with frustration when there was so much in my musical life to be happy about.
These days, I suggest to my students that they find happiness in their vocal journey. I encourage them to "Make plans. Have goals. Dream big dreams! But take your greatest pleasure in the day to day unfolding of your expressive and deeply unique voice."
And keeping to the theme of "what causes happiness...." HERE IS A SONG that I am working on that was recorded in an intimate home concert. It's called "You Take My Breath Away" written by the fine songwriter, Claire Hamill. It expresses the great happiness that comes with loving and feel loved in return.
I WISH YOU GREAT HAPPINESS IN SINGING!
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