Friday, July 26, 2019
There are some dangerous words. They look innocuous. They aren’t. They are dangerous and we need to not pretend otherwise. Words which we might say are opposites aren’t really. The idea of “opposite” or “dichotomous” is based on perception, interpretation, evaluation, and the significance which you, yes you, assign something.
What does this have to do with singing? Everything. Why? If the game of golf is 99% mental or even 90%, then it would stand to reason that the art of singing would be in the high 90th percentile, also. The skill involved in singing does involve the physical, but hopefully, it is your mind which is driving that singing machine.
This is both good and bad. The good part is that you have the potential of control and of learning everything you need to know, to be the best singer who has ever lived. It is as bold of a statement as you wish it to be. What you don’t know is murdering your singing. As if that is not bad enough, you are working harder to stop yourself than you are to improve yourself. A goal with excuses is like driving down the road with one foot on the gas and the other pushing on the brake pedal. This is worse than simply standing in your own way.
I am the biggest liar I know, but I have accidentally discovered something. “Because”. When the word because is preceded with “I cannot”, it becomes the setup for the joke. The punchline is coming. Get ready to laugh. I cannot be a great singer because ________________. I did not start early enough. I did not practice enough. I have no talent. I have no discipline. I know nothing about music. My father will kill me. My wife will decapitate me. My dog peed on the carpet. I cannot afford lessons.
I cannot, cannot, cannot… Excuses? Justifications? Rationalizations? Bull? Yes. One of the most common lies I have told myself is that I am not good enough. Why did I get hired to sing in a show in Las Vegas and was never fired from it? Someone thought I was good enough. 1,100 people filling that showroom did an odd thing every single time I sang. They smacked the palms of their hands together. What were they thinking? They didn’t agree with my idea that I wasn’t good enough. Maybe that’s good, but how did I get onto that stage? Deep down, I knew I was better than I needed to be. It must be true because I was there, and I have a video of myself to prove it.
Forget about not saying “cannot”. Do something about the word which follows the “cannot”: “because”. Let’s break that word in two. What does that give us? Be cause. What if it were an order that you give yourself? Be the cause of your life, not someone who is in apathy, who does nothing. It is so easy to be the opposite of “cause”: be “effect”. Is it really the opposite, though? For now, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that no one is going to take the wheel of the car you are driving through life. You’re in the driver’s seat!
The word, “because,” is a setup. It is the joke. The joke is on you! It is not a funny joke and this is not a funny situation. We are living in a world which is influenced far too much by propaganda, ignorance, apathy, and hatred. This cowardly new world would have you to believe that only opposites exist and that gradients are only to be found in your local paint store. This has been set up to not only control you, but also to use a principle of kung fu, which is to use your own momentum against you and to keep you in a state of quiet compliance. There is a game of opposites. I say good and you say bad. I say day and you say night. I say right and you say left (or wrong). There are many shades of white and gray on the way to the absence o reflective color that we call black. So, it’s not all black and white and, as long as we think that way, incremental and continual improvement will never occur if you think such things do not even exist. You have been and are being played against yourself and you may feel like you’re drowning and that it’s all hopeless. It isn’t hopeless until you have absolutely quit. Is this a conspiracy theory? Something tells me that you know it is not.
Whether or not you think you are affected by the current state of society is of no matter, if you are not affected by it as an artist. Being cognizant of something that you had nothing to do with, might just free you up enough to think for yourself. When you can think for yourself, you can see that the picture goes deeper and wider and taller than the one painted for you on the news. What you put in your mind may take up residence there and have a bad effect or a good effect, depending on what it is. You can’t be positive all day every day. It’s impossible. Batteries have a positive side, but also a negative. Supposedly the electrons flow from negative to positive. You might try being like an electron when you feel negative and move over to the positive side and don’t get stuck in the middle.
Blackboards (remember those?) have erasers. Computers have a delete key. Software can be installed or uninstalled. If your mental software is outdated or corrupted, uninstall it. Get a new program which works. How can you tell? Does it move you toward your goal, or away from your goal? You do need a balance in life but not every diversion is worth your time. Recreation is necessary. Re-creation. Making yourself new or better is recreating. So, mix metaphors if you like. Make whatever analogies you like which serve you and your purpose and goal. Remember the power of “because”. “Why? Because we like you.” – from the old Mickey Mouse Club, when it was still politically correct to like someone.
Posted by Chuck Stewart, Vocal Coach at 10:21 AM