Living out loud
Have we lost our minds? Maybe. Have we lost our privacy? Yes, but we were complicit in the act. Is there value in privacy? More than you might guess. Are the most private people the ones who have the most to hide? Sometimes. I knew of one in Las Vegas who spoke in whispers, wore ten-thousand-dollar suits and drove a brand-new Mercedes. His very livelihood was dependent upon his anonymity, but he was known by a few, including me. Privacy vs living out loud. Are there benefits of privacy? There are.
I recently saw two articles for singers about how to handle criticism. I’ve written about it myself. It can be annoying, distracting, or even devastating to be criticized, especially if you are working hard to improve your singing.
Growing up, for me, there was no internet and there were no computers or cell phones. Therefore, there was no Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit, Quora, or anything which has popped up in the parallel universe of the internet. Socializing was done in person and in groups. There were athletic teams, band. chorus, cheerleaders, Thespians, and cliques who had no names. There were religious organizations, churches, synagogues, YMCA, boy and girl scouts, brownies and cub scouts, 4-H, and others. They’re still around. We did have telephones with wires going to the walls and without a long cord, you didn’t get too far, and you didn’t always have privacy, especially on the cheaper “party lines”, as they were called. Eavesdroppers would sometimes pick up and listen. You’d hear that click when they picked up the receiver. It was considered bad manners or rude. There are things you just didn’t want others to know about.
Practice in private! Musicians in Las Vegas would sometimes say they needed to woodshed, or simply “shed”, meaning go out to the woodshed and practice. I found out that the origin of that was so that they could practice in private and get out all the bad stuff where no one could hear it. The last thing you need is criticism. You need help. You need skill. You need knowledge. You don’t need criticism. People who say you do are not artists. An artist understands that you must have time and space and safety to grow and to improve.
When I was growing up from the age of nine, I took my trombone and closed the door. It is the loudest instrument in the orchestra and my first sounds on it were more noise than music. That changed but the habit of closing that door afforded me the privacy that is vital.
Don’t Share Too Soon
Don’t perform in front of others unless you have a sick need of criticism. Most people don’t know enough about what you’re doing, to tell you anything useful as to how to improve. You have enough negative stuff in your own mind, that you don’t need more added to it unless you are looking for the reason, the justification, or the rationalization to support your wanting to quit because you have no perseverance or you are not a true artist and have come to that realization. OR, maybe you are lazy. Maybe you have no patience or have underestimated the time and effort needed to be the artist you want to be. Don’t add others’ negativity to your own. It will slow you down and maybe destroy your dreams and goals. You also can’t blame them. They have plenty of their own failed goals and dreams. Because of this, it is not safe to share with the fools club of failures.
Do Not Live Out Loud (until you’re very good) !
Chuck Stewart, Vocal Coach
Chuck Stewart, Vocal Coach