I love grass. I love the soft, fluffy bermuda grass that you can walk on and it feels like walking on cotton. We have some lovely Bermuda grass in our yard. But we also have all sorts of other things growing that are less desirable and muck up the look of our wonderful Bermuda grass. When my family went on vacation for a week, the grass got neglected and everything was overgrown and out of control. It was sad. But there was only one way to take care of it: work on it. The work was hard. It took me and my oldest daughter 2 days to mow and trim all of the grass and weeds that had overgrown, but we did it. It was hard mowing in the hot sun. We got tired and we wanted to quit, but we kept going. We kept going through mower problems and trimmer batteries dying and wet grass. We mowed around garden planters and trimmed close to the fence until we got the grass back to a manageable state. Then we played in the yard and enjoyed the fruits of our labors and vowed never to let it get back to that state again.
“But what does this have to do with singing?” You might ask. Well, I will tell you.
Voices, like grass, come in many different varieties and make many different sounds. We all have our own ideal, unique sound-a Bermuda grass of sorts; however, there are all kinds of other sounds that we make, too. On our journey to the Bermuda grass of our sound, we often make sounds that are undesirable. They don’t necessarily muck up our voice, but they muddy our resolve. They are discouraging and make us want to not work at singing. Then, before we know it, we have taken a vocal vacation and we find that our progress has stalled. And, like grass, there is only one way to take care of it: work on it.
Vocal training is hard work. We start out with raw talent and then realize that it can only take us so far. So, we embark on this journey to make more of this raw material. But learning to sing is like learning a sport and it takes time. There are muscles that need to be discovered and strengthened; a singer’s range (how high and low they can sing) should be discovered and then the strengths and weaknesses of that range made clear; then there is learning new music and performing. All of these things can be both frustrating and exciting.
During this time, singers often get frustrated. We have to learn to sing through illness and injury. We sometimes have to sing in the hot sun or under hot lights. We have to deal with mics that don’t work or backing tracks that lag because of poor connection. We have to learn to sing past vocal static and squeaking and cracking. The work is hard and sometimes we want to quit, but our love of singing keeps us going. Then, when we have grown and the music is learned and our voices are in a manageable state, we stand up and enjoy the fruits of our labor and share it with the rest of the world.
Happy singing songbirds!