Monday, July 28, 2014

Stop Judging Yourself

     We are our own worst critics.  Fellow artists can probably identify with that statement.  The arts have enough criticism, so why do we need to do it to ourselves?  I don't mean constructive criticism.  I mean destructive criticism like you suck, that sucked,  that sounded like crap, you don't belong in this business etc... You get the picture.  I already know that destructive criticism is what it is, destructive and a waste of time.  However, I felt inspired to write this because I have been playing my new guitar for hours on end and just enjoying myself.  When I practice singing I start going into serious mode and can definitely judge myself without mercy.  When you start doing that
it is important to evaluate whether you would even say such things to your worst enemies.  I know I wouldn't say that stuff to my worst enemy or any of my students.  Playing the guitar is not what I do professionally.  However, it is worth mentioning here because I can practice it for hours and hours and never get tired or bored with it because I don't have the negative dialogue going on while I'm practicing.  Practicing singing and learning my texts can be the same way.  I don't see why not.  Judging myself is something I deal with a lot.  It's destructive and I find it very hard to overcome.  When I was playing the guitar earlier I was actually complementing myself for getting better and my inward critic was gone.  So I figured why can't I practice singing that way?

    Constructive criticism and judgement are different things in my opinion.  I am not judging my students when I give them constructive criticism.  I know also that my teacher doesn't judge me.  He just tells me what needs to be addressed.  Constructive criticism helps solve the issues at hand.  Judgement does not.  The key is to be present and focus on what you're doing.  If the negative judgment comes in then go back to the task at hand.  If you're really focused on your breath, what the character is saying, who you're talking to etc...who the hell has time for the negative judgement?  The judging takes away from the task at hand.  Realizing that I am my own worst enemy when I'm
singing is hard to swallow, but it's true.  The important thing is to stop the stinking negative judgment because it doesn't have to be like that.  All the judging is a good way to think your way out of taking risks.  Here's a simple fact that will bring this concept home.  Why not be grateful that you can sing in the first place?  Something could happen that could change that such as an illness, or accident.  Also think of how many people would love to be able to sing who cannot.  Leonard Bernstein longed for the gift to be able to sing.

       My objective in this post was to bring home the fact that negative judgement is a big waste of energy.  When I'm not judging myself I have so much more energy.  I used the example of practicing the guitar because I have been practicing it for hours a day and still have energy afterwards.  I feel at peace.  Singing can be the same way.  When I practice the guitar I can take the pressure off myself.  Sometimes when I practice singing I feel exhausted in like 10 minutes because of all the inner critic crap.  My whole point of this post is that it doesn't have to be like that.  I hope this blog post helps someone.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New Blog Post

It's been a long time since I blogged.  First of all, parents please stop leaving kids in hot cars.  Leaving kids or animals in hot cars is dangerous and might kill them.  I still hear of people leaving kids in a hot car even in wake of the hot car case taking place in Georgia.  The latest one I heard of today involved a woman leaving kids in the car while she was getting a haircut.  Why not bring the kids in the salon, or leave them with a sitter?  Good Samaritans broke the windows open with a hammer.  This was in Texas I believe, and it's hot there to put it mildy.  Come on.  This story pissed me off.  Especially since we have the case in Georgia going on.  Plus it seems like basic common sense to me to not leave kids or animals in a hot car.
    I also wanted to write this post to keep people updated on things.  It's been a quiet few weeks, and I don't mind that all.  I've even relaxing, exercising, eating well, continuing to work on my voice etc...  It's nice to have some breathing room for a while.  At first I was thrown off by the lack of structure, but I started re-reading Dale Carnegie's book "How to stop worrying and start living" and that has changed things.  It's important to keep busy, let go of past mistakes and change for the good.  I'm trying my best to do all those things.  Later this summer I will be in beautiful upstate NY at the Bard Music Festival at Bard College.  We are performing lots of works by Schubert and his contemporaries.  It should be a cool experience like last years festival was.  The level of musicianship is always very high at this festival.  A lot of the people involved are very talented and have done very interesting things in their lives.
  So what else?  I cannot believe how hard it is raining outside right now.  Wow!  I figured I would write more since I am currently in my car waiting for this monsoon to slow down.  It's good to have the rain because we absolutely need it.  Now it's ten minutes later and it's not raining anymore.  Okay, I get it.  Anyway, I think I'll end this here.  I'm going to play my guitar, and practice my audition rep. More opera related posts to come.  I figured I would make this one non opera.  It's good to mix it up a bit.