Do not wait to strike until the iron is hot but make it hot by striking. –William B. Sprague
I went back to voice lessons this week. I went solo this time, and for days leading up to it was a nervous wreck. I’m not great (yet), but Dan Comstock’s studio is a safe place to learn and explore. He always finds something his students are doing right, and compliments them on that rather than pointing out what they’re doing wrong. It is far easier to build on what the student is already doing than to destroy that progress by pointing out what they’re not.
I went in with two new country songs. This isn’t even “my type” of music, except it is; both songs tell stories and have strong, women singers. I’m singing Taylor Swift’s “Mean,” but the focus is going to be on this song by The Band Perry.
I was pretty terrible the first time, but Dan found some positives and we ran with those. We worked on my breathing. Like a lot of people, I hold my breath when focusing intently on something. This doesn’t work with anything that isn’t underwater, and it really doesn’t work with singing.
Breathing is both involuntary and voluntary. When we’re asleep it is involuntary, and when we’re awake it is both. Regardless, it is more of a reflex activity than one based on will. If we think about breathing we can slow or quicken the pace, but it continues to happen even—and especially—if we stop thinking. Amazing.
I started to overthink the sounds coming from my instrument (me) and Dan could tell. We stopped and he gave me the best advice of the day/week/year/life:
You can’t sing the next line if you’re still worrying about the last one.
Thank You, Dan, for always knowing what to say.