In music, one never stops learning. There’s always a technique to hone, a song to better interpret, and more repertoire to wrap our arms around.
It’s impossible to significantly grow as a singer – or really, in whatever we do - without taking risks. Admittedly, I haven’t always been the riskiest risk taker. I suppose for me I’ve become more so with life experience. And as a great friend reminded me not too long ago, looking back will drive you crazy, so best focus on what’s in front. Good advice.
The other day, after a great show, a sweet elderly gentleman wanted to talk with me about my background and how I got started in music. He was amazed when I admitted that yes, I do get nervous. And he was surprised when I told him that yes, I continue to study and that even the greats, the legends, and the icons do, too. I explained that fine singing doesn’t just happen - that sure, it could, but to do it well takes work – years of it. And actually, the work never stops. The work is also part of the fun. And risks are part of the exhilaration – the fear of falling, but the rush when it pays off.
In my view, great singing isn’t just about the voice but more importantly, the interpretation of the song. It’s really at the heart of what we try to do – to communicate with the audience truthfully and sincerely. A singer can have the greatest voice and technique in the world, but if there’s nothing deeper than what’s on the page, then the story isn’t being fully told.
For the last couple of years I’ve wanted to enroll in a workshop, an intensive, or class that will offer a new approach, new tools, and new inspiration. I’m ready to step out of my zone, take more risks and explore new paths. So, I’m heading to Chicago in March for a four-day song interpretation workshop taught by Tony Award winner Betty Buckley.
Beyond what I know of her as a performer – I’ve been following Ms. Buckley since I was a teen - I’ve heard and read great things about her as a teacher. And while there’s an element of nerves, I’m looking forward to leaving my day-to-day routine behind for a few days and focus solely on my growth as an artist - taking some risks that I know I need to take. I can’t wait to dig in and get to work.
I’ll keep you posted on what I learn.
Posted by Mary.