Just finished three weeks of vocal/singing lessons. Terrifying.
The lineup of songs includes:
1. Row your Boat
2. Father John (Frere Jacques)
3. London Bridge
4. My chosen song – Oceans by Hillsong United
I somewhat made it through these four. Though not comfortably. But compared to my other sessions, I can finally hear myself now without hiding behind the sound of the piano keys and my instructors voice.
The power of “YET” helped me here today.
I couldn’t handle singing London Bridge. I heard the song, I heard the keys, I heard my instructor and I heard in my head how the song was SUPPOSED to sound.
But then I heard myself.
I sounded AWFUL.
I couldn’t match the note, I couldn’t project, I couldn’t hit the low notes and I couldn’t read the music on the sheet.
I just stopped singing. I was so frustrated. And I felt embarrassed and shamed. I couldn’t take it.
I folded my arms like a child and looked at my instructor and pouted.
“I don’t want to sing this anymore.”
“That’s alright. If you’re uncomfortable we can stop but you don’t sound that bad.”
“Well I feel like I sound AWFUL”
“Well you have to practice. You’re not there YET. You CAN’T GET it on the first try. You’re NOT perfect. No one is. So get that out of your head.”
And there was that word. Yet. So powerful. It stopped me dead in my tracks. My fear of failure (not the fear of singing mind you) was staring at me in the face.
Wasn’t I just writing about how YET was the magical word to transform our perspective? Ironically here I was, in the middle of my singing class punishing myself for NOT being perfect and for not following my own creed. If that’s not considered talking out of both sides of your mouth, then I don’t know what is.
I repeated back to him “I’m not there yet on this song.”
He said, “Well then sing it knowing you will sing it badly and then go home and practice.”
That was the slice of humble pie I needed to hear today.
We moved onto my chosen song “Oceans.” He bought me the sheet music so that I could practice with the piano at home as well.
I sang the ENTIRE song (and it’s a long song). That was a first.
And I was so exhausted when I was done. I probably sounded terrible and there were probably a few blown ear drums in the neighborhood. But at that point, I didn’t care that I sounded AWFUL. I cared that I finished it. Without squealing, without withering, without fearing the sound of my voice.
So now I am asking myself…am I afraid of singing or am I afraid of failing at singing?
Because turns out, I’m still standing. And I’m fine. Singing badly didn’t ruin me…
Ask me again next week.