I took a singing lesson last week. I was painting a woman who explained to me that she started taking lessons from an 82-year-old man who claims ‘he can teach anyone to sing’. I took this as a personal challenge. I have always sung – in the shower, in the car, in the studio, and on one inebriated occasion, at a karaoke bar. Generally, I reserve this expressive medium for when I am alone, or when I’m so emotional that I blast Carole King in the living room and sing along as my dear sweet family patiently wanders off.
I have not always been a reclusive singer. When I was young I was sure I would be the next Stevie Nicks. Repeated pleas for silence from my siblings eventually caused me to reconsider career paths. They were not being cruel. They were right. I had a bold voice with no sense of ….???? I never really knew, actually, except that it was apparently unpleasant.
I called Bob and offered him the challenge of his career. He accepted. While, I am not singing from rooftops just yet, at lease I now understand why I sound so bad. It’s called pitch, and as a painter, I could relate it to value. There is a high and a low, a light and a dark, and everything in between needs to relate – or it sounds and looks…unpleasant. This is basic, I know, but for me… a tardy epiphany.
He continued. “Don’t push.” I scrunched my face…Hugh? “You don’t have to ‘push’ out your voice. You can just ‘let’ it out,” he said. He stated that I likely have a tenacious personality that is accustomed to fighting for what it wants. HUMMMM??…who told him?, I thought. “Your speaking voice has the same ‘push’ to it,” he said, “and by adjusting the ‘push’ to a ‘let’, you will not only improve your voice, but your life.”
Wow, all that for 40 bucks?!
Sensing my doubt, he asked if I ever get so frustrated with my canvases that I slash them when they are not going my way. Bewildered, I shook my head. “Noooooo, never….my mind is never in that state when I paint. Paint is what takes that state away. If it doesn’t work I just wipe it out and paint something else,” I explained.
AHHHH!!! He said excitedly, shaking his finger at me. “Sing like you paint then! Speak like you paint! Live like you paint! Do it, and you will be amazed, and you will be happy.”
Yes, all that for $40 bucks.