Growing Pains

Hello comrades! Let’s talk about “growing pains”.

Sometimes there is a season for something really cool in your professional life, and then a few years later, it’s not so sizzling anymore. I think this can be due to growth, and not to a fault of the thing that we were originally excited about. Examples from my own life and then riff away, friends:

When I tried to find my voice again after my long mute period, I gravitated to Speech Level Singing (SLS) because it was so related to my comfort zone, speech. Then I started doing a lot of reading and exploring, and yearning to get classical chops (back), which led me to Cornelius Reid’s functional approach, which I studied intensely for over four years. That propelled my singing and teaching to a new place. I took the Somatic Voicework (SVW) courses and saw the functional stuff applied to every genre you can think of.

I dabbled for a year in Institute for Vocal Advancement (IVA), which had more rigorous testing of teachers, which I felt was lacking in the previous systems I had studied. I saw that while the training had a great structure, the content was quite similar to SLS, and that wasn’t quite what I needed.

Then I studied with a more “traditional” classical teacher, George Gibson, who helped me make more sense of the 20th century traditions of resonance and breath. Then I found and began studying with David Jones, who has the most amazing ears and diagnostics I have experienced yet.

Eventually, I realized that I was probably done joining any of the “methods”. All of my previous teachers could still teach me a thing or two, but their “systems” don’t contain everything I need to sing and teach with. A few years ago I wondered if I just have a bad attention span, but now I realize that I’m just too hybridized to retreat into one particular “system” (or one school, publisher, academy, system, branch of science, genre of music, etc. ad nauseum).

What are your growing pains? I think sometimes we are rising into our Fateful Fabulousness and just don’t fit into boxes anymore. And shouldn’t that be wonderful and not just stressful?

If you enjoy this blog, consider grabbing a copy of Sane Singing: A Guide to Vocal Progress, available in print and ebook!

One Reply to “Growing Pains”

  1. Brian, I think this is called a life in the arts. It is to be expected. Each milestone can only serve if it is not a huge rock we pick up and carry in a backpack. In my studio, I am not the only voice teacher or mentor many of my students work with. The more ‘professional’ someone is, the more they diversify who they work with, and the more boulders they discard along the way.

    Just my two cents. If we never grow out from our teachers, the teaching is not liberating us.

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