Sticking your neck out

A few years ago, I started a YouTube channel. I posted a couple of videos, thinking I’d get into it, but I soon found myself up against my own limitations. The videos were too careful, too proper for what I really wanted to say. What I really wanted to do seemed risky. I have had plenty of critical pushback and even some hate mail for things I have written online in the spirit of honesty. I’ve said a few things that I knew were controversial, while other times the reactions have surprised me. All of this has been through writing – here on the blog and in online discussion groups. I didn’t have the fortitude to be as strong in a video as in my writing.

turtle in shell

In the last year I have been wondering what to do with the channel. If I keep up a regular YouTube presence, what is my angle? Do I try to teach singing? Do I talk about singers and/or teachers? Do I criticize? Do I promote products? Can I be interesting? Can I take the heat, if there is any?

I searched for a long time to try to find an online community where I could speak as freely as I wanted to. Where I could use naughty words, even! There are online places where I have to contain myself and be very diplomatic, but I am glad to have a couple of places where I can let loose. Being a voice teacher can become a very perfectionistic, uptight, lonely profession if you allow that. Having a collegial place to unwind is wonderful and good for my mental well-being.

But back to YouTube. I got the idea to create an alter ego (Kurt) to experiment with being more brash. I posted a couple of videos as Kurt, and they were a lot of fun. On Facebook I got quite a scolding about both content and medium from one person. I strongly disagree with his interpretation of my content, but after some consideration, I do agree with him about the medium. His complaint was: if I have an idea and want to express something, why don’t I just present as myself? Then my partner asked the same question. The ornery alter ego was actually going fairly deep, where I would like to go, and I realized that I could either flesh him out more, or merge him back into me and be stronger. I didn’t do those videos as me in the first place because I was scared. A weenie, a fraidy cat, a Nervous Nelly, a human being who doesn’t like being disliked.

Having felt Kurt’s freedom in speaking very plainly, and realizing that no kittens died, I guess I’m ready to human up and try talking about what I want to say on the channel more. The interviews and presentations since the book has come out are helping me to feel more comfortable being a voice for independent scholarship, practical pedagogy, and a questioner of things. On video. With my lips moving and sounds coming out of my mouth. On purpose.

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

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