Start with the word WHY...
Why’d the composer set the text that way?
Why’d the composer make those thousand decisions on that one page?
Why does my coach think I should sing darker?
Why does my voice teacher tell me to breathe into my back?
Why did I get cast in such a small role that doesn’t fit my voice in any real way?
Why do I think I need acting lessons? Or dance lessons? Or a new black dress?
Why do I have so little voice in what my voice does or how my voice sings or when its range grows or where I have to live to try to make a career?
Why? Why? Why?
There are so few real answers to these questions. Asking questions really should be the point, and prompts – usually – ever more questions. This isn’t a comforting thought for most. Certainly, one can get lost in the questions and feel overwhelmed. Questions are things on tests. Tests are stressful and if you don’t have the right answers, you fail the test.
Singing isn’t a test.
You can choose to turn your back on questions (some feel better doing this) and just seek answers and answer-givers. Answer-Givers -- You know, those folk who tell you How To Do Everything. They’re such lovely people. They’ve got “such a head for knowing”; or at least they seem to know it all. They can tell you exactly how to breathe, exactly how to sing something, exactly what the subtextual meaning to the poetry is, exactly how to wear your hair, exactly what your five arias should be. Answers are so seemingly wonderful.
What I mean to say really is that if you only are interested in finding out the answers, you’re just not curious enough to be an artist.
Word of Warning: Those With All The Answers can do a disservice to musicians seeking questions. To seek answers is a slightly different task. Answers are best when found, not when quested after for (wow, dangling participles gods strike me now!) Questions, though, are the undiscovered country. They are where answers abide. Questions create life, create art, and create boundless connections. Questions are the source!
Socrates was a smart guy.
I love questions.
Questions are the answer.