What a beautiful day!
Okay, enough positivity, now for more introspection. This weekend reminded me of two things that I know and say all the time, but don’t put into practice nearly enough.
First, not coincidentally, is practice makes perfect – whether it’s practicing your singing or practicing what you preach. After a lengthy runs on some of my lesser played songs this weekend, my voice is warm and limber. The only way to keep it that way is to use it every day.
Second, the only reason to be afraid of an honest critique is if you deny its veracity (on some level, at least). This was evoked by two things specifically – a rather comedic exchange between a book-reviewer and a nasty Christian-publishing-house rep, and a reviews of an Off the Beat CD.
In the case of the former, the publisher just can’t take a negative review, and rather being constructive and trying to build a relationship with the reviewer, the rep lashes out. Repeatedly. In the case of the latter, former OTB music director Ethan Fixell took the lament that Off the Beat’s 2002 CD entailed too much “screaming” as a compliment – he and the group half-jokingly titled the next disc “More Screaming.”
How much truth existed in either review? Was the book truly that terrible? Who knows. I don’t think Off The Beat does all that much screaming – they just like to produce records that sound as authentically rock as the songs they cover. To a trained a cappella reviewer, though, that might come off an awful lot like screaming. I am sure that in each critique there was some element of truth, but for the artist it was how that truth was handled that was most important.
I can’t be afraid to record songs just because my voice is imperfect. It won’t get any better unless I sing, and hear myself singing; it’s unreasonable to expect perfection. Maybe I’m going to be flat, or scoop a lot, or use too many diphthongs – but, maybe I’ll convey exactly what the song means to say. And, once I do that, I have to be willing to hear all about those flat, scooped diphthongs, and to either own up to them or proudly say, “I meant it that way.”
Then, only then, will I get better.