There is one person who consistently shows up on my Facebook feed. She is one of those passive aggressive posters, and for some reason, I often feel personally attacked by what she has to say. I know exactly why this happens and tonight, I was about to vague book respond to her indirectly, because I was assuming he post was about me. Perhaps it was, and likely it was not, but it’s gotten me to thinking.
As a vocal coach and someone who shares music that I have learned with people in a very public way, I do carry some insecurity. This person seems to write directly about my insecurities and when I have my head about me, my feet on the ground, and trust in my path, these comments are really none of my business.
What IS my business is doing the work that I do with as much integrity as I can muster. I teach singing for two main reasons. One is that I really want to help people access the sounds that their bodies are capable of making and in effect connect them to the divinity within. The other reason is that I am using my talent and teaching ability to make a living.
The music I teach is everything from general vocal technique, to Broadway song (in private lessons), to other genres. There is one thing I do, the thing that I have spent the most time engaged in, is the thing that feels the most threatened by this person. I perform and teach folk music from Eastern Europe. I claim expertise in sharing what I know about the voice, that I have learned from my years of experience discovering my own voice. I have learned this things through singing folk song from cultures that are not mine. I know that this carries a huge responsibility with it and I do the very best I can to meet this responsibility. But every so often, a comment from someone who I barely know, will send me on a tailspin of not trusting in myself and my mission.
So that night, I took a break from Facebook, and gave myself a few minutes to write about how it made me feel. Again, I really don’t think the post was about me, but the dissonance that I felt when I read it was notable and something that my system needs to work out.
There are days when I think, I should only teach music in English, but the truth is, music is music and I love to help people access their voices from whatever path necessary. If that's an American pop song, then we do a pop song and if it is a song from a remote village in Bulgaria, then we learn that. When teaching music that is not in my native tongue or from my native culture (I was born in Los Angeles, so that would be what... Red Hot Chili Peppers?), I do always tell people to listen to sources, and ask questions. I tell them where I learned the songs, and how they can go deeper.
I teach because I carry an understanding of how to communicate with people who are interested in singing. I really do think that singing and music making are an incredibly important practice that makes the world a better place, and that is why I do it.