The Disciplines

Anyone who has mastered either an art or a sport understands the meaning of the word “discipline”. This would apply also to medicine, law, and science. In fact, where one seeks to master something and become an expert, this is only possible after exerting a great deal of effort over time.

The activities that ask for physical skill along with intellectual comprehension are complex. They require dedication, persistence, patience, determination and some degree of natural inclination. It is nearly impossible for someone who is naturally “gifted” to realize the level of commitment required to go beyond their inherent abilities, especially when they are at the beginning of the journey.

Sometimes singing students arrive thinking they will “take a few lessons” to get “really good” and then go on to “be a star”. They are naive in their expectations. Sometimes teachers of singing think that “you can either sing or you can’t” and that if you can you need only learn “breath support” and “resonance” and then go out and win competitions with fancy repertoire.

Those who have worked for a decade or more at developing or maintaining a high level of artistic skill are familiar with the many ups and downs a long term career faces. They know that working on skills is a lifetime commitment, changing as it does as we progress through life’s various stages and ages. Many artists experience a “crisis of the soul” when a significant hurdle must be faced and come to understand the moral courage it takes to go on, dig deeper and find a new horizon for their own vision.

Our culture likes everything FAST. Sound bites, flash drives, Insta-what-have-you. ART, however, takes time. It moves at the rate of the body. You cannot hurry the growth of a tree nor the growth of an artist.

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