The truth can sometimes best be expressed through paradox. We are all unique, we are all the same. The hours of the day and night are always the same, but how we experience them is continuously different. I can love you and not like you. I can like you but not love you.
Love, a word that we hear a lot, is total acceptance. Love at its highest level is nonjudgmental. Many are familiar with St. Paul’s letter:
If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but do not have love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever. Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes. Love does not come to an end.
If you love something or someone, and you love in this way, you are truly blessed. If you come to love singing in all its forms as a life force, an expression of the Higher Power made manifest here through human beings, you will experience great joy and satisfaction while you sing or if you are in the presence of someone singing. It takes a lot to encompass all that singing is or can be, but the expansion is worth the striving.
If you teach and you accept everything a student does in a lesson — the good sounds, the not so good sounds, the attempts both failed and successful, the movements of the body and voice, the expression of the music, as if all of it were gifts, and if you treasure those gifts as they come to you, only good can come. It does not mean that there should be no correction or evaluation, no learning of “right” from “wrong” but when these things are done in an atmosphere of loving acceptance, the possibility of growth opens for both teacher and student.
Most people have a lot of programming about “not being good enough”. We don’t need to deepen those thoughts by making our students feel like they “can’t sing” or “can’t be good enough”. Always hold your students in an atmosphere of loving acceptance.
Acceptance and acknowledgement make for safety and affirmation. In this atmosphere, the paradox of singing is found. All singers sing, every singer is unique, every song is just a song but every song is special. Don’t forget.