Wouldn’t it be great if we could really get inside someone’s head and transfer what we know, like a Vulcan mind meld? It surely would save a lot of time! There have been some truly brilliant minds in history and it certainly would have been a great blessing to have been able to transfer the knowledge and experience they had gathered in their lives to others who perhaps could have been “repositories” for that miraculous wisdom.
Right now, though, there is no such thing. This is a trial and error universe. No matter how much someone else tells you, you still have to try it out for yourself and see how it goes. What works for me might not work for you. Or, you might think you understood what I said about what I do, but maybe you didn’t, and then it wouldn’t work or would work in a different way. It’s hard to know. It’s frustrating to think that each person is on his or her own, particularly as we become adults and take on the responsibilities of being “grown-ups”.
We all know that we are gaining insight as we get older, adding to our knowledge through many different avenues, weighing and measuring how we do as we go along. In “middle age” somewhere, we have enough life experience to be a little better at figuring things out and we can perhaps give others guidance, based on what we have learned, but it isn’t always so that the information we dispense is the answer. When we age, going toward our “golden years” we either stay present, keeping up with the trends that emerge, or slowly withdraw our attention from the outside world into our own smaller universe. Finally, when Time catches up with us, whatever we learned or did not learn we take with us into that “next place” (if you believe there is one, like I do). Who knows what happens after that?
Maybe you can write a book, or make a recording, as I spoke of the other day here, to preserve some part of what you know, and make it available to those who come after you. Maybe you will spark something new and important in that person, even if you never meet them or learn what they do with your inspiration. If you don’t do that, however, the influence you’ve had is only through the people you have had some personal contact with over time. It could be a small group of friends, family and co-workers whom you’ve touched. For each of us, it’s different.
So, with singing, all we can do is listen, talk and try. We can share what we know, we can talk about how we feel, we can analyze the experience this way and that. We can write about it, we can record our sounds, we can sing in performance. In the end, that’s all we have. If each person takes responsibility for his or her learning and development — if she seeks guidance, if she asks for help, if she is open to learning, she might increase her understanding and deepen her experience of “being a singer”. In the end, it is she alone who sings, who studies singing, who works with what she is learning or has learned and makes something of it, or not.
It’s possible there is no such thing as a “bad” student or a “bad” teacher. It’s possible that the problem is simply that the student and teacher are mis-matched. It’s possible that the singer and the information don’t fit together well. Perhap, if you seek something with enough determination and will power, you will ultimately have within you all that you were looking to find. And then, what will you do with it? Will you take it with you or will you give it away?