Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tonal Tuesdays - Confidence

Are you a confident musician?  Of course you are.  In the shower we all are confident.  What is it about showers that emboldens us?  Scientifically we know that all the hard surfaces cause the sound to reverberate and that enhanced music sure sounds great.  We also know that usually,  (exceptions left to your imagination), we are alone in the shower and so no one knows if the notes are right or wrong.

Confidence or the lack thereof is gained through training and experience.  If you get great support and feed back then you are confident to do something again.  I remember well, as a young girl doing a tap dance at a hall that had a very shiny floor.  In the middle of the dance, I fell but got up and continued on.  At the end, my mum said that I had fallen so gracefully no one would have know it wasn't part of the dance.  I never worried about falling again as I knew that I had the ability to make it all right.

Another time, as an adult, I was singing Abide With Me at the funeral of a friend's dad whom I had really loved.  I had my head in another space so that I could get through it and at the end my stone wall crumbled and I became emotional.  Fearing I would "lose it", I took a breath, anchored a note and slid through the final cadence.  My friend's brother said afterwards that it was typical of me to get fancy at the end and never do something just straight.  It was that "fall down gracefully" confidence that allowed me to fake it to the end I believe.

I know you like me have heard people sing or otherwise perform and you wonder how they ever got to make it to a stage at all never mind record the thing for sale.  I believe that sometimes people can be confident or even brash enough to push through a seeming lack of talent to achieve their goal.

So why then are there so many people with their music unplayed?  Lack of confidence.

I firmly believe that it is our job and our pleasure to build confidence in those around us.  Unnecessary criticism or harshness has NO place in the world of community choir.  Oh yes, we have to point out where changes need to be made and how sounds can be improved.  We don't accept poor sound.  However, it can be done with humour and redirection always keeping in mind that the confidence of the choir and its singers is paramount.

One of the reasons I don't audition people is that singing all alone and on the spot can put an end to someone's wish to sing.  If you want a soloist then that kind of audition is necessary.  However, for choir members, having them sing in small groups and with others gives you the information you need.  Building on their strengths and encouraging their endeavors is what builds that ever important confidence.

Know that singing a wrong note or having a dissonant chord will not bring the world to a roaring halt.  Even if you are a "professional" let yourself make a mistake or two and join the rest of us who are less than perfect.  Fear cannot exist with action.  So often lack of confidence boils right down to fear.  So act confident, learn and work and fear will be at bay.  Then you will look back and realize the YOU DID IT! and survived.  Yahoo.  Confidence builds and you are away.  Once you are confident you can share it with others.  Learn from mistakes, keep your sense of humour and think of others and how you can best serve them.  You are great and getting greater by the minute.  Believe it.


Colleen said...

There are some stories there I haven't heard before! They reminded me of this quotation " There are two golden rules for an orchestra; start together and end together. The public doesn't give a damn what happens in the middle" Sir Thomas Beecham, English conductor. It also reminds me of that awful video I made in Quebec where I messed up the editing but somehow my instructor thought I was an up-and-coming surrealist. I didn't dissaude him. Tee hee.

Embro Thistle Singers said...

You are so right indeed. Start well and finish with a flourish and all is forgotten or forgiven. And as with your video, what we can perceive as a failing others will see as art nouveau. We say it all the time at ETS, get the beginning right and end all together. The rest is just that - the rest. Tee, hee.