Thursday, January 23, 2014

Change: making a joyful noise

This is one of my tribes; I claimed my place in it this year. Last year, I hovered on the edge of this tribe; I watched and I listened, but I was afraid to join in. This year, I vowed to change that. This year, I promised myself that I would not shy away; yes, I promised myself that last year, too, but this year I did it. This year, I let myself sing.

It was a wonderful weekend, filled with music, laughter, and fun. We played well together; that was the theme of one of the classes I took, and was I ever thrilled to learn that playing well with others could mean more than just being able to play well. I'm a beginner on the resonator guitar, and although I only contributed a few notes every now and again as we played together, they were good notes, and I added something to the sound. What a kick that was! Next time, I hope to contribute more, but it was so encouraging to be able to contribute even at my level. I had so much fun with my little bit of noise.

I also learned something very important about me. I'm not Joni Mitchell and I never will be. You see, hers is the voice I hear in my head; hers is the voice I want to have. And because I don't have a soaring, rich, resonant, soprano voice, I have always felt that I shouldn't sing out loud. I have worked so hard for so long to find her voice inside of me; when I sang, I concentrated on each note and tried to make it happen. It never did, but I kept trying. And I told myself that I shouldn't sing in front of other people until it did. (Recordings don't count; I can have do-overs when I record, and I can manipulate the tones to fill in where my voice is weak; I can add echo for richness and do all sorts of things to make me sound more like I want to sound.)

This past weekend, I came face to face with those expectations, and even while I mourned that I will never have the voice I want, I realized that I am not without strengths. When I'm not trying to be Joni, I can have fun singing. I can do what I do best; I'm an actress at heart. I can sing very expressively when I concentrate on the words and forget about trying to make each note as good as possible. And I can pull other people into the song when I do that; I can give them that experience. It may not be what I wanted to have, but it's a pretty darn good thing to have.

So: Goodbye, Joni.
Hello, Cindy.

If you love music, write songs (or want to learn how to write them!) consider joining the Summer Songs West tribe. Click here for more information.

1 comment:

NEDbeads said...

I love this post - I love that you went, and allowed yourself to be YOU, and that you had your chance to face your fear and meet it and win it!!!! You are doing so incredibly awesomely awesome and I am SO HAPPY for you!!!!!!!!