“Divas, child prodigies and virtuosos need not apply.” I shared this, my studio mission statement, with a friend who teaches piano in the Ferndale area. I determined that my studio was going to be a place for emotional healing around musing-making as much as for the practice of singing. I only wanted to teach the inexperienced and under-confident singers, I said, because I had a disdain for “divas” who always seem to get away with showing up late, acting rude, and belittling others just because they knew their beautiful voices could get them every little thing they wanted. “I hate that attitude,” I said.
I thought my friend would agree with me, but I was wrong. Her response: You know, karma is going to respond by giving you exactly those kinds of singers because you had driven so much energy into “hating” their attitudes–the Universe doesn’t hear negatives like “don’t,” “won’t,” or “hate.” Besides which, those “divas” may be just the people who will need the kind of emotional healing that you want to provide in voice lessons. And maybe you have your OWN anxiety around singing and performing, since you’re so focused on healing that in your students!
My own anxiety? I looked, and I discovered that yes, I had a history of resentment against other musicians who always seemed to be doing better than me. The failed voice auditions, the scholarships and prizes lost, and the rejections from superiors over the years only made me more determined to push forward and win at any cost. If I didn’t make it as a singer, I swore to become the conductor, the best composer, anything but the failure that I was. I had to fight and fight against everyone—even when I was obviously winning—and it left me bitter. All the way.
But that bitterness was doing me no bit of good right now. I had to heal myself from it, with a few acknowledgements like these:
- A feeling is just a feeling, and not The Truth.
- It belongs to the past, with no value for the present or future.
- It’s not something to punish yourself over.
- There were other players in those scenarios with their own dramas running the show; it wasn’t just about you, so get over yourself.
- Emotion is a vibration like any other that can be dissolved in drumming or singing, or simply listening (So go do some!).
And from here I can let go, open up, forgive, and love. And I see that those singers I call “divas” are really no different from me, or anyone else. They simply cloak their anxieties and resentments in their own particular ways. And it’s not my job to punish them, or fix them, or be a hero to them. If I can simply free myself from my own negative emotions, that freedom will catch on. It will show in my teaching, and in everything I do.