I wasn't sure if I wanted to write about this, but since it is part of my avocational journey, I must. So, here goes:
I recently received word from my voice teacher telling me that she would no longer be able to accommodate my lesson time in her studio.
One reason I didn't want to write it, was because I feel embarrassed to admit I was rejected and not one of the more desirable students. I had thought I was doing pretty well, and was finally beginning to put together a technique. I was working hard towards my goals, and I was excited about the progress I was making. I felt that I had momentum going and was not prepared to come to a screeching halt unexpectedly like this.
I had hoped that this new thrust would be the one to take me to a point, at long last, of a basic mastery of my vocal instrument. I say "basic" because mastery is a lifetime pursuit that is never fully attained due to the truth that there is always more. But I have always believed there would come a point where technique became secure enough and awareness of the ins and outs of vocal issues became such that a singer "arrived" at a moment where she didn't need a teacher any more -- at least not every week -- except for a basic tuneup once in a while.
I have been very slow and long to get to this point, as I've noted on this blog. But in this late time of my singing life, I have finally sensed it on the horizon.
But now I have a temporary setback in that I am without a teacher.
This journey cannot be undertaken without a guide.
Here is how I'm feeling right now. I feel like a person who had wanted to climb a giant mountain and had hired an experienced guide to help navigate the way to the top. Just when I got to the point where I could see some peaks, the guide can no longer continue the journey and must leave me there out on a ledge. I feel stranded and alone on top of a cliff, close to the mountain top, but without a guide.
So, I sit on the little ledge. First, I just cry. "Oh, whatever shall I do now? What will become of me?" But since that isn't really going to resolve the issue, once that indulgence has passed I have to sit and think of my options. First I have to make a decision, sitting there out on the snowy ledge by myself. Do I still want to try to get to the top of the mountain or do I want to give up?
If I give up, I can just find my way back down to the comfy lodge at the foot of the mountain, go in and order a glass of wine, and sit curled up by the fire reading a nice book. That would be very comfortable and nurturing. No tough things to go through. No scrapes and bruises from grabbing onto rocks. No feeling exhausted from the exertion of effort. No getting discouraged. No rejection. No disappointments. Lots of comfort and "peace." I can watch the young people come in breathless, with their rosy cheeks and talk about how wonderful the view was from the top.
But if I decide that I still want to try, then there's work to do. I must begin the work of trying to find a new guide to help me get to the top. As I make the rounds of the mountain guides, many of them might discourage me. "Why don't you just take the nice little bus tour up with all the other older folk? You shouldn't be exerting yourself at your age." Or "Why don't you just admit that your body isn't made for mountain climbing and just take the cable car up?"
But I have to pick myself up and get out there and make the rounds. Make the rounds until I find someone skilled who is willing to help me the rest of the way, and won't abandon me mid-mountain.
Finding a good voice teacher is a lot of work. There is a lot of asking around, gathering of names, and then the legwork of getting to sample lessons . Sometimes this work has to be done when you have a low level of confidence in your mission. There are so many questions. Will the teacher want me as a student, or find me undesirable as the other teacher did? The kind of mission I'm on -- older avocational singer who's not giving up -- is one I have to sell, or at least find the right kind of person who would get on board with me and help. I can't do this if I'm not feeling like I'm believing in my mission myself.
So, the first work I have to do, before I make one phone call or set one foot on the pavement, is to find a way to believe in myself again. This is the task that will help me get the job done. A way I've used to achieve this in the past is to pray and renew my spirit, so that's what I'll be doing as a precursor to getting out there to embark on a new fresh stab at getting to the top of the mountain. The clock is ticking, but it's still not too late for me to get there.