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Open Mindedness

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Perhaps the best lesson I have learned with regard to open-mindedness has been through other vocalist websites. I learned the importance of open-mindedness in accepting what seems to be unusual ideas about the act and art of singing. I learned it from close-minded people. You know them, theirs is the only way to sing and so and so's method will ruin your voice. Bel Canto is the only true way to sing, etc. I rode with that crowd for most of my teaching years, although I have never been intimidating about it. When I began to study Estill Voice Craft, I came to it not knowing what I was about to encounter, but I went with an open mind and great curiosity. I went because of one word----belting----HORROR OF HORRORS!!!! YOU"LL RUIN YOUR VOICE---blah, blah, blah!!!! I learned much more than the structure of belting. I learned that all musical genres have worth and beauty and, although I was a classical singer with a musical theater bent, I fell in love with jazz and Country. I'll be honest, I still don't like Rap and Hip-Hop, they simply don't speak to me. I learned from Estill training not to have an aesthetic bias. It really is crippling. Not all singing requires beautiful "pear-shaped" tones. Of course, that's what I always listened for, and I picked up on every itty bitty flaw. Analyze, analyze, analyze!!! In my teaching, however, my inner goal is perfection with the knowledge that it doesn't exist. I don't tell my students this--they're already desiring perfection and I frequently have to tell them to get out of their own way both physically and emotionally and just let it go. This isn't easy, particularly when we live in a time where we are pressured from all sides to achieve. Parents push their kids to do so much that they don't have enough time to focus on any one thing toward mastership. It will look good on your resume, blah, blah, blah (yet again) Okay, I have gone off track and that tirade belongs in another blog. So back to open-mindedness in voice teachers, particularly, all of us need to take a step back and size up the vocal situation out there in the cold. cruel world and recognize that there are many possible ways to arrive at the same place---singing healthfully, in tune, and stylistically appropriate. Make sense?

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