By Morgan Cryer
A Case Of Passion
Always about this time of year, things slow down. People start letting themselves slide into passive mode. "Hey, it's summer!"
"WHAT New Year's resolution...?!"
I'm not saying YOU are passive. I'm talking about the un-named others. In fact, it only begins to show on them right about now. Then as summer comes on, they slide into it like a gator into a hot-tub... By August, they're nearly in a coma.
They trained us as kids to do this by letting us forget everything we ever learned from the year previous, by way of 3 months of summer brain sleep--no school, no challenge, no nothing.
If you are actually gigging, you have a definite slump in concerts coming up. If you are a non-career singer, you face the same "blah" has everybody else...and it leaves you feeling drowsy until someone rings the bell again in September.
So why NOT go to sleep? "Hey, it's summer!"
Here's why. We discovered that with even in small measures a case of passion, your summer can become the very "edge" that puts you ahead of the crowd. If the crowd stays asleep for just 3 short months, it gives you time to "stir yourself," move ahead, quietly, easily, just like the tortoise sneaking past the hare.
We discovered...by accident really...that if we required that our children keep doing just one subject through summer...MATH...their brains stayed alive and kicking. It helped them stay sharp and they retained NOT ONLY MATH, but all their other subjects too! So far, just about every one of my kids are ahead of the "curve" in school.
This brings me back to singing.
If you are taking the normal summer break, you NEED something to provide a load for your "inner learner."
I believe this for a few reasons:
ONE, you were never meant for more than just a little break from meaningful work.
Have you ever seen those amazing travel photos of some guy in a hammock on a pristine white beach? It looks SO inviting! And IT IS!
Heck...you are overworked...burnout is nipping at your heels. So you see that picture and it makes you salivate.
But have you ever actually taken that vacation to the beach where you could actually do NOTHING for a long time? I HAVE!
It's amazing! The first day, you settle in to just pure relaxation.
Then the next day, it's kinda cool. Then the next day, you miss your email, or your colleagues, or...something.
Then, about a week into it, you realize that you are just plain bored! The hammock is a would-be prison.
Idleness is NOT good for you except in short bursts!
TWO, our brains actually need enjoyable challenges.
Why do you think that puzzles are such big sellers? Unscramble this: OUY VELO LENLGEHCA
When the brain is unhitched from it's load too long, it spins weird. It's like a race horse...it longs to run. But you THINK you need idleness. Why? Because you either have no meaningful tasks despite all the busy-ness (meaning, your work is boring), or you've not been taking short regular breaks, so you're truly exhausted (this is less common--most people relish their weekends).
Most probably, it's #1, you're bored. Your work hasn't engaged your brain, so your brain is always complaining about work. And you think, like many, that idleness is the best way to escape all that awful work. But it's not.
Your brain (and your heart of hearts) longs for something meaningful to DO.
THIRD, our minds are only interested in what they are interested in!!
That brings me back to singing!
Have you ever tried to talk to your non-singer friends about the intricacies of singing? They are not like you, are they? It doesn't interest them like it does you.
You are one of those weird people that music stirs and drives. Singing makes you joyful. Talking about singing, studying about singing, reading about singing...makes you joyful.
But your friends just like to listen to music...not necessarily make music.
I have friends that are into watching sports. I am one of those very weird people who DOESN'T care about spectator sports. When people start talking about watching the big game, my eyes glaze over...so sue me...
Therefore, you must ENGAGE YOUR MIND IN SOMETHING IT LOVES ! You love to sing. You can get PASSIONATE about singing.
So pick your passion and grab it with your whole heart this summer. (I've made my biggest breakthroughs in my singing BETWEEN tours.)
Imposing a systematic approach on my voice was the best thing I ever did. I have now built, one baby step at a time, a new set of vocal habits.
I have muscle memory working in my favor. I can only sing in a strained voice when I TRY TO (for illustrating to students the wrong way).
Surprisingly, the system just keeps working. I see lots of new students and it never ceases to amaze me how great the changes in their abilities.
And all through a simple systematic approach to realizing a case of passion of their own.
If you don't have a desire to sing, then you better get geared up to hit the couch. "Hey, it's summer!"