The year 2020. Think about it. (Kind of leaves you at a loss for words, doesn’t it?)
It’s almost like the year slapped us in the face and said, “Do I have your attention?” Dazed we make eye contact and numbly nod. “Good,” says 2020, “Well, then, let’s talk about your priorities.”
Literally, with no warning, it was time for a reckoning—a word familiar with punitive or judgmental tones. However, the root of the word, reckon, simply means to calculate, believe, or consider. The year didn’t ask if we were open to the idea of mindful work. It has demanded it of us.
So, the process began and it’s been uncomfortable to discover my level of ignorance and embarrassing to see it didn’t bother me. Had I become so gullible that I had lost the capacity to reckon the situation, regardless of its size? Now is the time for asking questions. Time for reconsidering. For reimagining. “Just because it’s always been that way,” won’t do anymore.
This applies to the many massive societal issues in our country that demand our involvement. Equally important are decisions each of us makes concerning our short and long-term well-being. What are the “always been that way” ideas, and accompanying habits, that don’t promote flourishing?
In my work as a voice trainer, I often talk to students about mindfulness, “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something”1. I regularly urge students to pair knowledge with intention, particularly as it relates to how they work on their voice away from lessons. Unless the student has clear goals and action steps, the work done can be less than fruitful. Remember: habits create muscle memory irrespective of quality of the habits. You withdraw what you invest.
Speaking of the work done by the student alone, what do you call it? Warming up? Practicing? Vocalizing? These words are ubiquitous but let’s think afresh. What IS happening? What SHOULD BE happening? Have we forgotten the importance of reckoning the moment? Is “doing what I’ve always done,” building the habits that will take you beyond what’s “always been?”
If you would like help instilling knowledge, intention, and mindfulness into your singing, please contact me.
1 from Oxford Languages