In my last post, I started out on a mission. A part of my Mission Motivation for 2021, I talked about my bad habit – putting my “anchor” or my rehearsal motivation solely on rehearsals. I had conditioned myself to rehearse in the rehearsal space, but not in my everyday life. I’m starting off my year addressing this problem by breaking the habit and creating an “anchor” for barbershop by Creating the Space at home.
I took this literally at first. We all have specific requirements for activities within our homes. I had to create a space for my art projects which required good lighting and enough space to spread out. If I did this for my art, I should do the same for singing. It was time to pick a spot and just get to work.
This proved to be more difficult than I expected. I walked around my house and sang clips of baritone, testing the atmosphere and acoustics again, looking for the perfect spot. I still felt aware of my neighbors, but I decided this wasn’t going to be idyllic so I had to make do with what I had. Still, as I shuffled throughout my house, nothing felt right and I just got more frustrated. I went back to the drawing board.
I actually looked up how to create a singing space. There are all these tips of dressing up a room with inspirational quotes or colorful items etc., but none of them felt right for me and just another thing I’d have to spend money and materials on. It also doesn’t help that the layout of my house is open leaving my husband’s office, the bedroom, or the bathrooms the only spaces with doors for separation. Nope.
I went back and changed the wording of my internet search: How do you create a space? Of course, there were a couple of literal answers to that question, but I happened upon a Zen site, (hmmm maybe?) and found a section on Creating a Space.
When we want to change something in our lives, we don’t go to a room and say, “CHANGE!” We have to Create a Space or in other words, we have to create the change.
Let’s break this down a little bit further.
I have a schedule that I follow to the best of my ability every day. I get up, go to work, come home, relax/play catch-up/exercise, and go to bed. There’s always going to be some sort of variation like getting home late or dinner taking longer to prepare than usual, but I’ve blocked out the necessary time I need to complete all my “chores” and prepare for the next day.
Where was my barbershop block? Residing in the miscellaneous block. That’s what I call the block full of things I probably should do, but I haven’t assigned a priority to next to sending packages I’ve been promising for over a year to send out to friends or replying to emails on time. I’d given barbershop no “space” within my everyday routine; not even on my weekend routine.
I used to sing all the time – in the car, at work, at home – and I suddenly realized that I hadn’t done even that in while. I used to sing through our repertoire when doing chores around the house or walking around work on my way to a meeting. I can’t remember the last time I had.
And there it is – rock bottom.
But now that I recognize where I am, I can get started getting back into the saddle. Whew! Let’s do this!
Remember that base I was talking about in the last post? That foundation? This is where it comes into play.
I don’t know about you, but when I realized that I had to create a “change” I had a lot of ideas of how to integrate barbershop back into my life. Too many ideas. So many ideas that I started to instantly become overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. This is a common problem for a lot of people when trying something new.
I remember reading an article a while back about people who try to start running as a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. The article was an interview of an experienced runner and they asked the question, “Where do you think new runners go wrong? What keeps more people from running?”
In synopsis, his response was that people who are new to running try going straight to the 3 miles. They run those 3 miles, (which apparently is this bar that all new runners set for themselves) all the while feeling like they’re going to collapse and thanking god when they’re done. They’ll return home and then find that they hurt everywhere for days. They tell themselves that they’ll go out and run when they stop hurting, but they never do. They remember how it hurt or how they felt slow or start to compare themselves to more seasoned runners they saw on their first run.
If you want to run, if you want to get that exercise it’s important to start small. Run at your pace and at the distance that works for you whether that’s 3 miles or 0.5 and do this consistently. This does two things: it helps to condition your body and prepares you to push further when you’re ready. You’re also putting aside time for yourself to either go for a run or to relax.
The same goes for singing and this is where I went wrong before. I tried and did everything at the beginning, but the minute I felt the not so gentle shove of life I faltered and created a bad habit. It’s time to create the foundation of my barbershop singing.
Where do we go from here? Tune in next week to read about my roadmap to Creating MY Space!
Thanks, Sally, for your article, as it reminds me where I find the best time to practice my music, and where I’m not embarrassed to sing in front of others. it is when I am using the hair dryer to dry my hair in my master bathroom! I can go through maybe 3 or 4 songs (or iterations of one song) before my hair is dry, and sing as loudly and fully as I want. Then, when I’m stuck on a note or word, I then can check the music, or play my pitchpipe later, to correct the problem, either at my desk in front of my computer, or at my kitchen desk.
Leave a comment