Me singing, mortified, but how else do we improve? What else are we here for?

July 13, 2023 by Joshua
in Art, Audio

I’m going to embarrass myself with this post. So be it.

Longtime readers know I didn’t sing growing up beyond Happy Birthday, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, and some drunk karaoke, but as a result of being led through the Spodek Method, started practicing singing. First I sang fifteen minutes a day, turning off all my electronics. Later I started practicing singing exercises. I wrote a couple posts on it: Thoughts on singing and Why I’m singing.

I didn’t learn to sing well. I did learn that people who sing well got there through practicing. The better they sing, the more they practiced. Somehow, though I know in every other area people perform, you need to practice, somehow I hadn’t put two and two together. I just thought singers could sing because they could and I couldn’t.

music notes

I learned enough to see how singing accesses and expresses emotions differently than any other mode of expression. I got to where I could see if I kept singing, practicing, and working with a coach, I could improve. I also decided that of all the places I could dedicate those resources, I would focus on other performance areas, especially sustainability leadership.

Still, I enjoy having progress out of the dungeon of feeling ashamed even to sing a line or two where someone could hear me. I said long ago, I’d share some of my progress. Since I stopped practicing, I lost most of what progress I made, but now and then I sing anyway.

Also, as I learn more anthropology, I learn how every culture sings. I grew up in a culture of isolation where not everyone sings. It requires no pollution, depletion, or addiction. It’s free. Anyone can do it. In our future where we don’t pollute, we’ll practice more culture ourselves instead of passively watching others do it, lying to ourselves that access to billions of songs is progress when it means people singing less overall.

Around Independence Day I found myself singing This Land Is Your Land. I learned it as a sing-song folk song as a child, or rather only the chorus. I loved Bruce Springsteen’s version on his Live 1975-85 album and channeled his version. In the back of my mind, I’ve wondered when I’d record it for this blog, but always put it off.

Then one day instead of setting up a microphone or planning at all, I just hit record on my phone and sang. Here it is, zero preparation, but I’d rather embarrass myself and learn from it than keep keeping myself in the dungeon of not expressing myself. If you don’t like it, great! If you’ve coached singing and want to help me improve, let me know. In the meantime, I’m mortified that anyone will listen, except for Martha Graham’s words: “Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.

Here’s me singing:

The Original

Here’s Bruce:

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