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Pressure vs the Talent Code, Day 106

June 26, 2010

For those of you following the New York Circus Arts story, the general manager has decided to revise the intro course to again include a trapeze introduction as advertised, until the expiration of all purchased Groupons. Score one for Groupon’s customer service department and the little people! Seriously, many thanks to NY Circus Arts for respecting your customers so much to have made this change.

Meanwhile, I have worked vigilantly to respect my voice during a rigorous rehearsal, recording, and performance week. The first step? Letting go of foolish pride and allowing a good friend to help me install my air conditioner. I hate the cold almost as much as electric bills, but when allergies threatened my vocal health, I caved out of desperation. How else could I visit with friends, sing a ninety-minute Beethoven masterpiece several days in a row, record a song tomorrow for Leat‘s puppet film, perform a Duruflé solo on Sunday morning, and carry out four consecutive opera rehearsals, all before next Friday?

Thankfully, I have a wonderful teacher whose technique has kept me singing incredibly well during allergies that years prior would have once forced me into vocal rest. Since he also recently recommended Daniel Coyle‘s book, The Talent Code, I now also see each ninety-minute Beethoven performance as the perfect opportunity to deeply practice the ideal breath flow and vowel production to keep pressure off of my vocal cords while producing an optimal sound and volume at each moment. Although I don’t at all agree with one point in Tommasini’s review that concert master Glenn Dicterow ever sounded shaky, I definitely agree that this sometimes feels an “exhausting and treacherous work.”  Not so with a newfound deep-practicing perspective.  Best of all, it keeps me connected and creating in each moment, and I actually feel better by the end of each performance!  Craziness.

The pressure cookers of summer in New York City, the path I’ve started with my blog, and even an unusually productive period like this could threaten my health and my sanity.  Instead, I’ve decided to take a page from The Talent Code and push myself just past my limits so that I could possibly fail or make a mistake, within reason.  According to Coyle, opportunities for heightened focus and challenging moments create opportunities to learn well and achieve greatness in one’s chosen field.  Vocally, I definitely see results.  In my life, I just have to decide in which areas I can go beyond the boundaries and in which I should concede to my well-being.  For tonight, first write, then sleep, then puppetry and Beethoven.

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