Crying Little Girl

This picture is a pretty good representation of my younger self…and by younger self, I mean my 17-year-old high school senior self.

In yesterday’s Sunday Singalong post, I mentioned that my voice student (and guest star of the video) Jayla said, “I hate watching and listening to myself sing.”

So I told Jayla the story about a time when I felt the same way about watching and listening to my own performances, and what changed that.  Here’s how it all went down, just a little over ten years ago.

One night after a rehearsal for my high school musical, our accompanist helped me make a college audition video for Emory University’s music school.  I had already traveled to quite a few faraway schools for in-person auditions, and this was one of the few that accepted videos in place of actually being there.

I remember that I sang “Don’t Rain on My Parade” along with two foreign language pieces, and I also remember feeling pretty good about my performance afterward.  But those good feelings didn’t last very long.

When I got home, my parents wanted to watch the video, and I was eager to see it, too.  Just a couple minutes into it, though, I lost it.  We’re talking hysterical sobbing here, people.  My parents looked at me like I was crazy, and reassured me over and over again that I looked and sounded great.

I, however, thought just the opposite.  I convinced myself that becoming a music major was a horrible mistake, because I’d never make the cut.  All of my past successes as a singer just flew out the window, as far as I was concerned.

As upset as the video had made me, my mom sent it to Emory anyway.  I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when a month later, I received a letter in the mail notifying me that I had been accepted to the program.

I didn’t end up choosing Emory (I went here instead), but I’m forever grateful to that school for teaching me that I needed a major attitude adjustment when it came to respecting myself as a singer.  I learned to actually enjoy watching video of my performances and listening to recordings of myself singing.  Instead of getting angry about mistakes, I grew from them.

And that’s why I’m so adamant about recording my students’ performances and having them watch and listen to themselves on a regular basis.  They are learning from a young age to be respectful critics of themselves, and to love the sound of their own voices.

It’s funny to look back at myself, crying over an audition video, from where I am now: sending out an abundant number of recordings and videos into the universe every week.

How do you feel about watching and listening to yourself?