"Lesson of the week."
Miles Mandwelle (Actor/Musician)
As a music director and pianist, I inevitably do a lot of vocal coaching. My favorite people to work with are actors, particularly those who don't consider themselves singers.
I had a client come in Thursday after work who really surprised me. She had apparently had a voice teacher at one point who apparently would begin every lesson by asking, "Do you really want to waste money on this?"
As much as it is awful working with an incompetent teacher, in this moment, I realized that even bad classes had served me well, preparing me for this moment. Sensing that my client's former voice teacher had a lot of personal issues, I let my intuition guide me. (My friend Carol Fox Prescott's motto on teaching is simply, "Love them.")
Focusing on the positive opens up a whole new world from which we can work.
Gingerly guiding my client through some basic exercises, I quickly realized she had an enormous voice that she was terrified to use.
This mirrors something I am currently working through myself. I recently played Mozart in "Amadeus," and while the production was well-received, I was unhappy with my work, until half-way through, I realized I was holding the role at arm's length out of fear; it was easier to judge. In the last scene of the last performance, I took a big risk, and it was tremendous and terrifying.
Such is the same with my client. One of my co-workers, an accomplished Broadway pianist, said to me,
"Who are you to play small? You do no one any favors by denying yourself the right to be talented."
(For the record, she was quoting Marianne Williamson)
Working from this place of positivity, my client improved very quickly over the session. I was amazed, not because I doubted her in any way, shape, or form, but because I am always doubting myself.
What are you denying yourself?
And now, for the nostalgia clip of the week:
MILES MANDWELLE is an actor/musician living out of a suitcase and traveling the country to work in theatre, currently stationed in Washington, DC. He spends most of his time looking for theatre that will blow his mind and witticisms that will keep him from boredom.
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