Finding the Heart of It: One of those Life Lessons

Recently I was asked to sing at the Venetian in Vegas, for a company's cocktail party.  I needed to memorize eight songs, would get paid to sing, as well as get my hotel stay paid for.  I thought this would be a fun opportunity
for Ian and I to take a little vacation this winter break.  (I always come alive when I travel.)

As it came time to rehearse, I grew more and more nervous because I had no idea what arrangement the band was going to play.  For a musician, they look at the sheet music once they get to the gig and just play what's written out.  But for me, as a singer, I like to hear what I'm going to be singing first, in the exact arrangement that I will be singing it in, so I can memorize like so,
"okay, I have the first verse and the the chorus and then we have a trumpet solo, and a guitar solo and then I break into the bridge, another verse, and chorus, which takes me into the piano solo... etc."

Most of the songs I was singing were old standards and have been sung by many different people and changed around in many different ways, so there was no set blue print to go by.  

I was scared I would get up and there and it would be a disaster.  I have never worked with any of these people before and I was afraid I would be singing over someones solo on accident (very disrespectful) or not singing while the piano player looked at me like, "what are you doing?!  This is your part!!"  and the audience would be confused.

This fear, created some resistance to practicing, which in turn created more fear because I hadn't been practicing.

I took some time to process this with a mentor I have a great deal of respect for, and she helped me ground, and then see the situation in a new light.

I remembered an experience I had when I was either 9 or 10.  I played Goldilocks in a production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  I had just broken baby bear's chair and got up to walk over to the beds when my skirt caught on the corner of one cardboard bed and like dominoes, all three beds fell over.  I looked out at the audience and said, "I didn't mean to break the beds, too!"  They all laughed harder than ever and I realized a few things.

One, that I LOVED theater.  And two, that the audience found it more enjoyable because I was really present and spoke from the heart.  It didn't matter that the show didn't go as planned, what any audience ultimately responds to is the heart in any performance.  Does the singer or actor or dancer really feel what he/she is conveying, are they present, and does it have heart.

On the human to human level, that is what we all respond to.

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