Yes, I get frustrated with my singing sometimes. Sometimes, it happens a lot. Every day. Constantly. “Why am I doing this? I suck. I hate singing…whine whine whine…”
Then I stop and pay attention. And the proper path opens.
When we get frustrated in the practice room or as a general response to our current artistic situation, it usually arises from attempting that for which we are not capable. Here are some extreme examples:
- If you are asking yourself to sing arias or songs for which you are totally NOT capable, then prepare to get frustrated. Prepare to feel like you have no idea why you are doing what you are doing and why you are singing at all.
- If you are expecting to have a certain amount of fame or career success, but really aren’t deserving of that success, then prepare to be frustrated.
- If you are auditioning for companies but simply aren’t good enough yet, then prepare to be frustrated.
- If you have an approaching concert but don’t have the physical stamina to get through it or don’t have your music learned, then prepare to be frustrated.
But is frustration all bad? Not necessarily. After all, we aren’t born capable of everything or even most things. We learned to crawl by crawling. We learned to walk by crawling first and then walking. Both were probably frustrating for us, but the answer to those frustrations was to keep trying.
The trick is to find the level of challenge and frustration that is appropriate for you at your particular stage of development.
With yoga, you begin with reasonable poses. They are hard. They are frustrating. But with practice you overcome this. But if you START with the hardest poses, then prepare to face endless frustration. And potential injury.
With singing, you start with vocalises, solfeggi, and simple songs, and then you work your way up. If you start with “Vissi d’arte” or “E lucevan le stelle”, then prepare to face endless frustration. And potential injury.
So if you find yourself endlessly frustrated, take a moment and examine what you are doing. Is this frustration that will vanish with a good night’s sleep and another attempt tomorrow or is this frustration that should be telling you to slow down a little (or a lot) and back off? Are you about to injure yourself? Are you about to embarrass yourself?
No one can do that for you. Your teacher can and should advise you of the correct path, but you must be the one to follow through.