How American Idol Changed My Life

Part I

I grew up singing in church and school. I loved it! I loved the attention, the praise and I loved the vibrations. My first solo was around 6 yrs old at Vacation Bible School. During the 80s (my impressionable yrs), I developed a love for pop songs. My first live concert was seeing Whitney Houston!  Star Search was on TV when I was growing up, but I never knew anyone that auditioned. It was not the same "become a star" sensation that American Idol and the other shows of its kind have permeated through our culture today. 

I went to college without a plan. No idea what I wanted to “do for a living”. Eventually, told I had to pick a major, I chose Vocal Performance; singing was what I knew. College was my introduction to solo Classical music. I liked it for the most part, but still only listened to pop music for enjoyment. My music theater knowledge expanded. I discovered Gershwin and Porter, a love affair that continues today. 

I stayed in the classical and theater world a few years after graduating. Then I was asked to teach at the university where I was working as an office manager (remember, no life plan). That sounded fun but foreign. I'd never taught. So when I began with my first few students, I taught like I was taught. That was the same year AMERICAN IDOL premiered.

The following year one of my students wanted to audition for AI. She played me the song (can’t remember what it was) and said that she wanted to be able to sing the chorus without her voice doing that “flipping thing” into that softer sound. Ok. Hmmm. Wait. I didn't know how to do that. 

Rehearsing for Graduate recital

Rehearsing for Graduate recital

It was a few more years until I got around to doing something about it. When I decided teaching people how to sing was what I wanted “to do for a living”, I got serious. I now knew singing pop music was in real demand, and that my training so far was not sufficient to help this kind of singer. Off to Graduate School I went. If I’m going to figure out how the voice works and help my students be able to sing what they want to sing, the WAY they
want to sing it, I need more schooling, right?! 

Well, it was a decent place to start. Grad school took me back into classical music heavily, and my voice felt stuck. I was having my first encounter with some serious performance anxiety. Meanwhile, I was researching a ton about belting (singing higher loud without the voice doing the “flipping” thing) and teaching kids to sing and learning about great vocal educators across the country/world who were teaching the things I wanted to know.  I finished school, shook off that weird singing experience and went to find those voice pioneers.

 Really, going back to school helped me realize that there were still more questions and there are many paths to find the answers. What i didn’t realize was that I was on a journey of freedom. Freedom of vocal tension, freedom in my own choices in making sound and in life. Stay tuned to find out more about my evolution of learning how to teach singers and how you can find freedom in your singing.