A few months ago, I attended the premiere of The Last Five Years in Frankfurt, Germany. During the entire train ride back, I thought about how to put into words what I experienced that night and how I wanted to share this with all of you.
Well, the performance took place in English with actors who have actually performed on West End, which is really quite rare in Germany. It was a small theatre and I was sitting in the front row. The actors were top notch, believe you me. I was so entertained on the one hand but on the other hand I realised how I got more and more frustrated by the minute. Why, you might ask… Well, there was this one thought that got stuck in my head and resounded like the voice of God, “Oh dear Lord, I wish I could sing like that!” I tried to find excuses and told myself not to compare myself to them because of various reasons but my frustration just couldn’t be rationalised.
During the interval, I started reading The War of Art. (This might strike you as a little unusual but the person who was attending with me had abandoned me for a short walk outside – not to be overanalysed ;-)). And the more I read, the more I thought, “What the hell am I doing?” Hadn’t I already eradicated the words good and bad from my vocabulary? Hadn’t I already forgiven all those people in the world with phenomenal voices?
I simply couldn’t risk going back to those ill-guided mindsets I had fought so hard to overcome. I couldn’t risk letting them hold me back any longer. So I took the opportunity to stop being frustrated and LEARN from them. Could I pinpoint what made their technique so impressive?
I started watching the actors more closely and started listening to them even more closely than before and I realised that it came down to only a few things: crisp diction, stylistic consistency, flawless intonation and minimal jaw movement!
That was the moment it struck me: These were the exact things I was currently working on. I was already on my way. Of course, they had already mastered the technique but all I had to put in to get there was practice. I had had the knowledge to bridge the gap and let go of these negative thoughts the entire evening but I just couldn’t see it. In fact, there was nothing standing in the way of me learning to sing like that. Well, nothing but Resistance. 😉
So, the next time you get frustrated because you compare your behind the scenes to somebody else’s highlight reel, do not resist the comparison. Allow it, analyse the differences and use that knowledge for good instead of evil. Because when you know why you like their performance so much, it will be much easier to find out how to tweak your path to get there.