You wanna become a better singer? Learn to play an instrument. And by that I mean an instrument with what you can accompany yourself. I noticed in the past few months that playing the guitar while singing helped me. By now I hear the harmonies better. I got more than I bargained for when I finally started playing that guitar. I can’t really say any scientific reason behind it, maybe it is just the fact that you do have to listen to the chords, different notes than what you are singing, while playing them.
For me, my singing is on autopilot and I have to focus on what I play. It could be the other way around, depending with what you started. Or once you are proficient enough, you can do both without thinking too much and just focus on the emotion. I can tell you, I suck in singing harmony. I am not one of those singers who can just wing it, nope. And all this beside the fact that I did spend my fair time in choirs singing harmony…But after I started playing the guitar something changed. By now, it’s easier for me to pick out any harmony in any tune. I mean if I listen to a song on Spotify, I can sing one of the harmony instead of the melody.
If you want to become a better singer, I’d urge you to pick up an instrument, one that you can play harmony on, that is more than one note at a time and learn to play it while you sing. I can hear you now going, but buying an instrument is so expensive. Yes and no. You can get a guitar with 80 euros, no it’s not gonna be very good, but good enough for you to start on. I would also recommend to get one with steel strings but that’s a matter of preference, I guess…And then you go, but I’d need lessons. Yes, that’s right. And yes, they cost you something. But there are other options than private lessons. Zillions of online courses are out there, some for free, some for 10 to 20 euros a month. Or you can join a beginners guitar course in Finland in these Kansalaisopisto things, they cost pretty much next to nothing and you do get the basics. Or just ask your friend who can play to teach you a bit so you can get started.
In the meantime, if you just want to sing harmony, start with this. The easiest way. 😉
It seems that Japan is the place for me where I keep tearing myself apart. Might sound strange, but somehow this land makes me rethink and reinvent myself, good and bad. Maybe it’s in the water…I still have another 3 weeks here, but most of what I came here to do is done, I’m close to the finish line.
Looking back it is as clear as day, it’s was just like 3 act drama. It had everything; inciting incident or call to quest, then the pondering should I or shouldn’t I go, end of act 1, decision and going. For the first part of the second act, everything seemed okay, all was new. Then in the middle something happened. I guess I got tired of the cold, the crappy food, the people, of not seeming to have a purpose, of basically everything. And I got sick. It was all downhill from there, hahhah! I started questioning everything and I really grew a dislike to many things and for the first time I hated Japan. But I don’t think Japan was the problem here.
Half way the following happened. I started questioning what the hell am I doing here? And no, I don’t mind doing the dishes or cleaning or whatever. But I have to be honest here to myself. I do mind that most businesses don’t see people for who they really are, because that’s their business model. They are there to make money. And that’s okay.
Let’s put it out here in the open, money doesn’t motivate me. The problem with me is that I see the potential of people and I have a pretty idealistic view of what could be and how they could be utilised the best. But I know, it’s pretty silly to think that we should do things that change the world, when all they want from you is to make coffee. I guess you see a conflict of interest here? I just can’t seem to be able to wrap my head around this, I feel sorry for losing so much talent. But it’s not an actual problem for the business, it’s all on me. I refuse to believe that what I think of as “the ideal” can’t exist. This is not the first and definitely not the last time that I’ll find myself in similar situations. For my sanity, I decided to accept the fact that I need to change how I look at things.
First of all, I had to get rid of the idea that the universe owes me anything. All that law of attraction stuff, you know, the secret and whatnot, yeah, all cool, but it misleads you. I don’t mind believing that you can achieve anything you want but, the minute you think you are entitled to something just because you are, you go wrong. So I had this revelation that nobody owes me anything. Not the universe, not the next person. What I have and what they owe me is nothing. Might be hard to grasp and you might think it’s a negative way to look at things, but it’s actually quite liberating. You rid yourself of expectations. You stop expecting miracles from others and yourself and just because of that you might end up having a miracle. Because in the end it is what it is, not what it isn’t.
But back to the midpoint. I realised that even though I thought, (again) that finally I do things I want to do, I don’t. I still do things according to what I think others want from me or what’s the norm or to please somebody else’s desires and all that yadda yadda. And that leads to a few things. First, I do not take responsibility of my own life. After all it’s all decided for me, right? I could be okay with that, but because of how I am, I am not. So stop and take responsibility. Unfortunately it’s not that simple. I can’t just turn a switch and stop doing it. It is so deeply rooted that most of the times I dont’ even realise why and for whom I’m doing the things I’m doing.
So I started asking myself what is it that I really want to do? I have no idea. But whatever it is, I need to do it, even if you hurts other people’s feelings. I guess that’s what growing up means, taking responsibility.
With all this and other crap going on in my head I still had to sing, almost every day. A funny thing occurred one day. I’ve been singing Landslide from Fleetwood mac for ages. I thought I really understood the lyrics. Turns out I was wrong. For the first time I really could relate to them and felt them when I sang them.
I also learned that I don’t see the nitty-gritty stuff that needs to be done in order to achieve those huge world changing things. If I only see the big picture it is too big to know where to start doing it. So I do nothing. Yes, nothing. I need to break down things to small stuff. Like if you think about writing, Hemingway said all you need to do is write one true sentence. Well, for me that is a huge thing. It is a burden to try to write meaningful sentences all the time. So the thing to do is just write a sentence, then another. Play one chord and another.
And no, it still didn’t stop there…I knew my weakness is that I have all these great ideas and I’m not able to “sell” them. I can’t seem to make people understand that I don’t want them to buy in to them because they are my ideas, but because they are good ideas. It seems to stop with me. So yeah, maybe time to work on communication skills.
What I learned is that for whatever thing you have the medicine is to do the job. Just sing. Yes, it is tough to do it day in and out by yourself and regardless of how you feel, you’d need to take that off the table, because the audience is unaware and they need not to be aware of how you feel. You are there for them, not necessarily the other way around.
Resolution? I will never go back again to whom I was.