My choir, the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, is traveling to Chicago in a few weeks to sing in the American Choral Directors Association conference. It’s considered a big deal in the choral world, and of course we want to bring our A game. So last night at rehearsal, our director taped us singing all our numbers, and the recordings were waiting in our inboxes this AM.
The idea is that we are supposed to listen to the recordings, and figure out what we’re doing right and wrong. Simple enough, right? But I know that most people hate doing this. Listening to a choir is one thing because yours is one voice among many, but it’s much harder to listen to one’s own solo singing or presentations. Watching ourselves on video can be excruciating. The 360 degree mirrors in What Not To Wear always make people cringe. The truth — with all your ums, playing with your hair, rumpled pants and so forth — can hurt.
But here’s the thing: It’s almost impossible to get better at something if you don’t look, objectively, at what you’re doing and analyze the weak spots. Getting honest, unfiltered feedback, and then practicing the tough spots, is the quickest way to improve at anything. It’s one reason blogging is good for a writer. People tell you what they think! And a reason I’ll be sending out chapters of this new book soon, hoping that with all that feedback, I’ll be able to create something more readable than I would otherwise.