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How to Start Singing Professionally (part 2)

Updated: Feb 26, 2022

There’s a TED talk by Reshma Saujani called Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection. Saujani is the founder of Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit working to close the gender gap in tech.

In this talk, Saujani says:

…at the fifth-grade level, girls routinely outperform boys in every subject, including math and science, so it's not a question of ability. The difference is in how boys and girls approach a challenge. And it doesn't just end in fifth grade. An HP report found that men will apply for a job if they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, but women, women will apply only if they meet 100 percent of the qualifications. 100 percent. This study is usually invoked as evidence that, well, women need a little more confidence. But I think it's evidence that women have been socialized to aspire to perfection, and they're overly cautious.


The need to be perfect before you begin, or to happen upon the perfect situation before you perform, might be so normal to you that you don’t even notice it.


Today, walking my dog, I was thinking about some singers I’ve known, both students and colleagues, and I remembered this talk. Because yes…in my experience the singers who wait to be perfect before they begin are nearly always female. And their numbers are abundant.

Sometimes they’re not only waiting for themselves to be perfect, they are also waiting for the world to become perfect. The perfect group of people or the perfect situation may someday present itself, and when it does the singer will feel safe. When she feels safe, she will sing.