Map: a two dimensional representation of our three-dimensional world. Historically, a drawing of the world beyond the walls of your village. A drawing of a world unknown to you.
In the days before humans flew, maps could be drawn but one way: someone had to travel somewhere and draw what he saw. So maps of large areas were generally put together little by little, and by contributions from several cartographers. Unknown and uncharted areas were often depicted with a drawing of a fierce serpent, and these words:
Here be Dragons
Singers are, almost by definition, explorers. They are exploring their voices, their musicality, their potential, and often the possibilities their singing holds for them as people. The people who seek voice lessons are people who are willing to explore uncharted territory. Simply by committing to voice lessons they show they’re willing to take the risks others might not.
There are dragons there, of course. A few are called What If I Can’t Do This, and What If the Teacher Laughs At Me, and Who Do I Think I Am. These dragons are easily seen by many singers, most of whom no voice teacher will ever meet.
Explorers continually find themselves on the edge of their uncharted territory. Most fear the dragons that may be looming there. Some press on in the face of fear. Some do not. Some scoff at the idea of dragons, imagining instead a land full of happiness and promise.
Here’s the thing, though. Dragons or not, explorers MUST explore. It’s who we are. It’s how we’re made. We are not the people who watch the band or choir or production and say, “What a delightful presentation”! We are the people who watch that show with desire bubbling beneath our skin. We want to go where those singers are. We cannot passively enjoy the postcards sent from that unknown place; we feel the pull to go there.
But, often, here be dragons.
Allison said, “I want to record my songs, but what if they’re no good”?
Monica said, “I want to join a band but what if I audition and they don’t want me”?
Ron said, “I know I’m ready to audition for Equity shows, but I hate the rejection of not getting cast”!
D.K. said, “That group sounds perfect for me, but in their picture they all look young and white, and I’m neither”!
Dragons, dragons, dragons. They’re everywhere.
It must be, though, that true explorers have it within them to challenge dragons. Explorers will not resist the call to move forward simply because of a fear - a dragon - someone else drew on their map.
Though you know your journey could be dangerous, you also know you can face whatever comes your way. You believe in your mission and are pulled by your desire, because that is who you are. You learn about your journey from those who have gone before, go that far, and then farther into a new land. Into an experience that is all your own. And then, if you choose to, you can chart that territory for someone coming after you.