Last night I had a great class courtesy of MaxTheatrix -- six of us (and a coach and a pianist) in a room for a few hours, trying out new things and working out old things and finding our own versions of homeruns in the audition room. It's one of my favorite places to be: getting to use the time, the expertise, the mini-audience, however I need or choose to that week; getting to watch and support five other artists as they get up and do the same; the lessons learned from doing my work, and those learned from the gracious and generous work of my classmates; the joy of the music and the stories we tell and how each performer is so unique. For my part I tried out some new material, including finding a cut of one of my album songs (thanks, Mike Pettry). I have some vocal growth ahead of me before I can show that song who's boss (me? a challenge? no!), and so to stand in a room - in front of people! - and sing the whole thing, through, without stopping or giving up or commenting on it - was a minor feat.
It sounds so elementary. And I consider class a safe space (I wasn't trying it for the first time in the audition room, for pete's sake). And yet, and yet. It still amazes me how nervous I can get before certain situations that theoretically have no stakes and no consequences.
But I wasn't. I still have all the little stories I tell to deflect things; all the excuses I make and extraneous gestures and running commentary that is so apparent when I see it in other performers and yet it pours out of me from I know not where as soon as I get up in the hot spot. But I've come a long way.
And the most amazing thing, to me, was how un-amazing it was. There were no trumpets and I didn't have a major breakthrough and I didn't cry, or make my audience cry, either. I just sang a song, and I didn't make it mean any more than that. In fact, I barely noticed how easy and unremarkable it had all been until later - because I guess sometimes the best kind of growth and change happens a bit at a time, when you're not looking.