You are young, eager, impressionable and ready to learn! You are excited to sing, to dance, to paint, to create something, anything! And you want to share this with everyone! Enthusiasm is pouring out of you onto your parents and teachers. ‘Look at what I did’, ‘look at what I can do!.’ Enter the Teachers, enter the adults. Teachers and adults make huge impressions upon us when we are young and we hang on every word they say. They are God. Our early years in school is a time when impressions stick, so if your teacher said to you in music class, ‘could you stand at the back so we can’t hear you,’ or the deadly phrase ‘could you mouth the words?’, our First Impressions are born within us and take up permanent residency status, for-ever until we have an opportunity to change that initial First impression. This can take many years or for the majority of people it will never get change to a healthy impression of enjoyment with our singing voice or our creativity.
These First Impressions on our young, open creative bodies do what this suggests. They impress upon you negative, destructive thoughts into your own psyche that will keep replaying over and over in your thoughts. Thoughts such as ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘My voice sounds terrible’, or, ‘I don’t have the confidence.’ The inner critic is alive and well and has made a home in you. The inner critic does its job and keeps you far away from that First Impression that keeps popping up over the years to remind you yet again to ‘stand at the back’, or ‘mouth the words’.
This ‘popping up’ comes in the form of hearing about a new singing group, a choir or a musical opportunity which evokes a very strong feeling inside that seems quite conflicted. First comes the excitement of wanting to jump in and the resounding YES! I want to do that! Shortly following the YES count me in comes the vehement NO! A representative from our First Impression reminding us to stay away, danger! This voice reminds us to stay away from anything that might expose those initial feelings and first impressions from ‘then’.
Over the years we forget the ‘First Impression’ altogether and carry on with life like nothing happened. We stay away from anything creative but that’s what growing up is isn’t it? Being responsible and mature, not having what we really want, it’s part of the sacrifice. Singing is selfish after all and not for me. That’s just crazy talk.
Enter ‘The Authentic Voice’. Uncover your voice and all the critical voices that hide you from your voice, your light, your joy, your creativity. Underneath this First Impression is a profound beauty, freedom and joy that, yes, is still there, waiting for you to turn towards it to pronounce an affirmative YES, that is for me!
Over the many years that I have been teaching singing and expression I have come across the countless many that tell me their story of their First Impression. I am always so shocked first and foremost that they were told that and also of the impact this has had on their lives. There is a split that happens at that time that is very painful and to go near this at first can feel impossible to say the least.
“There’s a way back and there’s a way through that doesn’t leave behind any part of you.” A line from one of my songs that really speaks to this critical First Impression. Brave are those who walk towards this fire to claim their stolen power and take it back. “Fly into the flames and let it burn, and give into the space that makes you yearn.” Indeed.