Thursday 17 October 2013

One day they will realise I am a fraud.....but not today.

So, having apologised for my lack of diary entries recently in my last post, I find I must apologise again. I am actually really busy at the moment which has left me without the brain power to compose a potentially award winning blog *coughs and winks*. Never fear, I am back with a vengeance and should I fail to post once a week you have my permission to tut and roll your eyes.

So what shall we chat about today? I feel it should be summat exciting and interesting as we have reached the milestone of Diary Entry 20. Normally I have a strong idea about what to write but, no, not today. Let's just see what comes out shall we?

I am, thankfully, not feeling sorry for myself at present so you don't have to worry that I am going to harp on about giving up singing and becoming a full time teacher/knitter (although both the teaching and the knitting are going incredibly well at the moment). The problem, if I may call it that, I have right now is that I feel like a fraud in everything I undertake. I don't feel "qualified" to be a singer, teacher or knitter even though I am (I have no formal knitting qualifications I should point out). 

My very first professional opera job (as a principal) was for Scottish Opera (I know, sounds impressive). I say Scottish Opera, it was actually for Scottish Opera-go-round. It is still part of Scottish Opera, just their small scale touring company. I had been booked to do a tour of "Don Pasquale". I was sharing the role of Norina with another soprano (a lovely singer by the name of Caroline Childe). We took our little show to towns and villages in Scotland, literally, in the middle of nowhere. I vividly remember being in a pub in Ballachulish (look it up on the map - middle of nowhere) having done my third (I think) performance as Norina, chatting to the MD and whispering to him that I felt like a total imposter. I hadn't done an opera course (at that point! Funnily enough I got on the opera course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama a few months after I worked for Scottish Opera). I had done some Am-Dram and chorus work for Holland Park but I had never done an opera, as a principal, before. I told him I was sure that someone would "find me out" eventually and tell me to pack my bags and leave. They didn't. They still haven't but I still feel it will happen any day now.

I have the same feeling about my teaching. I know I know what I am talking about (most of the time) and yet I still have that niggling voice in my head that tells me the singing teaching police will come banging on my door any day now and tell me to stop corrupting the minds and voices of my poor, unsuspecting students. The fact that each and every student is a better singer now than they were when they started counts for nothing (that was not supposed to sound big headed by the way). I got to thinking about this an hour ago when I was going through some aural tests (you don't need to know what these are, don't worry) with a student and I thought "do you know what, I am not sure I could do these if I were in an exam situation myself". Does this mean I shouldn't teach them? I actually know the answer is I should teach them as just because I can't do them it doesn't mean I don't know how. Does that make sense? For example, I had a student a couple of years ago who did her Grade 6 ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) exam and we worked on the aural tests before her exam. She was a very bright girl anyway but she still needed guidance. She ultimately got a distinction overall and a very high mark for the aural test section so I must have been doing something right.

We are all too prone to judging our own abilities and our right to do something. I try not to judge myself whilst doing something now but think about it a little while later and decide if it was successful or not. More often than not the things I do are relatively successful so until the singing (teaching) police (or the knitting police) break my door down I will keep doing what I am doing and hope that the tasks I undertake remain successful.

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