Last night Carlos went out to a local pub, the Black Horse Pub in Hollister. My dad works at the restaurant owned by the same man, Dr. Mike, and he told us about an open mic night they have every monday at 7. I haven't been into playing music with anyone other than myself and the trees lately. Carlos, however, loves playing as much as ever and rarely has the opportunity to play with other folks.. so we went.
I was already feeling very self conscious before we went because when my dad was telling us about it, he said that Carlos should play there and that it's a place for practiced musicians to play, that I wouldn't be able to just sit around and beat on a drum... So I felt like I wasn't good enough.
In most tasks in my life, I am very self confident. I know that I'm a great gardener, a wonderful artist, an interesting story teller, a good driver, a great cook ... so none of these things make me nervous. As soon as I even think about singing in front of people, I feel like I swallowed a whole melon. My throat swells, my heart races, I get totally anxious and nervous. Needless to say, I did not perform last night. Carlos performed wonderfully with many different musicians and was asked to record music with them and jam with them again. I am very happy for him, but I also felt very distant - especially when he started singing House of the Rising Sun, a song I love to sing but never want to sing in public. My anxiousness made me sad because I want to be free and do whatever I feel like doing every moment of my life. I wanted to sing and share my voice with everyone, but I don't want to for fear of criticism from myself and others.
The people there were so wonderful. We met incredibly kind and warm hearted folks that go there every Monday night. It's like a home for them, it's like family. I told stories and shared my passions, but the most valuable part of the night was near the end.
Teddy is a beautiful lady who played the bass the entire night, with every single musician that went up. She has incredible energy about her. I told her that I loved her music and her energy. She spoke to me saying that she could feel my beautiful energy too. Come to find out, she contacted us 5 months ago when Carlos and I were trying to get a band together. We already had some other guys playing with us, and soon after that I went into my holed up fear of singing again, and this I told her.
She told me the trick to singing is to breathe. That it is all about the breath. She noticed that my breathing is completely wrong for singing and put my hand on her belly to show me how she does it. I have always been breathing into my chest, not into my belly. I don't completely fill up my lungs. Everything makes so much sense to me now! The main thing that bothers me when I listen to my singing recorded is that I sound tense. Carlos doesn't hear, but it's all I hear in my music. An incredible tenseness that makes me feel totally uncomfortable just listening to it. If my breath was deep and easy, my singing would be easy and less tense. I told her I think a lot about the people watching me, the microphones, the amplification... she said not to think about anything - only think about my breath.
Since then I have been practicing my breath pretty constantly! :) I think this will save my life. One day I will be fearless.