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Monday, November 7, 2011

Braving End Results

I promise, I'll get to the Opera part in just a moment...

It's November. In my world, it's Movember.
I'm doing something really brave, for me:
Knowing exactly just how awful the End Product is going to be, I've decided to join the "Movember" movement to raise money for Prostate Cancer and grow a mustache.
I've grown a beard before and ended up looking rather frazzled and odd. I've gone for a goatee-ish thing every now and then, but always shave it off because it looks way too scraggly. There's also the gray whiskers that stare back at me in the mirror...
But now I've really committed to this for the month of November. I've joined the tens of thousands of other guys currently sporting hairy lips, and even have a site that you can donate money to:
I urge you to give, as it's for a very good cause. My father died after a five year battle with cancer a number of years a go, and this is a small way for me to honor him (and boy could he grow a GREAT mustache!) while raising money for a very worthy cause.
It's also put me in the ranks of Justin Trudeau and a whole bunch of Canadian hockey players who have all decided to do the same thing. Lots of friendly nods from guys on the metro or on the street who recognize the first furtive steps of the thing growing under my nose...
Because you see, the End Product is supposed to be a pretty fantastic MOUSTACHE (to use the alternate spelling) by the end of November after 30 days of growth.
Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that in about another 5 days I'm going to be getting sad, head-nodding looks from people; the "what was he thinking?!"
It's worrisome -- what will I look like?

Which brings me to compare this month of growing a Mo to OPERA,(as promised.)

If one starts down the path of learning a new role, (or a new aria,) thinking mostly about the End Result -- and by that I mean anything from "This is going to fail" to "This will get me my first professional contract" to "Mozart wrote this with my voice in mind" to "There is NO way this fioratura is going to work in my voice before the decade is out" -- that path of learning will quickly either disappear into dust or lead you so far astray you'll never leave the forest (or find it, depending on which metaphor works for you...)

I am braving the physical end result of my as-yet-unknown mustache because I'm trying to embrace the PROCESS. For me that's declaring my intent, signing myself up on the site, getting my site up, Tweeting about it, posting on Facebook about it, writing this blog, shaving every morning while trying to figure out how to trim a growing mustache without making it look lopsided, etc.

Singers need to boldly brave their new music, their next audition, their next gig, their next coaching, their next operatic encounter the same way. Concentrate on the process of what's at hand and not the final product down the road. Sometimes it takes a long while for a new aria to "fit", it can take dozens and dozens of auditions before one finally gets hired, it can take numerous teachers before the right one comes along. During these processes, things can be awkward; as ungainly as a shaggy half grown in mustache. However, if you're going through your process for the right reason (stretching your limits, creating art, enjoying making music with others, expanding your repertoire, realizing your dream, or raising money for Prostate Cancer), then the End Product, your Result, will ultimately fulfill you in ways unlooked for, regardless of how successful they might be deemed by others.

Please donate at: