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Quieting the Grumblies

It's a funny thing, teaching. A big part of my day job involves one-on-one voice lessons and coaching sessions with high school students, and I can honestly say it's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. Learning to sing is so much more than Learning To Sing: it teaches confidence, patience, and the need to have a sense of humor about yourself, and it's a huge privilege to accompany these students on their journeys. A singing voice is also inextricably tied to a person's sense of self-worth, and so a lot of what I do is teach these students how to fight the nagging little voices in their heads that tell them they're not good enough.

This was all well and good until a particularly astute twelfth grader turned to me and said, apropos of nothing, "Mr. Fuller, you're not too great at following your own advice, are you?" After making her swear up and down not to spill the beans about my own hidden hypocrisy, I was forced to admit that, no, I too often let the Who Do You Think You Are Grumblies win the day. And then something funny happened. I started having to follow my own advice a little bit. Not all the time -- no one's that good -- but in little ways, like thinking the music I make is good enough for other people to listen to. It sounds pretty dumb when written out that way, but I think a lot of creative people have this voice, and one of the biggest hurdles is getting over that.

And wouldn't you know it, once the Grumblies got quieter, everything got so much easier -- and not just successes, either. A year ago, a rejection from a small club would have dissuaded me from sending my materials out for a good month at least. This time around? I got a rejection and responded with "thanks for your consideration, I'll be in touch in a few months when I've played more in the area." Then, in a moment of what can only be described as poetic justice, I was invited the next morning to play an hour set live on WVIA-FM, with the set to be broadcast on television at some point in the near future. I also had a short feature written about me on Renowned for Sound that weekend, which means I seem to be in a fun part of this career where if I push just a little, the Universe shoves the rest of the way. I'll take it.

I've got no idea where this all is going, but I'm having almost too much fun to be allowed and I am fully prepared to ride this crazy wave, whatever it ends up being.

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