Bird on a Wire with the Moon

Risk, continued

By Guest Blogger, Carolyn Cook.

This month I am taking the risk I’ve written about several times: I’m singing a *recital in just a few short days.

I’ve done so much to prepare for this that it feels like less of a risk than it did. But it’s still challenging, and I’m still nervous. I think I will be jubilant when it’s actually happening. I imagine myself standing in front of my friends, in a space I love, singing music I’ve chosen, and smiling from ear to ear. I can already feel the glow that will fill me when I realize I’m actually doing this.

I want to risk experiencing that glow. I want to let myself relax about everything that’s worrying me.  I want to risk feeling excitement, joy, and freedom as I sing. I want to prepare as much as I can prepare, and then let go.

Simply deciding to do this concert has brought about a change in my life. When you decide to work on your voice, you start poking around a part of yourself that feels very vulnerable.  How we speak is a huge part of who we are, or at least who we think we are. Choosing to release tension in my voice requires admitting that the tension is there. I’ve had to work in two directions:  physically, releasing bodily tension to let my soul sing, and spiritually, releasing soul tension to let my body sing.

One of my voice coaches says that we sing as a gift to others. We take a song and polish it so that we can give it away. I find that to be a beautiful image, because it takes the focus off me, the singer, and puts it on the gift and on the recipient. Self-consciousness, the source of my tension, dissolves as I focus on giving something away.

Here’s what he says about taking a deep breath to sing: “Fill the basket, and then feed the masses.” Isn’t that lovely? If I hadn’t decided to risk a concert, I never would have learned that.

What I’m saying is that risking this concert has turned out to be a gift to me. I’ve learned a great deal, not just about vocal technique, but about speaking the truth and sharing my heart. I think my next risk is simply to keep taking this one, and see where it leads.

This post first appeared on my RiskADay blog project, which has now concluded.

*A note from Laura: Check out this short, delightful video taken right after Carolyn’s recital by clicking here. Enjoy!

Carolyn Cook is a sometimes peaceful, sometimes frazzled individual who works to raise a daughter, build a marriage, and explore the human condition through theatre, art, music, history, literature, and relationship. She now blogs at