When you move from one place to another, you really miss some things. Little things, like your favorite corner market or pastry shop; meaningful things, like routine, friendships, and hangouts.
I’ve moved a lot – from one coast to the other and in between. Each time there would be things I missed dearly, from friends and community to sandy beaches and trails, like the one I would run alongside the Delaware River, right where George Washington fought for our freedom.
Part of my moves included circling back – or so it seemed - from Michigan to New Jersey, to Ohio, and back to Michigan again. But as they say, you can never go back home. It’s true - once change happens, you can't expect it to be the same when you return. When we returned to Michigan after a ten-year absence, we had changed. Michigan changed. Even though we were just on another side of town, the second time around, it felt like a completely different place.
During this pandemic, I have already experienced similar circumstances and emotions with my teaching studio. I really miss seeing my singers in person. I miss their hugs, and I miss sitting on the floor with them while we pick something from my bag of percussion instruments. I miss making unison music together in real-time. I miss tossing them a prop to experience a subtle shift in their sound and pointing to their sheet music where they need to make a notation of something important. And I really miss them shuffling through my basket of stickers, looking for just the right one to add to their collection of accomplishments.
But new things are happening. Wonderful things. In fact, that last time I moved, I had to leave all my singers behind, and they found new teachers. Now, thanks to technology, they can continue to study with me and continue the journey we began together. Believe it or not, with online teaching, there have been fewer distractions, and consistency is paying off. Gone are the days of multiple cancelations from transportation mix-ups, sick kids, and over-scheduled calendars. We now meet nearly every week with a new-found understanding of how we can use technology to share our singing with family far away. We can practice by sharing videos and use new resources to connect.
We have used creativity to pick percussion instruments from around their home instead of from my bag. Seeing their personal space where they sing and practice has also been a great advantage. It allows us to examine their area and adapt it for efficient practice. One of the most significant and most powerful changes has been each singer's ability to really listen to themselves and develop a better sense of self and independence. I have seen more growth in their singing and in their hearts than ever before.
So, as I now settle again into a new life here in New York, I already see tremendous changes happening. While I am always sad to close a door, I am always inspired by opening a new one. I have already found growth and beauty all around me. Sure - I miss many things from recent move, but I have already forged new and meaningful friendships in my new neighborhood. I can even sink my toes in the sand, once again. But this time it's the Atlantic coast, and instead of seeing the sunset, I see the sunrise!
What about you? What new buds are growing in your garden?
Are you a voice teacher who is looking for ways to adapt to the change? Drop me a line and let me know – I’m happy to see if I can help.