Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is It Really Empowering to Be a Critic?

These Kids on American Idol really have a lot of pressure on them to suddenly take singing, which they love to do so much to a whole new level - A GLOBAL ONE. Not only are many of them learning as they go, but they get to be watched, by millions of people at the same time.

After watching tonight's episode, I just had an even deeper feeling of compassion for all of the singers - even the crazy ones like Nick Mitchell, aka, Norman Gentle (who is actually quite a smart fellow).

I know there are a zillion people out there blogging and vlogging about Idol, making judgements on everything from their voice to what kind of pants they were wearing. There's a part of me that just cringes, because I do feel this can be so destructive in building an nurturing the most humanly divine instrument there is. Our voice is connected to our Mind, Heart and Body, and because of this, it's the most vulnerable thing on earth to sing. Keep in mind too, that the way we judge others always reflects back on ourselves. How do you think and feel about your own voice?

I've been working with singers and teaching since the mid 80's, when I was a kid, and I think I have been in just about every position imaginable - from feeling completely humiliated on stage to feeling like an empowered, connected diva. It's taken me a long time to figure out how to build my own voice and even though I was born with a natural talent, I learned that owning my self esteem played a HUGE role in how effectively I sang. The more I learned how to connect to what I liked about myself, and accept where I was at in that moment, the more I was able to grow. My 6 years of Higher Education and 4 Degrees didn't teach me that. Neither did the 20 plus years of teaching. Actually having to endure and overcome pain, trauma and conflict in my own life did. I know if it were not for the people who reached out in compassion that believed in me, I would not be where I am today.

I mention these things because we all suffer and have to endure pain. And we all know it's how we choose to use the "stuff" we go through, that will make or break us. We can use our experiences to have more compassion and love for others.

How does this become music? Take a look at Danny Gokey. He's the perfect example of channeling his experiences into his vocal expression. Danny's wife just passed away 7 months ago and it left him traumatized. Taking the ENERGY of what he felt, connecting his heart to it and using it to move forward in a positive, passionate way inspired many. That takes courage, will power, and confidence. Through it, we heal. Now he says he's on a mission. I'm excited for him because that boy, along with many of the other contestants, can saaaaang!

Have you ever wondered why you are addicted to American Idol? Or why you're not? Interesting thing to think about - isn't it? Some people can't stand the show - I used to never watch it myself because I couldn't stand the criticism... but now I know I have a way to reach out to the contestants, and I'm so glad about this!

We never know what others have endured in life or what brought them to where they are now. Whether we have a "Hollywood Story" or not, we're all humans, and humans grow from love and respect. Beautiful voices come from a passionate, connected heart. So, my message today is - the next time you watch American Idol, or listen to anyone sing, for that matter, try and hear more of where they're coming from. Listen to their energy and find something you like about it. This will help that person to grow if they are receptive. See how it feels to come from a deeper place from within yourself as you listen, and know that they are opening up themselves on some level. Appreciate that - because some day, it just might be you, and wouldn't you want the same?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dot's American Idol Blog - Episodes 8 & 9

Well this week, I enjoyed Idol, but I have to say, there sure was a lot of DRAMA, which makes for good reality TV!
Truth is, the nature of the Music industry can be very dramatic...nonetheless, I’m interested in the stuff beneath the surface, so I'm not going to mention the obvious here.

Isn't it amazing to see what people do when they’re under stress? Hopefully after viewing these episodes, we can recognize that this show is not just about finding pure talent, is it? Stress has a way of pointing us to our weakness.
Watching how these singers responded in the situation of being forced to co-operate, learn and come up with something to perform in a group, as well as let their light shine was something to learn from. I asked myself the question after certain people got cut - "why?" Then I rewound my tivo and watched more closely.

Some of the people who got cut were not quite present, or let someone else get the best of them. This wasn't always the case, I'm sure, but the parts we were allowed to see showed groups that had obvious conflict and obvious synergy.

If you want to know more specifics about why I thought some of the contestants got kicked off you can go to the Members section of my website, click on Dot's Idol Vlog and Dot's Idol Notes.

In the meantime....
Let's address how to help you as singers get through Hollywood week next year.
It’s always easy to point fingers at other people and see the obvious - but what would YOU do in those situations?

HERE’S THE KEY to becoming an authentic, empowered singer:

Recognize that SINGING IS NOT about you, it’s about how your energy allows others to feel.

After watching the show, you can ask the following questions and write about them in your vocal journal.
1. How do you feel about yourself?
2. How much are you willing to allow your true VULNERABLE self to feel comfortable around others?
3. How much are you willing to SURRENDER to the moment and let go - while staying connected to who you are?

It’s easy to point fingers - but look at the people who made it through and think about if you have the characteristics beyond talent, such as: flexibility, kindness, drive, stamina, focus, presence, authenticity and diplomacy. If not, how will you develop these traits?

Well, it certainly doesn't mean that every person who made it to the top 36 is a fully developed masterful human, and that the people who got cut aren't, but I guarantee that having these traits will help you win as a singer, and keep you sane as a human being!


Get on a regular routine of inner-self improvement. If you don’t know what this means, visit my website at There's a lot of great info on there, from vocal health and well being, to the psychology behind great singing and how to master the mind. You can also get my "Practicing with C.O.R.E. Power CD", which teaches you how to center, breathe, resonate and enjoy the sound of your voice, as well as warm it up properly.

After watching this week's episodes, can you deny that there's more to making it, than meets the eye? I'm not saying that Idol is a true representation of the Music Industry, but one thing is very true about American Idol: the people are real souls, and their talents and spirits are evolving under a lot of pressure, and that aspect can be very true to the Music Industry. At the end of the day, it's about personal choice. Do you choose to believe you can do it and are you willing to believe in yourself and work towards your dream, no matter what?

These are some things for you to think about. The next time you have a stressful situation, or someone behaves in a way you wouldn't want them to, think about how you can effectively deal with that stress, and get the coping skills to stay sane, happy and balanced in an ever-evolving world.

To read Dot's Exclusive Notes on American Idol Contestants she took while watching the show, click here