Your Words = A Thousand Pounds


“We’re a little south of the pitch.”

“I think the chord is a little under.”

“You can sit down into the melody more.”

“Let’s brighten the sound a little bit.”

“Let’s get a fresh pitch before we start again.”

I’ve been sitting in a few music rehearsals over the last few weeks. These were the phrases used to describe a number of blatant tuning issues. Knowing that trouble tuning is often a singer’s most sensitive area, not once did the music director use the words flat or sharp.

This director has keyed into a vital truth. As the leader of the rehearsal, with a bunch of performers nervously waiting for their moment to prove themselves, he knew his words would have the potential to weigh a thousand pounds. His words and direction have staying power to brand an artist as good or not, worthy or not, talented or not…even if only in the artist’s own head.

I am not condoning sugar coating, being indirect, or unclear. On the contrary. Rehearsals and directors with those descriptors drive talented artists crazy! Artists want to fix the problem quickly and move on to being great. But, being direct and clear does not give license for being short or rude.

“Well, that might work for you, Rob. But I just don’t have time to choose my words carefully. My artistic vision and the problems I see and hear must be blurted out in a flurry of sharpness and pointed critiques. It’s just the way I work.”

Ok, well, let me know how that goes for you.

In the mean time, here’s the truth: The words you use and the intent you choose matters.


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