Lessons learned from #100daysofsinging

Posted by Catherine Elms on August 28, 2014 Blog posts | | No comments

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Behind the scenes!

6 weeks ago, I started an Instagram challenge titled 100 Days of Singing – you can read more details about the challenge here.

However, after 1 month I decided to stop.  I always feel a bit icky about not completing things I said I would, but ultimately I wasn’t enjoying the challenge anymore, plus one video a day was starting to get really spammy and I felt like I was inundating my Instagram followers with lots of similar content.  While there is value in pushing through one’s discomfort a lot of the time, with this challenge it just felt right to stop after 1 month.  I didn’t want to force myself to keep doing something I wasn’t enjoying – I want my art to be fun, expressive and playful, not repressive and an obligation.

With retrospect, 30 days would have been better, or a video once a week – I didn’t quite realise how big the challenge was until a few days in!  I still completed it for 1 month, am pleased that I gave it a go, and learned some useful insights along the way:

1. What I look like when I sing

I very very rarely see myself perform, unless someone takes a decent video of me at a gig, so this was really useful.  The biggest performance problems that I noticed were a) how much I bare my teeth when I sing, and b) how much I look at my hands when playing.  Forcing myself to look at the iPad screen while recording was a really useful exercise in addressing both these issues!  I also got more comfortable seeing myself sing, and I no longer cringe when I watch videos of myself performing.

2. To suck it up and keep singing even when I look/feel like shit

I read somewhere that the difference between a professional and an amateur is that professionals keep working even when they don’t feel like it.  I always try to apply that principle to my art.  I had a few bad/emotional days during the month, but I knew that if I started slacking off when I didn’t feel 100% then I might start only making videos when I felt up to it (which would probably only be on the 3 days a week when I’m not in work all day!).  Similarly, on days when I looked tired, or had no make up on (and couldn’t be bothered to put make up on just to record a 15-second video), or just wanted to stay snuggly and scruffy in my PJs, I forced myself to keep playing, to not give in to my lizard brain.  And I always felt so much better afterwards.

3. To share my art even when it’s unfinished/unpolished

The most difficult thing about 100 Days of Singing was choosing to upload videos that were a bit sketchy/pitchy/awkward, just because I didn’t have a spare hour to keep practicing until those 15 seconds were pitch perfect and technically accomplished.  It was good for me to upload the less-than-perfect videos, because every time I still received a good amount of positive feedback, and zero negative comments as I’d feared!

In case you missed some of my videos, here are my favourites! Comment and let me know what you think? :)

Have to Drive by Amanda Palmer

Toby Songs by Catherine Elms (featuring Toby)

Devils and Gods by Tori Amos

Monochrome by Catherine Elms (live on Radio Tircoed)

Asleep by The Smiths

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