Welcome back! Happy Monday; I hope you had an amazing Easter weekend! In my last post, I shared an anecdote from my Improv 101 class and talked about conquering my fear of horses. I shared some of my history of singing in front of various crowds and discussed most people’s biggest fear: public speaking. I wrote about the journey that led me to my first musical improv class and am now going to discuss the path that led me to my Indie Musical Improv Team “Garage Band.”
I wrote before that Musical Improv is nothing if not magic. I truly feel that way, and I’m so grateful I chose to starve my ego and feed my soul when making the decision as to whether or not I wanted to sign up for that original 101 class. Do you ever look back on a decision you’ve made and realize there is no way you would ever consider changing your mind given the chance? That’s what Musical Improv has been for me. Personally, I don’t make a habit of second-guessing my decisions. When you’re an independent person, you recognize the value that lies in a choice. I’ve been making my own choices in my life for a very long time, so I’ve got my own personal, tried-and-true system that works for decision-making.
Second-guessing past decisions is an ego-based action when you analyze its core. It often lives in a place of bitterness and resentment and includes an heir of “if I had just chosen differently, my life would be better.” That sentiment, however, is not true because people who feel this way are most often the types of people who won’t view their lives as better even if it is the case. Usually, if you’re second-guessing a decision you’ve made, it’s because you weren’t listening to your soul in the first place or because you were listening to your soul but decided to ignore it and listen to your ego instead, letting the opinions of others influence your life.
It would’ve been easy to listen to my ego when it came time to sign up for the 201 level of Musical Improv. But as I’ve said before, your ego just gives your excuses. I listened to my soul, and my soul gave me a beautiful list of legitimate reasons why I could choose myself and, by doing so, choose to pursue this path. Listening to my soul forged me forward into the 201 level where I grew so much as a Musical Improviser and as a human being. I was able to push myself, challenge myself, and learn about myself - all to a soundtrack I was making up as I went along!
My 201 class was a mashup of 3 different 101 sections. With the exception of me, half the class knew each other from 101A and the other half of the class knew each other form 101B. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little out of place in that first class. If I’d listened to my ego instead of my soul, I could’ve chosen to withdraw and wait until I knew more people. But, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I listened to my soul and decided to stick around. I was definitely outside of my comfort zone, but that’s where magic happens.
I met so many great people in that 201 class who I see all the time in the Musical Improv scene, and I have so much respect and admiration for each and every one of them. I’ve met so many amazing people in the world of Musical Improv, and the people I’ve met in my 101 and 201 level classes are no exception. You can really tell when people genuinely love what they do, and that’s how it feels in the community - just a bunch of people doing something they love. It’s inspiring and utterly fulfilling.
It’s also in 201 where I met a few of my teammates from Garage Band. I’ll never forget the excitement I felt when I got the email asking me if I’d be interested in joining the team. Excitement doesn’t even begin to cover it, but I was definitely thrilled and absolutely grateful. When we perform a set during a show, we all agree to this idea of “follow the fun.” It basically means that whatever ideas have been established in our opening number or in a previous scene, we find the thing we think was the most fun and we follow that idea in our scene to build out the world we’re creating. When one of us on “Garage Band” follows the fun, it ends up becoming a beautiful cycle where someone creates more fun for another teammate to follow, who then creates even more fun for another teammate to follow. I’m so grateful I followed the fear and then followed the fun in my life. Had I not listened to my soul and made the choice to stay in that 201 class were I felt a little out of place at first (which, of course, was my ego talking), the team known as “Garage Band” might never have come to fruition.
And if “Garage Band” had never formed, I wouldn’t get the chance to perform with and alongside so many amazing, talented, funny people at the Del Close Marathon in Manhattan at the end of June. And all of these amazing things that have been happening in my life and my Musical Improv journey all started with my choice to say yes to what my soul was telling me and to tell my ego to take the backseat.
So if there’s something you’re thinking about trying but you feel hesitant, find somewhere quiet, grab a notebook, and start writing about why you’re feeling that hesitation. When you feel like you’ve written enough, stop, turn to a new page, and now write down all the reasons you want to do the new thing. When you feel like you don’t have anymore to write, read what you wrote down, and then read it again out loud. When you’re reading out loud, pay attention to how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling self-conscious, it’s because something you’ve written is based in your ego. If you’re feeling excited, it’s because something you’ve written is based in your soul. Listen to the soulful scribbles; that’s the good stuff.
Del Close Marathon at the end of June is an event for which I’m really excited. Being from the Philadelphia area, it’ll provide me the opportunity to see many friends and family. I’m extremely grateful I get to see loved ones while also being able to do what I love. I often get asked why I chose Los Angeles over New York, which I think is a good topic for my next post! So, I’m going to pause here for now. And, of course, as always, if you have any pressing questions or if you want to discuss something further, feel free to subscribe below or reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m here for you!