It’s officially been almost two months since my graduation, and I’ve been hard at work – instead of giving myself a “summer vacation” I’ve been trying to learn and absorb as much as I can from every opportunity and experience that has come my way.
Something I’m continuing to learn as I audition, train, work, and audition and train some more (you can generally always find me at Broadway Dance Center or Pearl Studios nowadays), is that what people really respond to in a room is a true, honest, open human being. Which is SO SIMPLE and yet still, so difficult sometimes. But as I continue to grow as an artist I keep trying to remind myself of an incident that happened to me while taking a walk through Central Park last spring, which I hope is the kind of event that happens to everybody at least once:
I had just begun teaching myself how to play ukulele at the time, so I had been practicing in the park, and was heading home, carrying my uke in its little case. A street musician who had been drumming, who I believe was named Brian, stopped me and asked if I wanted to play and perform with him for a bit. Even though I knew I could only jam a few songs out, if that, I for some reason still sat down next to him. I really have no idea why – maybe the universe led me to him. Anyway, he gave me a few tips on how to really strum a beat then asked me if I could sing along and I tentatively said “Well, I don’t know all of the words to the songs I can play or anything…” and he told me that if I forgot the words, just sing whatever I felt like to whatever tune I wanted, and it would work. He practiced improvising a musical conversation with me for a bit and then we started jamming. I played and fudged my way through some Jason Mraz and some Adele and then put my uke down and just started singing whatever I felt like, forgetting that I was in the middle of Central Park on a bustling Saturday afternoon. Those that were walking or sitting nearby clapped when we finished a song. Some tourists even came and took a video of us, having their young son stand near us as we played and sang. After about 45 minutes of jamming with Brian, I thanked him and told him that I should probably head home and take care of the rest of my to-do list for the day. Before I left, he looked me square in the eyes and told me, “Never be afraid to let your voice be heard.”
In this day and age, SO much is happening and people are finally speaking and letting their voices be heard. There are a lot of opinions out in the world on a lot of different topics, but so long as we all continue to make what’s important to us known, and to listen when others raise their own voices, we can create a positive change. I haven’t seen Brian since this incident, but I’m sure he’s in some park jamming away, spreading little bits of joy through his music. I only hope that I can continue to use my voice, both literally and figuratively, to do the same.