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Student Blog: Dear Theater Kid Who Can't Sing


Don't worry! There's hope for us.

Student Blog: Dear Theater Kid Who Can't Sing

Dear Theater Kid Who Can't Sing,

Hi! It's great to meet you. My name is Alexandra, and I'm just like you.

Before we start, may I call you TKWCS? It'll save us time, I believe. Great, thank you, now let's proceed.

So, TKWCS, I'm not sure where you are in life, Maybe you're in high school, or college, or even middle school. Or maybe you're not a TKWCS, but a theater teacher looking to understand and teach the "less talented" kids in your class.

I remember being in my drama class or in rehearsal and feeling so alone, so dejected while my extremely talented peers shone and got the lead roles and formed close bonds with one another.

They were a family, and despite my best attempts, I was never really able to be part of it.

I tried my best. I practiced, I took vocal lessons for a few years, I watched my role models and older students to see how they did it. I received advice from my teacher, who gave me solid encouragement and much-needed constructive criticism. But still, I never felt quite good enough.

My nose was pressed against the glass, but I couldn't find a way inside.

I don't hold an ounce of resentment toward them, or my teacher, who I believe did the best he could to help us all fill our potential; it's not their fault I lacked the confidence and talent to reach that level. It was a matter of my ability to commit my time to get better, and of my struggle to reconcile my fantasy of performing showstoppers weekly on stage with the reality that I wasn't able to dedicate myself in the same way as my peers.

For all the time I spent agonizing and feeling sorry for myself that I couldn't sing or couldn't act as well as the other students, I wasn't focused on the skills I did have.

I just wasn't meant to be on Broadway, but that doesn't mean I lacked talent. The cool thing about theater is that there are tons of different ways to be part of the storytelling process. For me, that turned out to be directing.

I was the director of my drama class's play during my senior year of high school, and the job came more easily to me than almost anything I'd done in that class previously. It was a joy, getting to set the vision and direct the story accordingly. I got to work with my talented peers rather than wish I belonged among them; I already did.

I also found my niche in writing. I did Speech and Debate for several years, and my favorite event involved writing a ten minute persuasive speech. I was hardly ever the "best" or the "most successful" at it, but the joy and inspiration I got from writing those speeches was fundamental to my discovery of journalism and my love affair with writing.

Now, TKWCS, you might be thinking, "But Alexandra, I want to shine! I want to be on stage and sing and act!"

And you can! You don't have to find some other niche if you don't want to. You should pursue whichever path speaks to you, whichever one makes your brain feel warm and tingly, makes excitement rush through you down to your bones.

But if you're like I was, and you want so badly to sing and dance but you just know deep down that you're not cut out for it, don't you dare let that stop you from pursuing a career in theater or the arts if that's your dream.

Moreover, don't forget that there are different ways to "shine" that don't involve setting foot on stage. Performers wouldn't have songs to sing or lines to say or dances to do if there weren't writers and directors and choreographers. They would be performing in front of a white sheet backdrop in their own clothes and only audible for the first three rows, if not for set designers and costume makers and sound technicians.

My experience as a TKWCS showed me that unintended results aren't always bad, and they certainly don't indicate failure. I didn't fail at theater. I discovered different parts of myself and my abilities and learned to be resilient. I made a little space for myself and allowed myself to explore, try new things, and enjoy them. Carve out your own niche, in whatever field you choose, and then milk it for all its worth.

So, TKWCS, you have talent; maybe you've discovered it already and your mind is already auto-filling in the blanks in this letter with memories and inspiration surrounding your talent of choice. Or, maybe you're a little lost, and you haven't found what it is you're looking for. That's okay. In the meantime, keep doing what you know you do like, try new things and be patient with yourself.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Alexandra Lang