I have heard this many times and I found it hard to believe till my 11 year old son taught me how it works in reality.
The quote was popularised by John F Kennedy and it means that when the economy is performing well everyone does better. The idea that someone doing badly is not necessary for others to do well. That success is not a limited resource.
Until yesterday I thought it sounded good but I struggled with believing in. I wanted to but this idea of limited resources has been drilled into us since birth so it’s hard to resist.
It’s half term, my 7 year old is an exhausting bundle of Disney Plus joy. This week it’s Mary Poppins (1 and 2), dancing with brooms, singing in bad Cockney accepts and getting Emily Blunt’s name wrong – yes he did, no he didn’t know what it meant. My 11 year old, on the other hand, is pretty much only living life on Roblox and coming out to eat and grunt.
I dragged them out yesterday to a local suburb to get a bank account for 11 year old, (which was a disaster as no one told me to bring his ID sigh). Then we went to a cake shop where the cakes were weird but looked good, but then we hit gold in a charity shop.
3D Noughts and Crosses.
We have a 3D Connect 4 that he beats me at 2 out of 3 times and I’m ok with that, I like the challenge but this new game was so annoying. He was thrashing me. Every time. I tried and within 3 moves I’d lost. Over and over. Now I’m always proud to have a smart kid but this was just irritating.
Then he showed me which move you need to do to make sure that you win the game. After that we were almost an even match. He won a bit more than half of the games. I won some, he got some decent competition.
A rising tide lifted all boats, or all players, and the game was better for us both.
What does this actually mean to a singer?
The contradicts a few concepts that might stop us signing up for singing lessons.
The idea that it is selfish to do something for yourself.
That singing lessons are an indulgence in some way. NO! Does your input into the world become more or less positive if you are happier? As proved by my 11 year old. If you are happier, you make those around you happier. So it’s a win win.
That you can never be as good as that amazing singer who gets all of the solos.
So what? You can be great in your way and they can never be better than you at that. You are both ships rising on a tide of great singing. Your increased passion for singing will only bring more music into your and other people’s lives. Also, some people might like your voice better than theirs. Plenty of people rate Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and they are not exactly the most obviously beautiful voices.
So do that thing for you, share the gifts you have, as you never know how that raised tide will benefit you.
This blog is with thanks to The Speakeasy Co-operative, an online international singing teacher forum.