Today, here in the US, is the day of Thanksgiving. And, as we all know, reflecting on what we are grateful for is a very powerful activity.

As we get into reflecting on what we are grateful for, the more things pop up in our mind. It’s one of those things that expand the more we do.

Gratitude comes easily as a result of success. But I think it's even more valuable if we embrace the belief that gratitude is a precursor to success (however we define success). Perhaps gratitude is even a prerequisite for success.

As I look back, I am exceptionally grateful for having suddenly lost my health, voice and therefore gone broke some years ago.

If it hadn’t happened, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten the kick in the rear to realize the importance of publishing my method that previously had helped so many people.

But the truth is, although I was miserable many times, there was something inside me that knew there was an opportunity. I knew I couldn’t publish anything unless I healed first. I couldn’t speak about health and about improving the body with integrity unless I could be a role model for what was possible. And I knew “healing” wasn't enough. I needed to become stronger, healthier and more knowledgeable than I had been if I were to expect success.

Even then, and every time I face a challenge now, I feel gratitude for the opportunity to grow, improve and learn something I need to learn.

I am grateful for the back injury I had as a kid. Would I ever have become so interested in learning about the body and mind if I hadn’t experienced it? Would I have experienced my achievements in sports if I hadn’t? Would I then have become a performer, coach, etc?

We’ve all heard the old talk about “obstacles being stepping stones to success”. I am immensely grateful that I never believed that it was just “positive talk” from people who already had “made it”, but that I realized at an early age that it is actually true.

Yes, I am of course even more grateful for the painful events after the fact. Let’s face it, it's much easier to talk about being grateful when we no longer are in the moment of despair and pain.

However, I truly believe that reflecting on what we can be grateful for – even if it is just seemingly small stuff – is what becomes the fuel for healing and improving.

And of course I am extremely grateful for YOU – for you who are reading this, for all my customers, clients and members of The Singing Zone. Hearing your stories – your struggles and your successes – is what gives me the reason to do what I do. Your emails, your comments on this blog, your amazing insights and ways of assisting other members in The Singing Zone forum are just phenomenal.

You are inspiring and I Thank You!

As always you are welcome to share your thoughts. Maybe you have found gratitude to be a way that has helped you out of pain?

With gratitude,

Per Bristow

About the author 


  • Several years ago I was to sing a role in” The King and I” in Seattle at the Aqua Theater, but alas my voice was just not coming through. My Lincoln high school choral director came to my rescue. He said Barbara I want you to sing all the vocalises with the words,
    “I Love You” over and over again,…. A miracle my voice just melted into the words,and it opened up .
    Now this has happened with you Per, your calm enjoyable relaxing method have allowed me the courage to sing again,… two solos this Chrismas at our village pageant.
    I was 27 when I sang the “King and I” with the Seattle Symphony and Bob Jeoffrey and now I am 83 and again feeling the absolute joy of opening to an audience.because of your mefthod. I thank you from the bottom of my heart on this Thanksgiving Day.

  • Hi Per,
    When I get back to The States & have time & space for your program, I’ll be happy to join your singing friends! Meanwhile, your gentle & encouraging spirit inspires me, as it does so many others, to stay strong & caring & in touch with the beauty & wonder of life. I give thanks for so much today & every day, including you.

  • I truly appreciate the positive thoughts that have been given by you and I am thankful to GOD that I am able to receive these messages and comments placed here by others. Love and GODs Blessings, To All of You Anita

  • I was touched by what you said Per & just realised, strange though it may sound, that I too should give thanks for your injuries in earlier life because without those setbacks you might not have become the Per that we have learned to know and love.
    So even though I’m not American, I’ll join in your thanksgiving!
    Best wishes

  • Hi Per,

    I am very happy and grateful about your letter.
    My life has been so like yours:
    And still in pain. Every morning I am very grateful: I am alive (studied human biochemistry..)
    I love almost any kind of music that´s for sure, but I feel so calm when I play piano and sing psalms and verses with some God loving people.

    Sincerely Yours
    With Love

  • Yes Per, GOD is ever faithful and Good. He will “Stretch”all of us to be all that he has created us to be, sometimes it hurts when we are going through the fire, but we come out much stronger and with purpose.
    Thanksgiving is to give thanks only to GOD for all he has done!
    Well Done Per.


  • “Perhaps gratitude is even a prerequisite for success”.
    Per, your thoughts contain great wisdom, clearly gained from life’s experiences. Thank you for what you offer to the world. And as another non-American, I wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving holiday.
    Ron, Melbourne, Australia

  • Hi Per

    Big thank you for teaching your system.
    My two importen teachers with the sirname Bristow must me my luck.
    Happy thanksgiving Day.

  • I appreciate you so much, for enormous coaching and
    Happy thanksgiving
    God Bless you Per Bristow…<3

  • Per, I would like to thank you for sharing your reflextion on be grateful in life. I realize now that is easier to be grateful when success is smiling at us, but how about being grateful when I am unemployed for four months now? Yes! I am grateful for my life, my family, for our health, for all the help received, for having food on our table every day for my musical talent with playing my guitar and singing with church choir for the last 18 years… since God never stop taking care of everything in out life mean while we take care of things and people around us.
    As soon as I can, I will sign up for your singing method and then I will really sing and praise my Lord as He deserves.
    Happy Thanksgiving for all in your family and circle of singers around the world. May God continues blessing us all with your talent and sweet soul!
    Jose Luis

  • Per,
    Thank you. Granted the road to recovery is not often easy nor brief; but as you repeatedly remind us, we must not give up. I am so grateful to you and assure you that the “lessons” do indeed go far beyond the obvious into every area of our lives. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  • Your story is an inspiration to all and a blessing to all around the world. Bless you Per. God will reward you for your ministry. Many thanks. Happy thanksgiving.

  • I am not aware of any other country with a national thanksgiving day and I wonder why. I know that in one sense Thanksgiving in the US is seen as a commemoration or even a memorial to the early settlers and they all must have been pretty pleased to have made it through thus far when they first gave thanks but there can be very few , if any, countries with absolutely no reason for giving thanks. Perhaps there are better informed readers who can tell me that there are other national thanksgiving days around or who can assure me that Thanksgiving Day is what it says it is in present day North America

  • Thank you for sharing and being so open and honest.
    Most people I know would never openly damit their pain or feelings of dispair.
    I can deal with pain better since I invite it in and not try to blot it out.
    Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • I truly appreciate your thoughts about Thanksgiving. Here in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October and it’s a wonderful time for families to get together and reflect on all the blessings of life we enjoy in North America. God has blessed you with a wonderful way of teaching us to sing and although I’ve only had a few of your lessons, you have helped me to relax and let out my voice without feeling any strain. Thank you Per for doing what you were meant to do. Your’e a great teacher.

  • I just might be your biggest challenge yet! Can’t sing a note out loud yet in my heart I can…Yet I believe!…Help me please…

  • Mate, I read your words and can see we have shared some of the times you mentioned, I am yet to take the plunge due to finances, but I can say this “you are a good man and your heart is in the right place, may I wish you a great Thanksgiving, to share your life experiences with us and allow us into your private world just shows the type of person you are. We share the same beliefs in life and I feel that 2013 is the year for me to do more for others. Thank you for being a friend!

  • Thanks for sharing Per as is your very generous nature, and thank you for bringing music back into my life and making me realize how important it is in our lives, both in healing and allowing us to express our emotions which might forever remain suppressed. We all have a lot to be thankful for. A very Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends and neighbours everywhere.

  • Per, of all the emails I received today, I am so pleased that I opened yours. Why did I open yours? Because your singing methods restored my singing hobby that had been stolen from my bit by by over the years to the point that I questioned my ability. And now because you shared so openly I can realize that I too, have come to realize that it is in the losing of everything that you gain a new fresh appreciation of the little things. It can make you, if you are open, sensitive and loving to those you meet along the way who have found themselves in similar circumstances. I am grateful for the blessings in my life and today I am grateful that I opened your email it was an unexpected blessing!

  • Hello Per, and Happy Thanksgiving. I so appreciate your letter of gratitude in which you give personal information about some of your own struggles and health issues. I understand pain. I am so looking forward to being able to afford to enroll in your program. I have sung most of my life, and have been a soloist for a lot of years, but within the past 2 years I have developed hoarseness, and sometimes I just can’t sing. Most of the time I don’t trust my voice anymore, so I need and desire your coaching. You sound like such a beautiful person, and I am grateful I have learned of you. Until I can sign up for your lessons, God bless you.

  • It is so important to look at challenges in our lives as a way to learn and grow. Each obstacle, which could defeat us if we let them, is a new opportunity to overcome adversity. The sense of achievement when we rise to the challenge and overcome it is definitely something to be thankful for. Lets keep on keeping on with gladness in our hearts and thank God every day for being there for us.

  • Hello Per,
    I am in month 4 of “Singing With Freedom.” I am 80 yrars old and have never sung well. Therefore, I am thankful for your lessons as my voice is stronger with much more depth. I still have a long way to go but I am enjoying the journey. Thank you for developing such a helpful program.
    Happy Thanksgiving

  • PER, we are all so blessed—i am so thankful to be able to realize that— i feel i was DIVINELY lead to the singing zone–i have been able to sing with more freedom–i sing praises to THE LORD at a nursing home –i am able to relax and enjoy the gift i have been given—i read a email from a lady named LOIS from california—she put in to words so beautifuly the feelings many of us have—thank you for caring for all of us—GOD BLESS AND KEEP US ALL

    Yes, gratitude is a very powerful tool! It is not always easy to practice it, i must admit… but when you start, it just gets going 🙂 Gratitude has led me to the discovery of your program, your method, to the improvement and all those things…
    You are so right about all that!
    You know, the most amazing thing is, when i think about some particular person and why and how much i am grateful for that person… i just get to see them the same day, or get an email from them or a call… No matter where they are in the world, how close or not close we are, what we do or how alike or different we are… it just happens… I suggest for people to try it, this practice! It works like Magic! :))) just express, concentrate GRATITUDE on one person, think why you are grateful for that person, feel that, and you will see, you’ll meet that person the same day!! Or hear from them 🙂
    So YES, gratitude IS an amazing tool, an amazing practice! Practice it no matter what! Even in the darkest moments, it saves, it makes you feel better, it makes the blues go away sooner and faster! It calls in the success in your life!

  • Thank you so much for your inspiring letter. It is very encouraging to know that really obstacles are stepping stones to success. I am from Mumbai, India. I am 64 years of age. I love singing. I sing in the Church with limited facilities with my very old guitar at daily mass. Though I am unable to buy your course. I do pick up a lot of tips in your talk and your various letters etc.

    Thank you very much and God bless you for helping the young and the old to cope up with singing and to excel.

    Pascal Fernandes

  • Bristow,
    You made changes that had never been even when these wonderful ideas. Your encouragements, directives and spurring statements have made so many that come accross your jobs changed their perceptions about life-by this I mean even outside the singing zone students and fans. What a wonderful job?
    I left singing for more than 15 years, thanks to my wonderful wife who unrelentlessly forced into it again. I was doubtful of my ability to perform at average level but when I remembered your write up on “when is too old to sing?” I summed up courage and accepted the offer. Trusting God in all, I can boldly tell you that Iam almost better than ever now. Iam now the Choirmaster in my church, you know what that means-standing out to conduct in every ocassion and be able to direct others in the singing groups.
    I appreciate you, I appreciate your works. Keep up.
    God bless

    Isaac Ukpong

  • Dear Per,

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and our American friends.

    It is reassuring to read your words and to see how they confirm certain basic truths: “obstacles are stepping stones to success” and “the act of reflecting on what we can be grateful for… is what becomes the fuel for healing and improving”. You have touched on an essential chord with which we sometimes lose contact. Thank you Per.

  • Thanks, Per! You are doing a wonderful job in helping us to improve in what we all like: to sing! God bless and happy Thanksgiving!

  • Thank you ,for the opportunity to possibly improve my vocals. Singing has been a major interest of mine,for most my life.Any time I spend two hours singing in choirs,makes me feel so much better about myself. It improves my lung capacity .My age is 80 ,but I believe that is no detterent to improving your VOICE control, Thanking you in anticipationBRYAN..

  • Yes, gratitude is extremely important – being grateful to God for what he has done for us and to our friends, family, business associates as well. Thanks for sharing. May God bless you abundantly.

  • Its wonderful….. I d seen many of the free videos n encouragement. I am a music teacher & love to sing. I find your methods fascinating. So i began to sing thinking of some tips you had given & i find , hey its much much better than i thought when i go into higher pitch. Its achievable with better results.
    Soon i will be taking up your singing zone.
    Gratitude is a wonderful word no matter the degree…
    Thanks a lot Per..

  • Dear Per,
    The way you extend yourself into the music possibilities that you want for your clients to achieve is indeed a reflecion of your own gratitude and your love.
    Please don’t ever stop giving us what we all need.
    Your course is not only helpng me to have more confidence in my voice but also presents opportunities in other areas of my life that will speed the way to success.
    Thank-you for being you
    Norma Isobella Burdon-Lemieux

  • sr:Per muchas gracias inglesh is not my language but i buy your program so far i watch first video “me encanta” i love it sir thank you very much i wish i can undestand all you said
    so i do it right muchas gracias amigo god bless you and your family….FRANCISCO HERRERA….

  • What a beautifull group of people!! you all seem so happy and motivated. Per: your leadership creates this valuable attitude towards life and towards achieving ones goals.I am thankfull to God because He is the very one who has given us the amazing instrument we can be,when singing,and I´m looking forward to be one of your future students soon.

  • there is purpose with all things, good and bad. there can be no highest peak without the lowest valley. thank you Per for living through the trials you did to find a deeper purpose for the benefit of a greater part of mankind.

  • Hi Per.
    Thank you for your ‘THANK YOU.!’
    We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving over here in the UK but, nevertheless, it is a good beneficial attitude to have. Of course it is not easy to feel thankful at all times, particularly when things are painful, or difficult, but even so I think it is something we should aspire to because it can often bring unexpected benefits.
    Your attitude is always very positive and encouraging, and I believe this could well be the result of a grateful heart. You are certainly an inspiration to many people. Oh, and a help when it comes to singing!
    Many thanks and best regards.

  • Hi Per,
    Thanksgiving is not acknowledge here in St Lucia but any way thanks for the thought, reflection and gratitude. it has been about four years since I joined my church choir and we do more singing than voice training , lecture or any of that sort, am so grateful for your videos although I have only received two I appreciate them and making good use of them because I believe it can take me a far way

  • hi Per , I was told not to sing !!! but after 12 years , cancer of the tonsils, I have HOPE that one day I to will be able to buy the dvd set of your voice training ! And SING ! ! !

  • thanks per, i am learning many important things through your program regarding body and attitude and i’m even starting to transmit some basic ideas on to my students .

  • Happy thanksgiving Per.

    I thank you for everything you have taught me. You are a very
    excellent singer. I wish I could afford to keep going With your
    lessons but I don’t know when I will have the money to join
    the Singing Zone because my husband and are living on
    Social Security Disability and we have to watch every penny. (more)
    I enjoy singing and practicing with you. you are a very good
    coach. I do hope I can continuing with you, but first have to
    save up enough money. So far I have only been able to
    download the 4 lessons. For some reason I can’t download the workbooks or anything else. Can you tell me
    how to download the rest of the things that you said I
    could? I don’t understand why I can’t download the rest of
    items that I need.
    Thank you,
    Dianne Troutt

  • I AM SO SO PLEASED that my heart cannot proclaime out loudly what i’m feelig !!. however i steel said thank you PER. May the lord up hold you beyond your ability in JESUS Mighty name.

  • per, u d best. uare uuuuumuah. ifill better today in my voice.
    hopping to get more from you. thanks a lot. kumba from sierra Leone

  • Hi Per! Thankyou so much for your encouraging and welcoming smile and for your understanding of gratefulness. After the first month with your videos I have learned and discovered many things about my voice and breath,posture,, etc. I have been unsure and felt frustrated many times, but when I see you smiling, I trust it must be leading to something good. And the last two days I sung in a way that really surprised me in a good way, I’d say almost as if I was unstoppable. Thankyou.

  • Hi Per,

    i like all the comments that people have wrote, and me i like singing, i have my own videos on face book, i try singing better, but my voice i like to have better, even that i am 55 of age, but i still go on a singing , i like to sing have fun playing my guitar i have here at home.

  • Your generosity has enriched me as a person. Thank you.

    ALSO, for those of us singing the Messiah choruses soon, can you help with the technique involved in singing:

    “And He Shall Purify.”

    I think I was told once to put some consonant, perhaps “H”, before each note to help enunciate the note. Help. Virginia

  • Hi Per, thanks for giving me faith to do this because i sing with my worship leader and some time i am afraid to go all the way.There are time when my voice gets in to a squeeky sound and also hoarsness even as they say butterflys lol but i will keep up with your videos. I am all the way from TRINIDAD WEST INDIES thats in the caribbean thanks god bless.

  • I use to take voice lesson with a very good local Bel Canto teacher in my college days. Due to my love in music i took up bachelor of music in education major in voice as a second courser. I was able to perform a small graduation recital. When i got married, i was involved in my husband corn mill business where the environment was not favorable to my vocal cord. Being allergic to dust, i developed monthly allergic and infection attack. Finding difficulty in singing, i went fo seek medical help and was diagnosed to have permanent nodules and somewhat scar on my throat. Sadly, i can’t sing high note and my throat got hoarse after a few songs. upon seeing your program, i got hooked to it right away, deeply hoping to gain back my voice as you did
    . At the same time i am training my 33 year old son to sing classically which started 3 years ago for a hobby. He has a very good high baritone voice.. He has been invited to sing in weddings and some special events. He sang once with our communicty orchestra and he might be singing again with them at the end of this year. He is still weak on his volume, His voice get throaty when he starts singing loud. he needs improvements on his articulation. His high notes got stiff when he misses the right position. Generally his voice is so beautiful. I am so excited and enthusiastic in implementing your program on him. Thank you Per !!! Thank you too for all the wisdoms you shared with us in every mail. Happy new Year!!!!

  • hi I HONESTLy thank you for takeing time out to help in any way, but i do have a concern, an that is iam trying to train myself on breathing right, not so easy. i realize that is most important, an I also have a problom moving frm a mid note to a high note without cracking or fading out please help me to resolve this problem. O by the way you have an amazing story!!!!!

  • I too have had multiple issues with pain, and feeling I needed to throw a pitty party for myself, but recently, that’s changed, and I attribute the change to my renewed belief in my Lord, and my being able to sing again. My joy has increased immensly, and I’m loving it. Thanks Per for making me laugh, relax, and have fun singing. May even try to write some lyrics, like I did as a child, and I was discouraged by my mother. She felt it was a waste of time. I’m going to try. Thanks again.

  • Per..I so appreciate your generous heart ..and fully agree about the great power in giving thanks and having a gratitude attitude..yes even the “small” things.I think this opens us up to be ready to move ahead in our lives and see our dreams unfold and I believe like the song title “young at heart” says..being grateful keeps us young at heart no matter how old we are, rich or poor this is a personal trait everyone can develop .My wife and I love to sing together and I’m looking forward to being able to have us both learn from you when we can …thankyou so much

  • hi, a lovely message conveyed and beautifully expressed. i thank you for making me a part it. You have given me a new vision n i thank u for that

  • What can I say, it has been said over and over again. You truly have a beautiful spirit. What is important in life you posess.
    Giving as you have been given that is the key.
    God Bless You!

  • Thx.Per.I,m motivated more everyday to be able to walk a little better,have some health issues but just want to say that just fr reading some of U,r tips has helped be to sing better than before,just by relaxing my face and vocalchords has inproved my range.I hoping in the near future,when i get back to work to take your singing course..Thx for being human an so relatable.

  • Dear Per:
    Thank you so much for your Thank You letter! I did reply when I read it, but for some reason or other it did not go through. I am so grateful for having read about you, and being able to correspond with you! Nothing happens by chance! I thank God for people like you who make positive things happen out of not too bright situations! Even when I cannot offord paying for your courses, I am grateful that you keep e-mailing me and not giving up on me! I know it takes away your precious time that you need for your paying students, but God will repay your time and kindness with more paying students! I get so excited when I hear from you, because I know you care about people.
    Thank you, and God bless.

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