Sing like a newborn...
“Nothing will unfold for us unless we move toward whatlooks to us like nothing: faith is a cascade.” ― Alice Fultonx
As I welcomed the youngest vocal alchemist of my studio, my newborn, I have been quite hand filled to be able to feed my page over the past months.
Interestingly, pregnancy and motherhood can shed enlightenment in many different aspects and subjects of one’s life. One thing is for sure, at the end of the day you have to be practical and the inessential stuff will blow forgotten in the wind...
We tend to occupy our minds with many inessential things, and some of us are especially good at doing that when we sing or practice/learn singing. Often times our thoughts become serious whirlwinds which take us through a much more complicated process than needed. I actually don’t believe anything is inessential since all will lead to all, but for the sake of practicality let’s stick to that idea.
When learning vocal technique I have seen in myself and students a particular obsession about a specific technical aspect being worked on which is then reinterpreted one hundred times almost in a Freudian walkabout. (which is also interesting!)
And this is only normal because if the teacher points it out, the good/curious student will naturally focus on it. The thing about singing, as many other things, is that it is coordination of many technical aspects and as much as we need to focus on one at a time, we need not to hold on to it in discard of all the others. Also, one day we might need one thing and the other we need something completely different.
Newborns teach us how to be practical and they themselves are very practical, moving on from one thing to the other without much expectation (of course as they grow, this story changes…). It's a blissful state of absorption. Just like the fool in the tarot deck! Everything is new and fresh. This is the blissful state I invite you to experiment the next days when you practice or have your voice lesson. Revisit the old technical aspects with freshness and enjoyment, and discover something new in them, maybe something you didn't see or feel before!
Another aspect of newborns is that they tend to be simple. If all is well, they either need a diaper change, food, sleep, contact or they have colic. No point in trying to interpret too much beyond that. Sometimes it’s the four of them all at once. Singing is much like this. There are essential aspects of technique and if one is off, the rest derails or is very poorly executed. It’s the teacher’s job to identify which one it is; just like the mother is figuring out her baby signals. Is it the larynx that is squeezing?, is it the soft palate not lifting?, is it lack of stretch?, is it lack of vowel modification?, is it an unstable tube length?, is it a combination of some of these or other?
As a voice teacher I am always looking out for some of these essentials bellow:
1) Larynx positioning 2) Legato 3) Soft Palate 4) Balanced support 5) Proper vowel modification 6) “Inhaling of the voice” concept 7) Vocal stretch versus vocal blow 8) Sound leading a relaxed jaw 9) Convergent resonator in the mouth 10) Resonance Versus Placement 11) Muscle opposition 12) One voice – unified registers
Of course, we are not newborns, and newborns will soon become fairly complicated human beings. It is also the teacher's job to figure out their student's Idiosyncrasies and how simple things can become so complicated and help them figure it out!
Wishing you an alchemic day!