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Vocal Surrender

"You are the world" Krishnamurti

This first blog post of 2018 is about vocal surrender. The word "surrender" had been stuck in my head since I had heard it from a friend, Tonia Gaudiuso, who posts "Gift of the Day" videos within her business "Cut the Chaos Organizing" and who had been using this word as her motto for 2017. Then shortly after, when I was practicing, I posted a video for my new year #practicemakesprogresschallenge and #vocalsurrender came to my head.

What do I mean by vocal surrender? Well, let’s deepen the subject.

In many occasions the problem with us singers has to do with our own hearing. Not that we have a problem with it, it’s just that we hear our voices in a different way people hear us. When we speak or when we sing our brain compounds bone conduction with air conduction, hence we are the only ones who hear our voices the way we do! This means that in the process of learning singing, and especially for younger singers who might have their role models and a specific beautiful sound in their head that they want to mimic, we might need to make some adjustments, including a practice of surrender.

We need to trust that we are sounding good (in the case that we really are and our knowledged teacher is telling us we are) when we might feel it is a strange or ugly sound, and vice-versa. Well, remember, it will never sound the same to you as it sounds out there. Our own ears are not our best friends, in this case. A lot of times what happens is that we end up pushing because we think it is not loud enough, or it doesn’t quite sound as we want it to sound, or we do strange things and make funny faces because we just “overdo it”. By recording ourselves we can verify a lot of this happening. Recording our voice is like having a mirrored image of our sound, in a way, as long as it's good enough of recording, of course.

Just sing and record yourself, as my dear Professor Dr. Hay said so many times. That recorder is going to be your friend. And also video yourself, there is so much you can fix just by watching what you do.

It could be cunning to fully trust your years to find a sound, especially when you are a beginner, because you don’t know what you could potentially sound like. Close your eyes and jump! No, but seriously, it’s extremely difficult to look for sounds we never heard coming out of our mouths before and on top of that now knowing that they aren’t even exactly the same as other people will hear them. But little by little if we let go of pre-conceptions and liberate ourselves from our vocal self-image which is based on what we hear coming out of our mouths every single day all our lives, we can start tapping into a bigger potential.

Vocal Surrender could mean letting go of your control. I like to tell my students that singing is "uncontrollable control". This oxymoron pertains to all singing really because singing is always a combination of opposite forces. And it is not a jump in the abyss but a crossing of an invisible bridge through the abyss.

As it is known, there are multiple worlds of possibilities and sometimes we need to close our ears and feel what is happening inside and let the world open up to us, and become the world.

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