Make you voice dance!
“Matter, at the subatomic level, consists of energy patterns continually changing into one another – a continuous dance of energy” (from the book Nada Brahma)
One thing I enjoy saying to my students is “make your voice dance” and although it might sound like something pointless or even useless, it in fact has a very deep and beautiful meaning.
In Hindu culture, the dancing Shiva reminds us of the continuous flow of creation and destruction as the base of all phenomena in the cosmos. This flow, or dance, is a big metaphor, in physics, of the subatomic dance. Fritjof Capra explained that “Modern physics has shown that the rhythm of creation and destruction is not only manifest in the turn of the seasons and in the birth and death of all living creatures, but is also the very essence of inorganic matter,” and that “for the modern physicists, then, Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter.”
Inertia could make the act of starting to sing always a little scary, because we are changing the status quo of our body - vocal chords are coming together, muscles are engaging, vibration is coming through and being transmuted into vocal sounds through our vocal apparatus – and where there once was no song, now there is. This constant birthing and transmuting is not only magical but electromagnetic, subatomic and connected to a much bigger grid in the cosmos. It is also a dance. Singing is like dancing.
When we sing, or before we start to sing we need to tune into the “song being sung” already. Just like in a yoga practice or in any ritual, there is a tuning in. The change from one status quo to another, the transition of states. It literally means to listen, to pay attention so we can bring into harmony or concord. And what that means is that we breathe in and out, we listen to our body, listen to the world and slowly fine tune with it all. Maybe there is no status quo at all, or maybe there are many status quos constantly mingling and conversing with each other on a subtle level, and thus, we listen.
Many years ago I used to fly over to England to take lessons with this great voice teacher. I have notes and notes that I took from that time and they include all sorts of diagrams and funny vocal imageries. One thing I remember clearly was the concept of “micro-timing”, meaning, how to, in a practical way, looking at a score, determine the time needed to cut one phrase, take a breath, think about the next musical idea, prepare the vocal apparatus, start the breath again and finally enunciate again in the most nonchalant way, meaning calm, relaxed, in control, easy. Isn’t this what all singers want to achieve - nonchalance? This micro-timing sometimes occurred in a space separated by a short-timed rest! But like magic, this little rest would be stretched out beautifully to give me enough time to elegantly articulate everything I needed to articulate, and it was not like I was cheating, but I was dancing the dance. Allowing the body to feel the music and go with it, use it for my advantage.
I believe that all great singers or musicians in general knew and know how to dance with the dance. If we see ourselves as channels of the oneness, if we see our own song as energy patterns continually changing into one another, before us, in us and after us, then we are aware, and we are part of the process, not battling it!
Sing as if the song is already being sung! It’s not yours, it does not belong to anyone, but to all of us. You are there to catch it and let it fly again! Oh lucky you, oh lucky us who allow our voices to roar, dance and echo in the world!