To sing and perform well, we must learn to be present in the moment. This is where good technique and musicianship begin. When we are able to keep our minds clear and focus our attention on practicing the intuitive process that is singing, our ability to communicate and perform authentically with grace, ease, beauty and humor is endless.
Breathing is one of our body’s most instinctive functions. To watch a baby breathe is to watch something so natural, so easy. It is something they don’t have to think about, rather something they simply know how to do. Their bellies and lungs fill with air and move without thought or tension. To hear a baby cry is to hear a sound so primal, so intuitive. They don’t think to themselves, “How do I make a sound to release this feeling inside?” When they want to communicate, their bodies, minds and spirits rely on instinct, and it happens. Understanding and mastering our physical instincts is the gateway to good technique. As singers we must have an understanding of how our instrument works. We must know the difference between good tension and bad tension. We must experiment and explore to discover our authentic, healthy, free voice. We begin to do this by learning to manage our breath.
I believe that singing should be enjoyable, fun, playful, freeing. Singing should also be challenging. Challenge helps us to grow, expand and question our experience as we know it in this world. Should it be complicated? No. All to often we let our thoughts and judgments get in the way of the physical, intuitive process of singing. When we engage in the simple act of making the process happen, (in other words, stay present from moment to moment), singing can return to a naturally instinctive experience that we all know how to do. The key is allowing, understanding and trusting that process to happen. In other words, we need to get out of our own way!
One of the first questions I ask my new students is “Why are you taking voice lessons?” I want to know what your goals are and how I can help you achieve them. I have some students who want to prepare for auditions, some with careers as professional musicians, some wanting to train their ears and voice to stay on pitch better, and some who are young and eager to simply learn about music, their voice and to have singing and performing in their lives.