“The voice is one of the only instruments that we build and learn how to play at the same time...”
- Alan Goodrich
Being an artist, particularly a vocalist, is like being both the sculpture and the sculptor. It is aggravating and fascinating. It seems the more in tune you become with your instrument, the more awareness you have of just how sensitive and powerful the voice/body connection is. Perhaps you realize how sensitive you are to a certain food, drink, the workout you did or didn’t do, that careless thing someone said just as you were going onstage and the resulting physical/emotional contraction that showed up in your body. You may also find it endlessly interesting how that vocal warm up-Alexander Technique-Yoga-acupuncture-session you just had allowed you to nail the bridge on your newest song.
As a vocalist you are constantly hearing and seeing from the outside yet wanting to understand more and more how your instrument, or mechanism, is controlled from the inside. And if you have streaming musical ideas that don’t entirely stand up to your vocal abilities, then you might be like I was many years ago and need a voice coach and method with an intuitive and technical approach.
Part of what I discovered some 13 or so years ago is that there is the music (the painting, dance, what-have-you) and then there is the making of you and your voice. How you care for your instrument…when you water it, give it sunlight, change the potting, etc…that stuff matters. Voice training, I like to say, is like “personal training for singers.” And there are A LOT of trainers nowadays. However, sometimes trainers/singers can be too focused on exterior sounds and forget that the best results (in my humble opinion) come from developing your voice from the inside out. It is one part of the process of being an artist which I have committed myself to (nearly daily) and as a result I am pretty good at it…and by that I mean I am good at inquiring and good at keeping a consistent practice. I sound pretty good as well but my focus is most often on HOW I am going about making a sound and I LOVE sharing this shift in focus with committed beginners and professionals alike.
You can make good improvements working from the outside of the voice in. For example you may be able to get through songs and have standard exercises but they are not tailored to your specific voice and habits. As a result you will wind up straining or sometimes feeling fatigued/hoarse after singing. You may also have a few cues for your posture or performance but this doesn’t fully help you with your breathing nor speak to the story you are singing or who YOU are as an artist and why you care about this song. But when you develop your voice in a holistic way, you can make great improvements all around. Singing actually feels easier and you learn to enjoy not just the product but the process.
I love singing (in case you couldn't tell:). I always have and I truly believe in the power of music to make people and our lives better. If you are the same or even feel some part of what I am writing about, I would be curious to hear it in your own words. Drop me a line, leave a comment, give me a call…a new way of building your artistry and our world awaits.