We Can All Sing But Some of Us Get In the Way
It is my belief that we all know how to sing. Some of us have done it more, or “trained” more. Either way those who sing “well” do so because they have done it more. So far I’m pretty sure that there is rarely such a thing as innate talent.
Those who think they can’t sing have spent a lot of time stopping themselves singing. They have something that stops them allowing the messages that are coming from their brains or ears getting to their voices.
There is such a thing as being tone deaf, or having “amusia” but no one who has got in touch with me so far has had amusia. They are just blocked, untrained and self conscious.
If a singer can sing some notes but goes out of tune on others that’s often to do with unfamiliarity with that note. We need to find those notes by using whichever of our senses are best suited to finding that note. For lots of people it’s about seeing the shapes of the melody, listening more closely and for many of us we need to feel it.
The Body Remembers
Last week a singer very bravely told me about an experience where she almost drowned. It was 13 years ago but I’m not surprised that still get very anxious about running out of breath. I believe that unless you have found a way to move stress response out of your body then your body will hold onto that stress. Until you process the freeze response out of your nervous system that stress remains.
It was spooky that we had that conversation, pretty much out of nowhere, because I have recently finished reading Peter Levine’s book “Waking the Tiger“. It’s about an approach called Somatic Experiencing, which uses the body to release an incomplete trauma response. Goodness knows we are going to be needing that after the lockdown and Covid-19 threat has passed, or morphed into whatever it is going to morph into.
I’m sure that there are lots of approaches to moving trauma through the body that are based on body work. Some that I know of are TRE, Somatic Experiencing and I’m pretty sure that there are some crossovers between that and Fitzmaurice work.
What was particularly spooky was that the day after the chat about drowning I had a session already booked with a TRE practitioner. It was so interesting. I’ve signed up for the first training course in March and I’m, (slightly), hopeful that it may even happen in person. Anything is possible.
I have absolutely no idea if I will ever use TRE in my work as a singing teacher but I know that this work can hold the key to releasing our blocks.
It’s All In The Body – Just Do It, Don’t Think
More and more I am drawn to things that compliment each other.
The latest thing that keeps coming up for me is the body’s innate wisdom.
When I was at drama school, aged 21, the Principal of the school wrote in my report that I clearly needed to embody my characters, not act as a detached head. I had no idea what she meant. After all we are all walking brains aren’t we?
I realise now that how nuts it is for an actor to think that way.
I realise now that it’s nuts for anyone to think that way.
Our body has wisdom and knowledge that our minds can’t hear, mainly because there is so much traffic in our minds. So many filters and they’re not all working in our favour.
A friend suggested Yoga with Adrienne to help with my well being and I’ve been doing it almost every day since. (Thank you Sally). Adrienne has an approach called Find What Feels Good and I certainly didn’t nick it but it’s pretty close to what I was already doing.
I actually stopped one of Adrienne’s yoga videos to write this. I know you’re not meant to stop in the middle but I also know I need to grab inspiration when it hits. This hit me.
Adrienne just said “just do it – don’t think” and I feel connected and affirmed. I have been saying “don’t think – just do it” for so long. I knew I wasn’t alone in this.
Part of a Movement That’s Much Bigger Than Me
I’m realising I’m part of a movement, of something much bigger than me.
I still haven’t found anyone else who throws fruit at their singers to help them so maybe I can develop that part and share it.
Over summer I studied the Neuro-Vocal Method with Meredith Colby.
This feels like a development of the old school ways that I explore upper and lower register – by focusing on the sensations that lead to them being called head and chest voices for so long. I’m sure I’m massively over simplifying it but that’s how it works for me. Some of my singers find it completely liberating in entirely unpredictable ways. I love it. For more info and to see me listed with the swanky international folks click here.
My approach now is, get the fundamentals* in place, then play to find what you’re looking for. When you find what you’re looking for you repeat it a few times till you think you have the means (in your body or your brain, logically or sensationally) to replicate it on will.
And let’s not even mention the way that Untamed by Glennon Doyle shook me. All about owning your body. – image
The book that I bought about time management for women even has a chapter on listening to your body.
I’m a Master Practitioner in NLP, Timeline Therapy (TM) and Hypnotherapy. I’m happy to help you with voice or non voice related challenges.
*I will write about what the fundamentals are in another blog very soon.
Achievement in lockdown
One of my singers said that lockdown is particularly frustrating to those who like to achieve. It is interesting as I personally feel very frustrated by lockdown, (and I’m not going to start on the challenges of home-schooling an 8 year old who is as bad at sitting still as I am), but I have achieved loads since March.
Many of the singers I work with have found that lockdown provided them with the time and space to really develop their singing. They have been able to commit to their practice and the lessons and practice have given some helpful routine to their weeks.
My youngest has recently started guitar lessons. I love that he has a lesson with someone once a week. It’s something to structure the week by.
So long as you are happy to sing in your home then learning to sing is one of the things that you can do when stuck in lock-down in your home.
On another lockdown related topic I’m knee deep in a blog about things you can do to lift your spirit. If you have any ideas please send me an email or contact me via the contact page.
Learning From Me
If you want to know more about lessons with me I’m happy to chat with you before you book in and you’re also welcome to book a one-off session with me and get started on working on your voice straight away.
if you want to check out how I teach and work then go to my Youtube channel or (because I’m much happier talking to a person than a video camera) join the Vocal Explorers’ Membership Group. The cost of This group is just £20 a month and you get an online group and 2 classes a month.
The links to this are below here.
I am putting together a course about freeing your inner creative. If you want to be kept in the loop about this send me an email with the subject Creative and I’ll add you to the list of people to keep informed.
Lastly, I love hearing from people if anything I write stirs a reaction in you. You can use the contact page or drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
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