Whole body, movement, perception and connection are so much a part of the Singing Teacher’s repertoire of skills and they constantly need updating and re-thinking.
At the recent event in Berlin, we were introduced to the complex but wonderful principles of Qigong, the third branch of Chinese healing alongside acupuncture and herbal medicine.
I am only a beginner but it inspired me once again to re-examine the exercises I give my students and the purpose of them but also the student’s perception of what is happening in their body when they sing.
Posture and balance and energy flow are connected to how we use our breath effectively when we sing, it is the fuel in our engines, the water in our brush, as we paint the sounds we need to express. And it is a need to express that is the root of all voicing.
This need to ‘voice’ starts as soon as air flows through our lungs and in our society which has learnt to communicate (or not) through text and digital technology, we are leaving the lonely and vulnerable no vehicle to ‘sound’ their needs through speech and song.
The habit of imitating others, while not in itself a ‘bad’ thing, means we are losing the uniqueness of our own ‘grain’ or timbre which truly expresses who we are and releases that self-expression which is our basic human need.
Creating sound is one of the most immediate ways we create communication through art, culture and societal values. It can be as simple as a cry or moan, but it can be as complex as an operatic masterpiece or a poem. When we cease to ‘sound’ we can cease to exist (bearing in mind that the deaf and mute in society still DO communicate fully through sign language). Even those who have little mental capacity through brain damage, still moan and wail and express themselves however difficult it is to understand.
Voicing and visioning are not so far apart and creative expression keeps us truly alive and living in the fullness of all we are and want to be.