Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Discipline of Voice

Wednesday musings...

Do you want to be a singer?  Do you know what that really means?

I am not talking about having a career,  but simply the discipline of DOING the singing!

Can anybody learn the process?  I believe the can.  That doesn't make them a singer, but it certainly means they can learn what has to be done.

Just like many of us can learn to dance, it doesn't make us dancers.

Developing the discipline of the craft is the first step.

You cannot develop craft or discipline in one dance class.  Guess what?  You can't learn to sing in one lesson!

And even if you study dance and create a discipline and a commitment - if you are not the right body type, have the wrong athleticism, and many other variables - you will LEARN TO DANCE but will not necessarily BE A DANCER.

Discovering the DISCIPLINE of voice does NOT make you a singer.  However, discovering the discipline of voice can allow for possibilities!

Singers, and those developing a discipline of singing need to recognize the commitment, the work ethic, the physicality and athleticism and the intelligence needed to discover and develop.

Singing is not a whim;  nor is it "something to do for fun" if you truly want to learn it!

A dancer wouldn't go to an occasional dance class and expect to be ready to DO their craft.

A singer cannot do that either.  There has to be a consistency of study and discipline of practice and discovery to secure a level of mastery.  Then and only then can the "tune ups" happen occasionally!

Wanting to 'sing' a 16 bar cut for an audition is not studying voice.  Nor is it BEING a singer!

If you want to BE you have to DO!

To discover whether you have the talent, athleticism, natural inclination to BE a singer takes discipline, patience (!),  dedication and consistency to study and discover and practice it!!

Development of skills does not make you a singer either.  Process is SO IMPORTANT to discover what you can learn and develop,  but your process does not mean the same arrival point as someone else.

I may have taken ballet classes.  I may have a great turn out.  I may do my barre everyday.  I may be musical.  I may be passionate about dancing.  But with my body type, I will NEVER BE a ballet dancer!  I can still LEARN HOW, but the reality is simple.

Singing is nothing less.  VOICE IS PHYSICAL.  We can develop the physicality of our voice and the discipline to uncover it - but we must recognize the uniqueness and the limitations of our physical instrument.

There are many types of intelligence - and certain intelligence can be more effective in certain disciplines.  Do you know where your strengths are intellectually?

Are you aware of the athleticism of singing?  Are you aware and ready to discover the physicality YOU have and how your athleticism can inform your singing?  Are you willing to recognize the truth of that?

Are you willing to discover the discipline of studying voice?  Are you willing to discover whether you are a singer or not?  Are you willing to explore that discipline in your unique process and recognize and accept your strengths and your realities?

I will NEVER say to someone coming to me that "You will never..."  Why?  Because 1. I've experienced being told that  (and they were wrong!)  and 2.  That's not my job!

My job, as a teacher and a coach, is to help you in your process!!  It is not to give you an absolute, a destination nor a job!

HOWEVER - I will challenge anyone if asked to see themselves realistically!  I will challenge a singer/a disciple of singing to see what they are asking and recognize the challenges they are setting up for themselves, if I see them setting up unnecessary roadblocks.  I will offer other possibilities and ideas.

So, I ask the questions:  Can you call yourself a singer if you never sing?  Can you call yourself a singer if you don't study?  Can you expect results in one hour when you only study occasionally?

Just like ANY physical and athletic discipline, changes are gradual and discipline needs to be consistent. Whether you are playing a sport, working out at the gym, in dance class - singing is a physical athleticism that needs CONSTANT attention until the discovery is attained - and then maintenance and fine-tuning is needed.

Just like every BODY being different, so every VOICE requires its specific and unique and individualized attention and discipline.

And just as you can build muscles, or learn the aspects of a sport, or learn HOW to dance - singing as an athletic physical achievement, does not make you a singer.  It will allow you to sing.

Some things to think about...

1 comment:

  1. I'm always shocked at people's reaction when I tell them that I, someone who has been singing professionally for about ten years, am going to a voice lesson. They look astonished and say, "What? You still have to take lessons?!" It just seems like a no-brainer to me, but I guess there are those out there who think that once you've learned that 2 + 2 = 4, you needn't learn any more. (Rhyme not intentional, nevertheless snappy)
    Thanks for this post!