Monday, October 12, 2009

Singing With One Voice! Part 3

Monday musings from the Land of LA!

Adding further to my blog entries on the "one voice" phenomena (!) your emails and messages have continued to pour in. Thank you for taking the time, not just to read the blog, but also to comment and to email me!!

Certainly, genres and styles inform the physical instrument, but what is that instrument? Is it more suited for certain genres, just in its physicality?

I have to say yes. Even though all voices have the potential to develop physically to allow for stylistic differences, they do not all have the physical specifications for all genres.

Technical behavior does not mean physical power or stamina!

Let's look at the so-called classical field. There are many styles and genres within this field. Not all voices have the size and power to be opera voices. The voice can learn the technical behavior for opera but must function within the boundaries of the individual physicality. Perhaps the voice does not have the size or the power or the penetration that opera demands. Or perhaps, it is more PHYSICALLY suited to early music, or to art song, or to concert work. The physical manifestations of the instrument can often help, not hinder, our decisions and choices.

If we look at our instrument as athletically as any athlete would, we begin to see the possibilities, not the roadblocks.

Not all athletes are built the same. Their body types, strengths, power and sensibility helps to determine their best destiny within the athletic world. All runners are not the same! Long distance runners and sprinters are not built the same, nor do they train exactly the same! Swimmers' bodies are not the same as football players, and basketball players are not built like weight lifters!

All are athletes. All are unique.

Singing is not different.

Singers are athletes. We use our bodies - intense cardio and tangibility of breath with balance and suspension of many muscle groups - both large and microscopic! Ours is about balance and reaction. Our athleticism is even further explored, because it takes into account the physicality of language, pitch and acoustic and more!

Our first goal is to discover the athleticism and determine what it does when it is lined up and healthy and ready to inform! Then, and only then, can we determine, from a PHYSICAL aspect, what that instrument's physicality can DO. What are its attributes within the genre we seek from a physical and athletic perspective? What is its scope? Its dimension? Its penetration? Where would it be best served, from a physical standpoint within the genre we seek?

Simply put, if the physicality of the instrument cannot just make enough noise to be an opera singer and cut through an orchestra and maintain a certain level of intensity, it doesn't mean there is something wrong with the instrument! It just means, that instrument is not physically built for that kind of demand! So, what demand is it built for? This is our quest as singers!

What does the physicality of your instrument indicate? This is a pursuit that is often not discussed fully or honestly. Trying to make an instrument something it is not, is creating failure and disappointment that is completely unnecessary!

Discover the voice within YOUR athleticism! What does that athleticism indicate? Are you willing to embrace that and develop it or are you going to keep mis-guiding yourself and never find the honesty and truth of your unique instrument?

Potential is spinning in circles if you never REALIZE it. Realizing potential reveals possibilities.



  1. Sometimes I think of pottery, for some reason, when I think of different voices being suited for different vocal arenas, like what you've written above. A voice being like a particular kind of clay, suited to be made into either earthenware, stoneware, or porcelain, but able to be molded into a variety of forms of drinking vessels, tiles, vases, platters and more!