Saturday, November 21, 2009

What Singing is NOT

Saturday rant...

After watching Show Business: The Road to Broadway again last night so many blog entries emerged!!!!

I am so sick and tired of what Music Theatre deems as good singing!!! And how terminology is thrown around and not understood - by casting nor by so-called singers!!

There was a time on Broadway when singers from the Met and City Opera regularly appeared on Broadway, and often, vice versa.

Alas, you'd be hard pressed to find that anymore!! What was once a normal activity would now be considered a speciality item!

WHY?!?!? And don't spout "style" to me - style informs the tone. If the instrument is built well and the voice can move into a style, and the singer has studied and recognizes what the style demands, it can be done.

Oh right. A built instrument. A studied singer. KNOWLEDGE. INDIVIDUALITY.

So what is singing NOT?

Good singing is not breathiness, closed throat, wobbly jaw; good singing is not nasality; good singing is not pushing, yelling or screaming; good singing does not produce muscle tension; good singing does not fray the voice and create large "breaks" and no phonation;

Good singing is not about imitation!!!!! Good singing is not about trying to sound like another singer!!!!!

REAL SINGING means TIME in order to discover YOUR instrument and what it does and how to build it into balance in order for it to take on the demands of a style you choose and a character that you choose to develop. REAL SINGING means discovering the TRUTH about what your instrument can do and why it does that so you can work within the physicality of that instrument and deliver a uniqueness to what you do artistically.

REAL SINGING means an athleticism of your physical body - grounded, supported, elasticized, energized and focused. REAL SINGING means a tangibility of breath energy. REAL SINGING demands truth and authenticity not imitation and copycat cookie cutout.

Singers - and I am talking mainly Music Theatre here - quit trying to copy and pretend!!!! YOU CAN CHANGE THE BUSINESS by bringing in an authentic instrument!!!! Make the business pay attention to YOU not what you can copy!!

AND STUDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Learn about your voice, develop it, find all its possibilities and then inform it with the music you prepare. Know what it can do and how it can do it; Know what it can't do and treat that with respect too.

If you don't know your instrument and get it healthy and working and sing well, you will be gone before you get started. Nobody is going to look after that instrument but you. You are part of the equipment in this business. When you break, you will be replaced. YOU HAVE TO CARE!!!!

Find a teacher who really understands the voice and how to build it. Don't look at the bright and shiny ads that say "learn to sing is 4 easy lessons" - there is no thing as a quick fix with singing. We are working for longevity and muscle strength and power. We are working for tangible physicality and athleticism. Training muscles takes TIME, PATIENCE, ENDURANCE, FOCUS and GUTS. If you aren't willing to invest in yourself this way, then perhaps you are in the wrong business. Seriously. Because even if you have talent and a pretty sound, it will only last so long without the training necessary to develop it.

Find your voice - truly and authentically!!! SING WITH IT!!! When true and real voices begin to emerge, they touch people. And even without vocabulary, people respond positively to them. And then, pretty soon, the breathy, nasal, tight, poorly produced voices don't seem good anymore (!!!) and real voices begin singing again...

LEARN TO SING WELL!!!!!!! Don't cop out on yourself, and don't copy out on the music. You are doing a disservice to both when you settle for less that what is required and less than what you are truly able to develop.

GO GET IT!!!!!!!!!!

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