Things I'm Learning from Singers
One of the amazing things about the singing voice is what a personal expression it is – your unique instrument is literally formed out of your own body, so there’s something very intimate about a singer sharing his sound expressively with listeners. You can’t just go out and buy another instrument, or leave it aside when you go on vacation. The care and maintenance is intrinsic, and for better or worse your ownership is total.
The other day in one of my small group classes for singers and actors, a singer was offering a bit of song as we explored bringing some of the Alexander Technique principles into his craft. (I am a big fan of connecting Alexander work to an activity, whether that’s rising from a chair, lifting a bag or singing an aria. These aren’t esoteric ideas but are tools that we utilize in all we do – AT is above all a technique for living.) One of his classmates observed “when you sang this time [after engaging his mind with the suggested AT intention] your voice didn’t sound like something different that you put onto making your sound – it sounded like you.” What an incredibly wise and thrilling observation! It was absolutely accurate: in that moment we heard what was special about his instrument, unburdened by effortful habits. Isn’t it true that the great artists show us something of themselves that compels us to watch and listen? That unnameable quality isn't perfection - it's something more human, more vital, more responsive. Singers harness astonishing courage in sharing their gifts, because it necessitates a deep vulnerability. I am humbled when I get the opportunity to witness someone uncover a little more of themselves in this way – through their own intentions, as their own guide.
Rock on, singers! What a thrill to get to know you.