When we first embark upon the path of developing our voices for singing, sometimes we may find ourselves overwhelmed with what it takes to get it together. In the world of song, it can seem like there is so much to understand, so much to remember, and so little time to do it all…
In Speech Level Singing (which is based on the authentic and simple principles expounded in what has become the virtually lost tradition of Bel Canto), the singer is classified in the beginning of voice training by an SLS certified vocal instructor as having at least 1 of 4 vocal tendencies. The student is then provided with customized tools with which to balance out their primary and/or secondary tendencies and strengthen their singing technique.
The key is once you have identified your unique tendency, or combination of tendencies, you must stay focused on continuing to do those prescribed exercises which will help you out of ruinous habit, and onto the path of vocal health, longevity and freedom.
photo credit: Kanzeon Zen Center
I consider this process similar to meditation (and often meditation can be extremely beneficial to some singers for this reason): The goal in meditation is to train your mind to stay attentive to one idea, often, the in and out endless flow of the breath. One approach is, when the mind begins to wander, you say to yourself, without judgment or frustration, “thinking” and then you return to being attentive to the breath. Sounds simple, but our minds are so accustomed to wandering off ceaselessly, with our thoughts and concerns of yesterday and tomorrow, that we all too easily lose sight of the profound essence of what is right here, right now. We lose sight of the painfully obvious.
And so it is much the same when we are working with our voices. All to easily, our minds can wander off and we’ve forgotten what it is we’re trying to achieve.
So next time you’re practicing, make a commitment to yourself to stay focused on what is necessary to balance out your specific vocal tendency, as it is at that moment. When your mind starts to wander off, and you lose track or get overwhelmed with what you’re trying to do, see if you can notice what has happened, and guide yourself back to your task at hand, gently but firmly.
By staying on course, you too can achieve your dreams!!!