One of the things I love about singing is it’s meditative quality. It takes a deep inner focus to travel along the moving sound scape of a song. It is a landscape that changes with each passing even though you are walking along the same stepping-stones, (words and melody) the things you notice and the places you go will be different every time.
Singing is an opportunity to wake up and view your inner details with a powerful microscope. The song becomes a vehicle for traveling the inner spaces of your focus and intent. The more you discover the more you find there is to learn. I call it “The 3 Minute Lifetime”. (also known as a song)
Starting the Journey:
Body Awareness: Lining up the body and being centered before you begin. Placing your intent inward much the same as you do in yoga, martial arts, and meditation
First Breath: Taking in that first breath with intention and keeping it; not letting half of it out before the first word or expelling it during the first word
Being Present for the First Word: Really starting strongly on the very first sound instead of warming up through it
Pacing Your Breathing: Deciding before you begin where and how deeply you will inhale during the song. Choosing the logical lyrical breaks so that you have enough breath to sing each phrase with support. Take as many breaths as you need, never sing without your voice supported by breath.
The Last Word: State the last word of the phrase with intent, concretely, instead of disappearing or giving up at the end of the phase. The last sound of each phase is the most import because it is the last thing the listener hears, it leaves the biggest impression. (having enough breath really helps, so plan ahead)
Emphasize the Vowels: The vowels are your long sounds, shape them to express your emotions. This is where you can play with tone and phasing.
Staying Present: Being present and aware from the beginning to the end is your 3 minute challenge. Many things are there to distract you; your own mind telling you unkind things as you go, the laundry list, outside noise.
Flying Zone: When you are really in the singing zone everything else falls away, all your effort becomes a natural way of being, one process leads you to the next, you leap along the stepping-stones and take off into effortless flight.
I was reading Bette Midler”s tips “10 Things I Know Now” in AARP yesterday. Ha Ha, I can’t believe I was reading AARP it but I was. She said something like “if you lose your dream get a new dream.” So simple. I love wisdom tidbits especially from people who have experience. Dreams born from passion, mother and child.
Giving up a dream can be as hard as quitting an addiction.How do you know when your dream is unhealthy? You were high once, then hit ground, high again, then bouncing. That’s the nature of dreams. If a dream has a material goal with a predetermined ending point still unrequited (which has a certain sexy appeal) when do you stop?
I can definitely relate with being disappointed that things turned out differently than an originally imagined ending but usually I hear that stupid song again. It’s one of those annoyingly catchy jingles with words like loser and quitter snaked in the verse. Then there’s the bridge with that fantastic turn around at the end “Just One More Time” and I head to the cash register.
The death of passion however is another story. If the mystery is gone why would you want to do anything? If there isn’t something born greater than yourself and your practice time, then boo hoo, it’s bad. I’ve been there, to the point of no return. Allergic to my own dream. The loss of creative passion was unfathomable to me, I walked around checking my pulse, I couldn’t believe that I had killed that part of me. I was in the mud in the dark.
Luckily for us sensitives, passion can be resuscitated with a good set of paddles and some mouth to mouth. You fly to the ER. You get a heart transplant. There is a recovery period. For me it was pretty damn long. I still walk gingerly, looking nervously behind me hoping the boogie man is gone. I stumble across a new dream.
Having a passion or dream is more a way of being in and WITH the world. It can have an outcome but that is not the real “WHY” of it. Now I think of dreams very much the same as sleeping dreams; veiled, transparent, unpredictable. One minute you’re at the grocery store squeezing avocados and then you’re in a kayak cascading down a 100 foot waterfall and your groceries stay in the boat unsullied. That’s magic. Letting your dreams morph over time keeps them a renewable resource, a reason to be, a process not an ending point. Like Bette said: “squeeze an avocado, get a kayak.”