Singing for my Soul
When Nat asked me to write a blog about what I do, I thought ok, I can do that. I can write all about singing…………. Hmm. Then I thought…what do people want to know about ? Technique ? How to actually sing ? How to improve how they are already singing ? How lessons can help ? Voice Science ? Vocal health?
Hmm again. I could go on and on for hours about all this and more. I can tell you all about voice qualities, and alignment, breathing, resonance, articulation, registration (have you fallen asleep yet?) emotional connection, endorphins, throat chakras, primal sound, the diaphragm, how to learn songs…and yep, there’s more. I went to my academic bookshelf and thought about the endless information about singing and the voice I can give you. But I didn’t write anything.
I’m in my Masters year at QLD Conservatorium this year, having done a Graduate Diploma in Voice Pedagogy. It’s been several years of intense study thrown into a very busy and at times stressful life, but I’ve handled it………even nailed it actually…with a great grade point average and a couple of awards. I’ve even patted myself on the back for being true to myself, and deciding to only teach music and voice, and to become well qualified and have credibility and quals to back up my practical and life experience. Tick ! Then I though…who wants to know about that…oh well, I’ll write it….. that’s what I’ve been doing !
In the midst of all this I run InsingC Choir and Museday Theatre, I front Blues Martini Band and Duo on lead vocals and play sax, and I teach voice, guitar and performance privately to a large number of students, then there’s To the Pointe Dance School in Noosa, and AICM at Gympie. And workshops. And establish a business. And my new show with a bunch of great women that’s a secret yet…and , and, and… Busy ! All great ! But it still hadn’t hit me in a real sense….
Then ……A funny thing happened on my first day of uni this year. I had a big realisation as I sat in the first class of Research Dissertation. In a room of 40 or so rather groovy academic muso type people, we all went around the circle outlining the amazing projects we were going to research and write up. Lots of talk about reading, and scanning, and writing and referencing. APA style. Bla. As I had my turn, I felt like I wasn’t in my own body, and a little voice inside me said NO NO NO…I just wanna sing !! A thought about all those hours on the computer….and whilst that’s all wonderful, I felt the life drain out of me.
Right then and there it hit me. Why do I love to sing, and why do I love to teach others to sing ? Because it brings me JOY. It raises vibration. It changes things. It changes me. It changes people. They look happy. They speak up. They get up and dance. They sing along. They take a risk, they jump hurdles, they learn to believe in themselves. Sometimes they struggle with a singing issue and have to work hard to move forward past it…but the rewards are awesome ! And when it gets taken away, life isn’t the same. I felt sad thinking …wow, I won’t have any time to SING. I felt like doing Amy Winehouse and wanted to jump up and sing “They say you gotta go to research and I say NO NO NO” in the classroom. Being the oldest student there I thought maybe not, they might think I’ve lost it and lock me up, so instead I decided to remain looking cool til the end of the class. A warm glow type of feeling came over me. I felt euphoric. I felt JOY. I decided to drop this class, change my major to Contemporary Music, and spend the year singing and preparing a performance recital and recording an album. YEAH ALRIGHT ! My love for singing and my need to sing had made me decide to be really true to myself…… right then and there. And do what I want.
So I skipped out of that class and went straight to my mentor who said “GREAT IDEA”….now you just have to convince the head of school….so off I went… and he said “OK, but you need to see Admin”…and then the Admin lady said “sure, we just need approval” and then 2 days later I got an email of approval and it was all easy and I felt so happy !! Of course there was all the stuff about credit points etc etc, but my intent and wish were really clear and it all miraculously flowed through the bureaucratic hoops. So my love of singing and my need to sing made that decision.
It made me reflect on where I had come from myself with singing…..and how right through my life it had been something I had for me. In the face of many challenging life situations I could always rely on singing to take me somewhere else, to give me a different perspective, to chill me out, lighten me up, keep me a balanced, to give me an escape, to make me FEEL in the midst of being lost, or NOT FEEL in the midst of pain and drama. Whether it was on stage at a gig, or in the shower, or out front of a choir, or in the car, just around the house, or in lessons. How I have had to stay focused and develop a real sense of self belief, and become physically healthy, and step up academically for my chosen profession. Singing has done all that for me.
Singing has presented me some of my biggest challenges. Fear. Lack of self belief. Hard work ! Focus. Hours of rehearsal and commitment. Study. And overcoming them has given me strength. Singing has taught me so much about other people. About seeing diversity, compassion, patience, triumph, dreams, overcoming fear, expressing oneself living the dream. About the privilege of being a mentor. About exposing yourself and going for it. About skilling people up to succeed. About seeing JOY, about those moments when people feel and hear their own voices ring out for the first time in their lessons. About Soul.
Singing is what I do…if you want to do it too it’s never too late to start. Or maybe you love it, and sing already and would like to be more confident and gain some skill, and improve your sound. That’s where all the tech stuff comes in and it’s my job to help you with that….but the most important thing is how it makes you feel no matter how you do it ! I dare you to go outside on the verandah right now and sing a verse and chorus from a song you love… then stop and see how you feel. Pretty good I’ll bet !