“Learning to sing is the unlearning of the barriers that prevent free flowing sound.”-A Colliver
Singing is a little like operating in the dark as you can’t see the vocal mechanism and therefore it must be done by feel instead. Words are largely inadequate and can easily confuse a singer, so my aim as a teacher is to try to help students understand the vocal sensations associated with placement, support, projection, register changes, musical styles, and genres.
Sound, although a tangible experience, cannot be seen or fully be heard by the singer, and therefore the sensation of the sound plays a huge part in the creation of a reliable vocal result. Without this, the singer will try to access sound through external means, which tends to negate the internal nature of singing.
There is a general misconception that if a student is showing limited range, registers, tonal quality, and/or power, then that’s the way it is and not much can be done about it. This is both ignorant and misinformed as the sounds being created are simply a by-product of a limited vocal knowledge, which in turn affects the physical co-ordination of the voice. The truth of it is that the voice is an imperfect instrument, full of pitfalls and sensitivities, so the challenge for us all is to learn how to navigate and negotiate them. This is what I refer to as vocal technique.
How is it we expect to sing well when we haven’t explored the range of sounds we carry within us? Good sounds, bad sounds, ugly sounds, all sounds? In my opinion many of us undertake the learning process the wrong way around. How can you negotiate an instrument you don’t understand? How can you choose a sound you don’t know you have? How can you receive the answer to a question you haven’t yet asked?
In essence a teacher should teach you to access what is already stored in what is known as your intuitive body, but most of us don’t recognize the truth of this, and tend to look for the answers outside of ourselves rather than from within.
Everything takes time so if you don’t enjoy vocal exploration and the discipline it takes to integrate the things you discover, the learning process will be intimidating, frustrating, and stressful for you. Acquiring knowledge should be energizing, joyful, and inspiring, so a large part of claiming your true and authentic voice is in the allowing of yourself to breathe, laugh, fail, fall, and surrender to the process.