Singing is very simple and easy. IT’S TRUE. It really is a no brainer, so to speak. I have been singing professionally for 25 years and have been a singing teacher for the last 9 years, running my own business, Connected Voice. In that time I have learnt a lot about singing, how easy and enjoyable it can be and how difficult we can tend to make it. Let me explain what I mean.
Why Singing is like Skiing
Last January I was on the ski slopes in Switzerland. I had skied only once before about 20 years ago, and I was feeling quite nervous about it but nevertheless I was committed and really wanted to do it. So I asked my partner who had more experience, how it worked and what I needed to do, to slalom in and out of the witches hats down the mountain. He explained that I needed to transfer my weight to my right to turn left and visa versa for the other side. “Ok”, I thought.
At the top of the slope
Standing at the top of the mountain I was thinking about what I needed to do. I could feel that my body was tense and I wasn’t enjoying this. Sure enough each time I went down, I fell at some point in the journey. I did this a few times, thinking “I need to get this right, learn the technique…blah blah blah”. Anyway, the next time I went back up the slope I had a realisation. I hadn’t been present with my body ANY of the times I went down! So, this time I stopped and brought myself into conscious presence at the top. I felt my body let go and relax and I decided to just forget about the technique and stay present with my body no matter what.
As I went down the mountain my body took over – it naturally knew what to do.
I naturally felt when to transfer my weight from side to side without thinking. More than that, I was in flow with my body and I was enjoying myself! Amazing! When I got the bottom I said to myself – “This is so easy! Why was I making it so hard for myself?” So my body knew what to do all the time, but I was in the way of it.
Once I got myself out of the way by becoming present, it just happened.
This brings my awareness to the way we are generally taught to do things from an early age – through the mind communicating and drilling techniques but never through feel. Communicating in this way underestimates our whole natural intelligence by taking us into our minds straight away. This makes us think that we are lacking something and so we TRY to get it right to achieve the desired result. This cuts out our natural presence and our ability to flow and easily pick up how to do things in a way that feels right for us.
Thinking how to sing?
I’m realising that learning to sing or learning anything new for that matter is no different. Come to think of it, the idea of THINKING how to sing seems pretty ridiculous actually. Singing is an expression that comes from a feeling in the body, there is no thinking needed. In a singing lesson situation, I feel the learning is more in becoming present and learning how to trust that, than anything else. Yes there is pitch (singing in tune) and technique and we can work on those things specifically too if necessary, but I have found that as in the above example they all improve naturally when there is presence.
I’m realising how naturally intelligent we all are! There is no need for pushing, trying or drumming things into our heads, in fact to the contrary – when there is presence, we already know what to do.