I have a suspicion that most people have a desire in their heart to sing, and it really has nothing to do with being a famous lead singer or celebrity. Many times when someone new walks in to their first lesson, they are quick to let me know that "I'm not trying to make singing a career, I just...". It's almost as if you have to explain WHY you are interested in singing if you aren't planning to be famous!
Why is that?
The truth is, I don't know. I do have some theories though. Singing was not about performing "solo" for most of human history. Nowadays, the "performing singer" is often the very first thing that comes to mind to the average person when you mention singing. We imagine everyone is sitting around, staring at us, as we try to prove through our voice that we are "worthy" enough to sing in front of an audience.
If you are with an indigenous tribe, everyone is singing. They aren't singing for an audience, they're singing because they are HUMAN. But what are the deeper human needs that give someone the urge to take sing and take voice lessons? My theory is that they are those older, deeper reasons why we used to sing that drive us to sing now. For this article, I really want to talk about one of those reasons:
You are human. Therefore, you sing.
Was there ever a society or tribal culture before the dawn of the industrial revolution that did not sing?
Nearly everyone sang, often daily. It was part of being human. Just like non-exercise types of movement. It used to be intricately woven into every activity throughout the day. Now we have to "remember" to move away from our phone/computer for a couple minutes after an 8 hour stretch. We find out that we can't get up off the floor anymore, not because 50 years have passed, but because for 50 years have passed since we had a reason each day to get up and down from the floor. We lost are why. Go to a less developed part of the world, and you'll see age has nothing to do with getting up off the floor. It's required daily, automatically.
In school, we were mostly trained with DO NOTS. Do not sing in the middle of class, do not tell us what you are feeling, do not, do not, do not. Having been around bratty children, I totally understand why.
Somewhere along the way though...we forgot to TO DO!
DO express what you're feeling DO make all kinds of weird and goofy sounds (totally happens in lessons when we're finding new sounds in our voice) DO speak louder, DO whine, cry, scream, whisper.
The sounds you hear professional singers make, are the very sounds that have been trained out of us since we left the playground. I'm teaching singing, but I'm also inviting you to free your mind.
What happens when you take a bird, put it in a cage, train it over time not to sing and instead to just eat and work and only sing by itself? Or only enjoy singing by watching other birds sing (American Idol)? Something happens to that bird. We can't really put our finger on it (or maybe a bird expert could) but something is...unnatural. It loses that spark of wildness, of free-ness in it's eyes.
A similar thing has happened to us humans. So when I teach "voice lessons" I'm not concerned about whether or not you have "what it takes". My goal is to help you reconnect with what is rightfully yours. You have the right to sing from the rooftops, you have a right to return to your fully human-singing self.
And along the way, you'll sing better, yes, but you'll also get back something you've had all along but never noticed: you know, that whole beautiful universe we'll call your voice.
When we sing, we can get that back. It only takes courage and someone to be there for you. Let's sing, together this time.