Singing for Healing!
As a vocal instructor I see the potential for singing as a healing tool to communicate your truth and for releasing emotional and physical heaviness by “letting go.”
My evolution in singing has taken me from victim, hoping that everyone likes what and how I sing, to victor, singing confidently to share a clear and passionate message. From someone who hopes she does well, to someone who can trust in herself because of her developed abilities through experience. From someone who went from beating herself up whenever she made a mistake, to someone who understands clearly that you never loose in life, you only learn.
We as human beings have a long-standing tradition with singing. According to John Koopman “not only is singing ancient and universal, in primitive cultures it is an important function associated not so much with entertainment or frivolity as with matters vital to the individual, social group, or religion. Primitive man sings to invoke his gods with prayers and incantations, celebrate his rites of passage with chants and songs, and recount his history and heroics with ballads and epics.”
Singing as a form of worshipping God has been a way to help folks "let go" and release deep emotions to flow and release the body from the heaviness that sometimes comes from simply living life. Psalm 96:1 states, "O Sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth!"
There are cultures that still participate in festivities that Koopman has outlined, yet society is not taking advantage of the full benefits of developing the well-being of the singer and then ultimately the audience.
Learning how to sing helps the singer connect deeply with her soul. The singer must learn how to feel as comfortable as she can in allowing herself to truly be vulnerable. While allowing the audience to see and feel her deepest sentiments, she then shares a story in song with no inhibitions, and no pretense. This is no easy task, but if done properly can stir the audience to tears (happy or sad).
A great example of a performer who is doing this is Coco Love Alcorn (https://cocolovealcorn.com/rebirth) who not only performs but brings her audiences in on the show. The Big Soul Project Choir and Deep Groove band (https://www.bigsoulproject.com) encourages their audiences to sing along during their shows and reminds them they should never be ashamed to do so.
In order to achieve this level of communication, the singer must have the mental discipline to connect with her deepest self. As a vocal instructor, I assist my students in understanding that if there are underlying emotional issues (big or small) while singing, the song being sung may not be sung properly. So, learning how to mentally release drama from the mind (before) singing, is key. This can be achieved with relaxation techniques.
When singing, the individual needs to have ALL her energy directed, in one direction (singing the story of the song not only through the voice but also with her body language and facial expressions) or the audience will get mixed messages. Singing a happy song from a place of terror (due to nerves) is never comfortable for the singer or the audience.
A healthy singer is someone who understands that the audience wants to hear what she is singing. She understands that vocal technique is practiced to ensure a clearer tone, effortless release of sound, and that she has the ability to influence her audiences’ thoughts and mood. This cannot happen if the singer is wondering if she is going to sound good, or hit that note, or hope that people will like her; she has to know and simply sing or in other words, believe in herself.
I see singers as agents for positive change who can influence their audiences for good (good = being positive or desirable in nature). Throughout history, we as musicians have always written and performed music to describe love, war, hate, beauty, spirituality, enlightenment, and so much more of the human condition. At this point in my lifetime, I am standing on the shore of life, getting ready to embark on a voyage where entertainment is a beacon for healing. Where a clear, passionate and soulful singer leads her audience of strangers to enjoy each other’s company, and by “letting go”, heal together through something as simple as singing.
Keep on singing,