People are usually focused on the method that they must learn and develop if they are going to effortlessly sing. Most people understand that singing is making musical sounds with the voice,
and or using words with a set tune. Some teachers start with the method, I start with the instrument, the singer.
Have you ever noticed how people are selective when it comes to what kind of instrument they should purchase? Doing research and asking musicians what company they would purchase
their instrument from. When it comes to singing, people don’t really pay attention to the instrument, they just want to learn the method and sing. But you cannot do this and expect to
sing affectively because if you want to learn how to sing properly, you need to take care of your instrument.
Unlike some other instruments where you can practice and then return the instrument to its case for safe keeping, singers carry their instrument with them all the time. Singers sometimes allow themselves to not get enough sleep (affects the singer’s tone), eat crazy food that make them phlegmy, and do not take the time to learn how to let go of emotional issues before they perform.
In order for the instrument to be ready to sing, you need to clean it of emotional content that does not apply to the song being sung. You need to relax and let go of any tension lurking in your muscles because if you do not, it will affect the sound that you are releasing, because remember, you are the instrument.
My vocal students know that the same way they carve out time for doing their vocal exercises, singing their songs and balancing technical skills and emotional content for expression, they also have to devote time for developing who they are, on purpose. We must see ourselves as a Stradivari violin or a Steinway piano, we must respect and love our instrument.
At Carleton University Wayne Eagles, guitar instructor, director of the Fusion Ensemble and who is also working this year in a new position, Music Performance Studies Administrator, is dedicated to ensuring the instruments are being maintained and stay healthy. Even though the Loeb building is closed due to COVID-19 during the lockdowns, the instruments are still being taken care of.
There are many methods that can assist the singer who understands that she is responsible for taking care of her instrument like prayer, meditation, yoga, exercise, and most definitely having fun. We live in a society where we go to the mechanic to maintain our car but think it strange to see a councillor or share our feelings with a good friend if we are dealing with emotions that we are having difficulty letting go of.
For singers ‘taking care of the instrument’ means, taking care of yourself. Be kind and gentle with the instrument. Make sure the instrument is stored in a safe place. The singer must understand that she must love herself if she is to develop properly and not be emotionally and physically tormented by being afraid. While practicing, making statements like, “this instrument is not good enough” is a sure way to solidify and bring doubt and fear to every performance, because whatever you practice you develop. There is nothing wrong with the instrument because in order to learn you MUST make mistakes. Take pride in your instrument, not only is it the only one you’ve got, but unlike a Stradivari violin or Steinway piano, YOU are priceless.
Keep on Singing
The Confidence Booster