Singing is spiritual

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I have spent the last two decades learning about singing: how to do it, how to teach it, how to listen to it.  I have written about it, read about it, attended conferences about it... and it struck me the other day that there is one major discussion that doesn't seem to be happening in all these areas: Why we sing in the first place. 

What compels us to open our mouths in song and pursue training and even perhaps careers, and what to do when we find ourselves absent of that reason?

The literature and conferences are filled with the latest techniques and technologies, the best repertoire, how to audition and the like, but by and large, the bigger, deeper picture is missing.

I think it's assumed that everyone already knows this reason and feels it or they wouldn't be pursuing singing in the first place.  And I think that may be largely true.  But I've known enough singers, at all levels, who have lost their personal reason for singing, myself included, that I feel it's time to bring this to the forefront.

I've seen that, no matter how good your technique is, no matter how much technology you use to aid in learning or performing, no matter how well suited your repertoire is for your voice, no matter how prepared you are for auditions, if you are disconnected from your personal "why", you will be unable to reach your full potential and you will likely feel like you are running in an endless race that you can never win.

And I believe that this "why" is never discussed much, on the public scene at least, because it is inherently spiritual - "of, concerned with, or affecting the soul" (thefreedictionary.com).  In our Western culture that favors the mind and logic and reasoning to such a high degree, talking about spirituality and the deeply personal journey of the self, gets taboo and uncomfortable.

But as singers, as artists, as creative human beings, I believe this is a mistake.

Because it's in connecting with your essence, your soul, your own personal understanding of the Divine, your own "why" that authenticity, uniqueness, confidence, and clarity arises.  Your "why" is what gives you a Voice instead of just notes on a page being sung with your instrument.  Your "why" is what makes people sit up and listen, it's what gives you something to say as an artist.


Tweet: To sing is to give the soul voice.

Without acknowledging this "why" and healing it when necessary, we are vocal automatons.  And in a society where artistry and classical music, especially, is increasingly less revered, we will be our own demise if we don't get out of our heads and into our hearts. 

This is why I coach.  This is why I teach holistically.

Because music is the expression of the soul.  Otherwise, it's just sound.

So tell me, what's your "why"?