Such a worthwhile day teaching at Hobgoblin Music Shop today. I feel connected to so many aspects of music, voice and humanity.
Singing, music and songs can be very powerful. Music can move us to tears, through personal associations and stories, through sheer beauty/quality of sound, and for reasons we just don’t understand.
Gaining more understanding and control of our vocal mechanisms can be empowering, enlightening and exciting! Demystifying the processes at work when we give voice or engage with music, can be quite a thrill and a revelation.
And yet there is also always an element of mystery and surprise in the human voice. How will my voice be today? What aspects have I yet to discover? Why do I like or dislike particular sounds? Why do I hold different standards for myself and others? What music, voices or sounds will emotionally uplift me and suit my mood, today, tomorrow, in a decade? How will my current and future physical, mental and emotional states affect my vocal use and musical/sonic preferences? How does my voice change when I sing with and “mirror” other individuals? How does my voice change when I sing different genres, or with different emotions, or for different reasons? So much to explore and learn, always.
Finding new vocal sounds that you aren’t used to using can be unnerving, exciting, unpleasant, scary, fun, empowering and intriguing.
Aspects of various vocal qualities may connect you to particular human archetypes or emotions, and you might have positive or negative associations with and stories around those archetypes. Allowing yourself, at your own pace, to find and explore new sounds, can teach you about yourself on quite a deep level.
Finding the freedom to play with and create new sounds, even ones you find ugly or wouldn’t necessarily want to use in a song, can expand your physical repertoire of ways to make sound. You can then apply these new sound set-ups in micro-doses to particular musical situations, potentially finding new ways to project, express, or fine tune your performance of a song, or to strengthen a particular area of your voice.
Many people are put off music by static beliefs about their abilities, thinking that they simply can’t and won’t ever be able to sing or make music themselves. This is a sad loss, both for them and for others! Those who are brave enough to question their beliefs, and to go on to explore and learn about their voices (and also about music), tend to be greatly rewarded by the vast range of human benefits that singing, vocalising and music making can offer.
It isn’t easy to challenge your strongly held beliefs, and I am continually impressed by the giant leaps of faith people take in my workshops, choirs and individual lessons, where they allow themselves to explore beyond what they had thought was a fixed limit to their capabilities. The increased confidence and joy I witness regularly in these brave souls is wonderful to behold.
Some people are also put off music by intimidating theoretical aspects, and musical jargon that they don’t understand. It is understandable that these aspects are off-putting, when they are often used to exclude people from taking part in music making, to create hierarchies, or are focused on so extensively that the humanity at the heart of the music is overlooked.
However, when taught and used inclusively and with patience, and a continuing focus on the real human reasons for making music, then music theory and the science, maths, method and magic behind it, can become empowering, clarifying, and a solid foundation for exploration of the infinite worlds of sound. The squiggles and dots on a score become a language that means that we have a fallback option for when the brain forgets things, and we can preserve brilliant structures for musical magic to be made again and again. A musical score is a bit like a spell book – on its own, it’s simply words and pictures, but once the words on its pages are spoken, sung or chanted with intention, then wonderful powerful things start to happen!
Music connects us to each other. To shared aspects of our humanity. To moods, stories and a sense of place. To the physical and mysterious beauty of melody. To the scientific and spiritual wonders of harmony, and harmonics. To people from the past. To people in the present with us. To people in the future who will hear songs handed down aurally, recorded on audio or video, or scored in professional or amateur notation. Music connects us deeper to ourselves. It can facilitate emotional release, give us energy, and increase our ability for empathy.
Music is a magical power, a science, a song. And something I am honoured to show up for.
Many thanks to all today’s students for showing up with yourselves, your voices, your songs and your questions. It’s an honour to work with and hold space for you.
If you’d like to book an individual singing lesson, see the homepage for details, and contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book. If you’d like to try group singing (which I highly recommend), check out the GLOW Choir Brighton website and facebook page, and please do join us for a sing! Best wishes, HR xo