In most spiritual traditions the “masters” are of few words, carefully chosen. They understand the power of words, as spoken sound, to influence. Strongly spoken words carry emotional and mental power and have an impact. Singing magnifies that experience.
Any authority figure must learn to choose words carefully and to pay attention to the consequences of the words uttered. You cannot take them back. Words once released last for as long as the person who heard them carries them in their own mind. Written words can last for thousands of years and effect millions of people.
We have now a President who speaks with no regard whatsoever as to the truth of his statements or the consistency. He is oblivious to the damage his complete lack of command of language causes and how it weakens both what he says and his own image. The country suffers because the truth is construed as lies and the lies as truth. Such is the damage than can be done by words uttered blithely and by an individual who either can’t tell the difference between truth or falsehood, or by someone who doesn’t care about it in any way.
If you teach, you simply cannot afford to be indifferent. Certainly you cannot come from that point of view when teaching singing which is spoken word come alive. Music well written and beautifully sung allows us to share the landscape of our inner lives. Those who are listening and open can be transformed, sometimes forever, by receiving this gift.
Therefore, we must ask ourselves what we really want to say and what it means. We must own the words, the sentences, the thoughts and the emotions, and when we sing, we must own the notes and rhythms, too, as part of our communication.
Not everyone is highly articulate. Some do not have diverse or broad vocabulary. Some people don’t bother to determine if what they want to communicate is what gets communicated. The only way to know is to ask. “What do you think I was saying? What did I just communicate? What did that mean to you, if it meant anything at all? What kind of a reaction do you have to that?” You cannot know if you don’t ask or if someone doesn’t volunteer to tell you without being asked.
A great deal of success in life is precipitated by knowing the right questions to ask. There are people who never question anything ever. If they end up in power, at any level, it is really scary.
In your life, try always to find the best words to express your thoughts. Take time to think about which words are the ones you need. Don’t press forward to say whatever comes to mind just because it’s easy. Choose your words with care and, following this further, when you sing, do so with clear intention.
You cannot retract what you say (or write) so be willing to take responsibility for your utterances. A song is words come alive through music. With both, make your choices carefully.