Perception

It’s all about perception. It’s about your point of view.

What we argue about, what causes strife and even wars, are different points of view. When you are attached to your point of view as if it were LIFE ITSELF….uh oh. If you can’t see that what you believe and what you think and how you feel is just that….a set of beliefs, thoughts and emotions, you will stuck with them as surely as you are stuck with your height.

Changing one’s perception of something is more than just changing one’s mind, although it can be that and only that. Changing perception usually requires changing more than one thing, sometimes all at once.

That’s where information and education come in handy. In order to change one’s point of view about anything, you have to encounter, either deliberately or accidentally, something that causes you to realize that you HAVE a point of view, and frequently that experience is one which also causes you to question that point of view or perception because you have been presented with new information.

There is ample research that people respond to peer pressure in regard to perception. If enough people think that something is so, it can build up a kind of “critical mass” and become the belief of a large number of people, maybe millions. It can be something that is believed for decades, hundreds or even thousands of years, but, then, suddenly, it will begin to shift. The world was flat for a long time and it took a while for people to believe it was round, but eventually, most (not all) accepted that. The determining factor was new information and the dissemination of that information to a larger and larger group of people.

Perceptions that become laws or strongly held rules that cannot be challenged eventually lead to problems. It is always good to investigate what you believe (and why you believe it) as if it might possibly be not the only perception that is valid or maybe might not actually be accurate or useful at all. That way, you are free to change if you find a better way to go. That’s why lawyers can challenge the interpretation of the law. If they can come up with a new way to “read” it, it might have an impact on how it is seen in the larger world.

In contrast to what I wrote yesterday about “caring too much” being a good thing, being attached to what you care about is a deadly trap. In the end, the world goes on long after we are not around, so caring, up to and including the idea that people will die for what they care about, can be a point of great contention. The Catholic Church will make you a martyr if you die for your religious beliefs. Others might just perceive such steadfast faith in the invisible and eternal as just a bunch of demented foolishness.

If you think that classical singing training will miraculously prepare your voice to sing any kind of music, no matter what it is, and you believe that everything is about “style” and not vocal production, you would not be alone. Many people think that “classical training” is a requisite for good vocal behavior. Never mind that “classical training” is a meaningless phrase, because there are no official codified guidelines about what that is, how it should be taught or what it will give you, anywhere. There are opinions about what it should be, but they vary from person to person, author to author. There is a general consensus about what classical singing sounds like, but it is very hard to put into words, and there is great disagreement amongst classical singing experts about who personifies great classical singing and who does not. And, if you think that you can study classically and then sing metal rock without any adaptations in your training regime (and maybe that would be possible), good for you.

If you want to make your beliefs about this topic into a war, you wouldn’t be alone. You could really get your back up and make it a big deal to show how right you are. People have. I have been accused of this, but I know better than to think any philosophy about singing is always “RIGHT” with a capital R. I might argue passionately, but I live my life knowing that there are many roads to Rome. I just expect that people will explain things about singing in a way that is based on actual function and not pink clouds of mist.

SO

If you look at classical singing as a specific kind of perception about vocal sound-making, and you are willing to regard other kinds of singing as different kinds of sound-making, you might end up with a different point of view about both.

It’s all in perception. Worth fighting over? Not worth fighting over? You decide.

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3 thoughts on “Perception”

  1. There are some codified markers which surely you have not forgotten. Popular styles have been shown to exhibit a raised larynx while classical- that is- operatic singing has been shown to exhibit a lowered one. And even if there is disagreement about what is ‘correct’, there is a historical record- ie recordings- to illuminate the matter.

  2. “Never mind that “classical training” is a meaningless phrase, because there are no official codified guidelines about what that is, how it should be taught or what it will give you, anywhere.”

    Not to pick a fight and I don’t think it necessarily takes anything away from your position, however, the above statement is, in my opinion, provably false based upon historical pedagogical writings (including methodologies) and recordings, and all the more so in light of the current body of acoustical and functional analysis.

  3. There is no CODIFIED, ORGANIZED and AGREED UPON idea of what classical training is. This is a literal statement. The pedagogical approaches and articles DISAGREE. The science articles alone, separate from anything subjective, have not been gathered into a solid, irrefutable book of teaching or end-product goals that everyone who sings or teaches must accept and be able to demonstrate.

    PROOF is when something is agreed upon and can be accurately replicated over and over without disagreement. In terms of singing, there is no such thing for any style, including classical.

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