The Throat/Body/Mind Connection

We talk about the singing voice and the speaking voice as if they are separate when we realize that we only have one larynx, one set of vocal folds and one throat. Why? Because we do not experience singing in the same way that we experience speech and that has to do with what happens in the brain.

The musical part of the brain is in a different location than the part that houses the lyrics. That’s why you can end up with “doo bee doo bee doo” while the melody just keeps going. Scientists are just beginning to address what goes on between these two sections in the brain (Oliver Sacks’ book, “Musicophilia” is fascinating on this topic*).

It is possible, over time, to develop a great deal of awareness over the process of singing in very precise detail. It is possible to develop a capacity to feel things that are not supposed to be easily felt and to perceive things at a level of awareness that most people could not imagine. This kind of perception actually becomes quite possible in skilled singers who are looking to develop it. It does not just “arrive” because you sing, however, no matter how long you do.

There are probably infinite ways to perceive things like singing, given that the mind is not limited. In addition to gross movements like how much the jaw is open or how the lips are shaped, it is possible to perceive small changes in kinesthetic things and also in the sounds as they are emerging. It is also possible to be aware of the body and what it is doing while singing and of your emotions as you are experiencing them while performing a song. It is possible to be aware of all these things and more simultaneously but without self-consciousness. It is possible to “ride on top of them” with just a mere wisp of awareness, knowing they are there but leaving them alone to be as they are.

Given that most training is externally driven…that is, goal oriented, it isn’t common for the training process to produce deep awareness of any kind. In Somatic Voicework™, however, we strive for a unity of the throat, the body, and the mind, because without that it is impossible to be an artist who can freely create through her singing. Somatic Voicework™ is a process-oriented teaching method. It gets to the goals through presenting a process. Learning this way is slower, but more effective in the long haul because once you learn it, whatever it is, you never forget what you’ve learned and that’s because it is taken in through so many senses and with so much perception that the complete experience is vivid, clear and accessible.

*musicophilia.com/

 

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