Many people are easily convinced by things that sound authoritative. The people who are talking heads in politics (and elsewhere) understand this well. It is easy to sew the seeds of discontent when there is unrest or insecurity of any kind. They use this well when they plan their propaganda, inciting fear, anger and more doubt.
In a “civilized” society, people are taught to comply with the consensus reality of what is considered acceptable or correct behavior. This can be determined by any number of means from a tribal council of elders to a community board to a group or association with a specific interest; or it could just be a set of loosely construed beliefs that seem related such as “I am a fan of Ms. Fancy Moviestar” that are shared by millions of others. Questioning things, examining them deeply to decide on one’s own whether or not they have value, isn’t taught so much at school. It isn’t easy to a have room full of kids at school and have all of them decide that their own rules are the ones they will follow and the heck with anything else. Nevertheless, querying our inner life is something we should all have to learn.
When you reach adulthood, it is worthwhile to dig a bit and really ask some more profound questions. If you do not, you end up mindlessly following whatever it was that you were taught, either formally or through example. You don’t know why you think the way you do or act the way you do, it’s just “how you are” or “how things are”. You could even think you were unique and not like others but without probing that could just be some kind of ego delusion. You have to ask.
If you do not, you are ripe for becoming either closed up and deciding that you never ever need to adjust anything or falling under the spell of the first person who comes along with a strong, energized and seemingly convincing argument, who says this argument is “right”. Particularly if you harbor any doubt at all, even subconsciously, suddenly, you find yourself becoming a follower.
In Somatic Voicework™, I don’t want “followers” in the sense of groupies or devotees. I am lucky to have attracted to my work those who think independently and who work out for themselves what is best for their students. These teachers use my work as an underpinning for what they do, knowing the method is grounded in science, in medical health principles and in life experience of my years of teaching at all levels. They think their way through Level I and then, in Level II, they create exercises to meet the needs of each student, each lesson, as appropriate. There are no cookie cutter pages of exercises with syllables with note patterns and there are no “this exercise is always for this sound” assumptions. Rather, a Somatic Voicework™ teacher is swayed only by evidence, gleaned on his or her own, through teaching and singing.
In this world of people who need to be adulated, and people who need always to be “right” no matter what, I am grateful that the teachers of singing who are interested in my work have no such ideas about me or themselves. In fact, what they want is to be flexible, adaptable, open, sharing and trustworthy. The trust is of their own approach to teaching, of their students’ talents and goals, and of singing itself.
Many times, as I teach the various levels of Somatic Voicework™ participants will come up to me and say, “This is the nicest, most unusual bunch of singing teachers I have ever encountered”. To that I respond, “Yep.”
If you would like to know more, please join us in mid-May for the City College of NY’s Level I of my Somatic Voicework™ training. The details are on my website: www.thevoiceworkshop.com. SVW teachers, if you have something to add to this post, please do!