Free voice………..the Holy Grail of singing, when everything just works. The idea of the free voice is an interesting concept. When you are obviously doing so much in order to sing, what can 'free' possibly mean. The audience experience it as such. People talk about the voice being effortless and free as a compliment. The significance of this is that it confirms the idea of the voice as an instrument using a system inside the human body which seems to go on its own. Pavarotti once said 'sometimes it is going so strongly I can't stop singing'. The quest of the singer is to find the 'it' that sets everything free. What we do know is that when 'free', the vocal instrument responds much more readily to imagination, feeling and emotion than when you try to fake it, try to 'make' it happen rather than genuinely mean it. There is a big difference for the listener between the singer who is trying to make a feeling and one who is actually expressing the feeling itself. The first comes through intellect, thinking, whereas the second comes straight from the heart via the body.
Authentic…………means when something is genuinely meant and is about intention.
As suggested above, it is possible to fake feelings, using intellectual devices like louds and softs, exaggerated words and vocal colouration, all thought driven rather than from the heart. All these things decorate the surface of the sound without ever touching the centre. Find your core flow and these other things will come anyway. The very best singing just seems to be talking to you, personally. without even being 'singing'. It is about the communication itself rather than the means of that communication.
Diaphragm………this much used word covers a multitude of sins. Beloved by choir trainers who instruct you to use it as if it is an easy and obvious thing to do. Wrong.
The diaphragm does two really important things. It takes instructions from the brain to breath for you so you don't have to think about it, and it is the place where emotions hide. If your diaphragm is held, the sound will be fake and forced. The diaphragm must always be soft. When it is like this it can move and when it moves, it releases your power. Remember that it is the softness of the ocean that erodes the cliffs. Power lies in ceaseless movement. In Eastern thinking, hard power, called yang, and soft power, called yin, balance each other, to make the whole. The same happens in singing. Softness of the body produces power of sound. I once asked my teacher if breath was hard or soft……….'both' he replied…..'mmmm' thought I……and got on with singing. Too much theory can leave us baffled. Doing it teaches us what it is.
Trust……..this is really important. As you journey along the vocal path, you become more and more aware of that movement which does the singing and which you simply have to get out of the way of so it can do its stuff. It travels up and down the centre and allowing it to do this is what really good singing is all about. Surrendering your body to the movement of the song, letting go, giving in.
Opening……….Did you know this is a literal possibility for the human body, not just an idea ? Did you know for example that during childbirth in the ancient of days in the African bush, woman used song to open the body of the lady giving