being a controlled singer

No one would deny that I am a bit of a type A. Not for everything, I am certainly not type A about my house being clean or my closet being super neat. I also have grown to live with leaving a dish or two in the sink. But, most of the time, I’m a controller. Yes, it is a fault but I like to think of it as just my commitment to doing things the best. (Who am I kidding!) Likewise, I have a tendency to keep a fairly tight schedule with work and when I can, training. I don’t take a lot of time to relax or breathe.

However, I have started to have some very interesting self-revelations as I have started lessons again. I began lessons again to try to renew my singing strength, remove bad habits, and practice music for me not just through my students. I have really loved my first few lessons. I have fought through illness and had lessons where all I do is breathe, but I feel like I have learned so much already.

One of my biggest complaints in my own singing has been the amount of tension I feel in both my breathing and my larynx as I sing anything. I constantly feel like I am not using breath effectively and that my sound is tense and strident. I have learned good strategies to improve my breathing. I have been brought to awareness of habits such as unnecessary movement in my head and lower body. (So much of the movement stems from the encouragement of movement in my students which is good, just different than solo singing habits.) Surprisingly, I have a tendency to not open my mouth enough which further tenses the sound.

What does all of this have to do with anything? Well, I believe that my difficulties and bad habits in singing are a direct reflection of my daily life. (Perhaps at this point you are saying “duh”, but we all come into our personal revelations at our own pace.) So much of the difficulty I am having resonating with a strong tone comes from my sincere desire to do it right, the first time. My incomprehensible belief that I am not allowed to fail. My attempt to be in charge of everything around me. These personality traits/habits have a direct correlation to my singing. Whoa.

So how does one fix this? Well…yoga? less stress? more patience? Or does much of this have to do with lack of faith? Does this constant need to control stem from not truly believing that God is in control?

Either way, as I begin my practice of singing at a more intense level than I have practiced in quite a while, I think I must remain vigilant about staying true to new learning and patient as I break the habits of old. This, of course, takes time. And time is a whole different post topic altogether.

For now, Norina and Clara await…

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One thought on “being a controlled singer

  1. Anna January 13, 2011 / 2:46 am

    Excellent insight! Breath is so important! In the last couple of years, I have been going to the back of the church on Sunday mornings, after communion, to receive a healing blessing. And, initially, quite without planning it, I breathed out when the healing minister said “Beseeching our Lord Jesus Christ to…drive away all sickness of body and spirit…” and I breathed in when she said “…to give you that victory of life and peace which will enable you to serve him both now and evermore.” (p 456 BCP). I unconsciously did that, week after week, and then finally realized I was doing it…. I have found it life-giving to breathe in that life and peace, now consciously, week after week. Centering, calming, focusing….

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