Forgetting, relearning, and liking it

foregetfulnessOften when I practice, especially after a break, I feel like I’ve forgotten how to sing. I just can’t open my mouth and do what seemed easy before – right away. I’ve learned not to worry about this phenomenon, although I used to get a little nutty about it.

Over the years I have figured out what sorts of warm-ups and exercises I need to do to find ease again. Not specific exercises, but specific TYPES of exercises. As a tenor (and as ME), I have to revisit the different flavors of falsetto, get my voice to pulse and move and stretch,

get chest to be clear and strong, minimize movements and “setting”, visit my favorite vowels, and after a few minutes things start to respond. I have tried assembling a personal set of magic exercises and that doesn’t quite work, since specific exercises sneak around on me – good one week, useless the next.

It seems that it’s not about returning to a “specific place”. My body and mind are never in exactly the same place that they were in space and time, and so neither is my voice. Being willing to experiment, observe, and adapt, in a joyful spirit, is what it’s about when I practice. After I feel my voice with my body and mind again, then I sing my songs.

If this makes any sense to anyone else, please don’t think that I think it should be this way for everybody. Others may have a regime or “routine” that is relatively static that gives them a reconnection to singing after a pause. Nothing wrong with that, but it hasn’t worked for me. I have to get rid of my perfectionism completely before I can have a good practice session. If I keep my mind open and my knickers untwisted, I’m much more likely to experience “It didn’t turn out as he planned. It was perfect instead” (quoth Byron Katie). If not perfect, at least really good.

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