Hey teachers, I’m talking to you, about your own voices!
There is an old-fashioned phrase called “voice building” which can be useful for describing practicing. You build up the weaker parts, unclench the tight parts, get everything to move faster and farther, coordinate all the parts with each other in fancy combinations, and the voice changes in behavior and sound with each development. This is done with intentional physical and mental work. We teachers and geekier singers think It’s pretty cool, and enjoy it. But we need more than that.
Performance involves using the voice in musical ways to express something.
If you only sing songs, you probably won’t get all of the best exercise you could be getting, and your vocal potential may not be realized. The opposite, only vocalizing without singing songs, is obviously strange, but it happens! Some teachers get into a pickle, knowing how to train a voice, and maybe even keeping up with their own training, but not singing enough. We get rusty, scared, complacent, or lazy.
We need to sing:
- to be happy as vocalists – if we sing often it is easier and more fun. Remember joy? Why not work on having more joy?
- to prove to ourselves whether we are on the right track with our training.
- to use our abilities to create positive vibes in the world.
- to teach our students by example.
- to express ourselves.
“Performance” can be a loaded word, even for old experienced people (me). “I’m going to sing for you” is how I like to frame every performance situation now. Once I’m onstage, doing my sing thing, it stops being a “performance booking” or “audition” or “impressing someone” and becomes an exciting, fascinating, two-way experience with the audience. We teachers need to remember and practice this amazing art often. Good for the soul and good for our teaching! Putting ourselves out there can be scary at first, but worth it.