What is vocal freedom?

I think learning how to answer this question for oneself is one of the most important things we can do in our vocal study. Does achieving “vocal freedom” mean:
  • Singing feels easy
  • Singing feels easier now than it used to, but it’s not exactly easy
  • Singing is becoming more enjoyable
  • Singing is more technically impressive
  • The singing displays certain properties that my teacher calls “free” although I/we can’t really tell what the heck I’m doing

The question may elicit easy or complicated answers, depending on the person and the issues at hand. The answers may cross and connect between mind and body. I don’t have an absolute definition of freedom for you, but I encourage you to discuss these with your teacher, coach, and singing friends. A functionally-oriented teacher looks for increased freedom by checking that the voice shows a greater range of dynamics, pitch, speed, and flexibility, coupled with feedback from the student.

“How does that feel to you?” As a teacher, I am observing your singing, not feeling it. The singer must become an expert in what he feels, since no one else can do that for him. To paraphrase Jeannette Lovetri, it may feel “weird” before it feels “good”, when something changes for the better functionally. Sometimes we need to live with “weird” for a while before we decide yay or nay. Teachers must be careful not to lead the witness, and be curious and open to what the student says they are experiencing.

If it works better and it feels good, perhaps we can call that more free? Let me know what you think.

If you enjoy this blog, consider grabbing a copy of Sane Singing: A Guide to Vocal Progress, available in print and ebook!

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