I think today is the day I should go up the mountain trail and give you another voice lesson.
I have not hiked there in several weeks and it is a beautiful clear sunny Fall day. A blue jay hops along the ledge on my patio wall then flies to a low branch of a young oak tree, now nearly stripped of golden leaves. He hopes that I will give him some peanuts and looks through the sliding glass door at me, turning his head as if to say, “where are the peanuts?” I put out peanuts early in the morning (5:30-6am) and it is now 9:15am, so I think, he is out of luck. He disappears into the forest and I keep typing.
Suddenly, I see a blue shape swoop back onto the ledge.
“Ha, that’s what you think!” this same jay signals, staring at me with a glint in his eye as stands proudly with a large peanut in his beak. “See, I don’t need your old early morning peanuts anyhow because someone else knows that I like to sleep in late, so there!” I laugh and think about how much gratitude I feel for living in this peaceful place, far from the hubbub of the city, away from noise, crime, anxiety and pollution, cooking and heating on a wood stove. It is a simple life in a complex world.
Then I think about how complex a voice is and yet how simply and effectively a blue jay communicates with his voice and wonder how my online singing lessons can help you with your voice.
With blue jays and voices in mind today I invite you on a journey to a distant place, past all boundaries and obstacles that may stand in your way.
If you would like to come along with me on this journey, I guarantee that you will discover things about yourself and life that you may never have known existed before. This journey starts deep inside yourself, hidden inside the chambers of your mind and muscles and the minutes parts of what keeps you alive.
Take a deep breath and let it out slowly and let’s go!
Where is this distant place where you are going to send your voice? Think of it as a spot on top of a mountain, way over there – somewhere out in front of you. You can see the mountain but you aren’t near it. You’re on top of a different mountain and there is a canyon in between. You can see the highest point, but you can’t get there from where you are.
All of a sudden, you see someone whom you haven’t seen in years standing on the top of the mountain. Someone you care about and love with everything in you. But you are on this side of the canyon and the person you love is on the other side of the canyon. They do not know you are there and so do not see you.
What to do?
You yell loudly, but the wind is blowing through the trees and the sound is bigger than your voice. The canyon and wind form a boundary line, a barrier for you. So, you yell louder, but the only result is a sore throat and a cracking sound in your voice.
Next, you try jumping up and down and waving your arms, but you are too far away and it doesn’t do the trick.
You consider lighting a fire. That will get attention, but probably only from the fire and police departments. Besides, the fire would just chase your loved one away.
So, now what? (here is where my online singing tips come in!)
You think back to something your singing teacher ( me ♥) told you about projecting your voice, something you did not fully understand at the time. Quickly, you try to recall what she said and then envision seeing her cup her hands around her lips and calling out to someone. You remember her telling you to do the same, imagining that you have to get your voice through a tiny hole in the corner of the room where the ceiling meets the two walls. Her voice sounded really loud when she did it, almost like yelling, but it didn’t seem like she hurt her throat.
“Do it,” you call out through the wind. “Get over yourself and do it!”
You cup your hands, placing them around your lips, then remembering that she told you to let go of the tension in your hands, your neck, your jaw and your belly, you plant your feet and call out “Hello,” stretching out the vowel “o,” like she did.
The sound doesn’t get very far and it bugs you because it doesn’t sound good enough to go anywhere, let alone over to the other mountain. You look down and kick the dirt, berating yourself. When you look up again, you see your loved one starting to walk away, not because you don’t sound good, but because they can’t hear you. Frantically, you try again.
“Hellooooooooo,” you call out through the wind, “hellooooooo, heloooooo,” with more urgency and higher pitched now, “heloooooooooooo.”
Something connects inside of you. Your whole body feels alive for the first time in years, almost like every cell is tingling, vibrating with power and joy. You realize that you aren’t just calling out anymore, but you are singing and your voice is strong, so you keep singing out across the canyon. You begin to hear your voice reverberate against the huge granite boulders and it gets louder and louder as you let it go, not caring how it sounds anymore. You are totally focused on making sure your beloved hears you.
Suddenly, they turn their head in your direction see you! They calls back to you and BOOM, there’s an earthquake, and all the boulders fall down around you and you never see your loved one again!
No, seriously, when being heard is so important to you that you don’t care about anything else, you will let go of all your tension and unleash the natural power of your voice. That’s what it means to project your voice.
Now let’s go up that mountain together.