Archive for May, 2009

Zen and singing

May 22, 2009

Does Zen apply toward singing? has not found any evidence of historical Zen Buddhism applied toward singing. Does anyone know?  Please inform us.

Is it reasonable to assume then that Zen can be applied toward singing? Recall, Zen Buddhism is really a derivative of Chan Buddhism (Chinese), and Buddhism started in India, which was and still is Hindu. One would expect these Eastern cultural techniques to have been applied toward singing; and perhaps we just don’t know anything about it.

So, is it reasonable to assume that Zen is applicable to singing?

Well, consider all the other influences Buddhism has in Japan– Zen in tea ceremonies, Zen in archery, Zen in sumo wrestling, Zen in samurai, etc. It would be surprising that Zen wasn’t applied toward singing.

Buddha was known be love singing.


Timing is based on mental music

May 20, 2009

In’s opinion, accurate timing is more appreciated by the audience than precise pitch, but perhaps less than tonal quality.   In the case of the lead singer, he or she actually leads the music as well; in which case, accurate timing is more challenging. 

In general, the music follows the singer, by a slight fraction of a second.

So, when singing, one can’t listen to the music and sing, because one’s slightly behind.   If using good karaoke music, the words are frequently slightly off cue, but even if on-cue, it’ll sound like you’re reading the words.  The singing has to be interpreted with and lead the music.   So, how is this done?’s opinion is to create a mental picture of the song and sing into that song.   The mental picture is created by knowing the song in advance, listening to the music as it is occurring, create the mental picture of what’s to come, and sing in harmony with the mental picture.

Chen Sun

Vocal cords or lower nasal-pharynx

May 20, 2009

There’s a lot of discussion about singers tiring their vocal cords.  I’m unable to determine whether I tire mine, but do believe I tire my lower nasal pharynx (lower than the soft pallet) when I sing highs.   I don’t even know what tired vocal cords feel like.

What does tired vocal cords feel like and what does tiring of lower nasal-pharynx feel like?


May 20, 2009

This is a great full range microphone, that is a terrific microphone for, in particular, women. There are better mics in the highs and lows, but for full range, this is sensitive, sounds great, and does a good job overall.

Imitative singing

May 20, 2009

Imitation is natural to singing–that’s how people naturally learn. To stop this, the first is to recognize that this is a natural process. Next, one should interpret the lyrics and music, and put your own feelings into this. How would you feel sing this particular lyric?

Next, is a bit more challenging–when singing, you have to replace the “original’s” sound in your head with your new interpretation.
To help in this, you may want to incorporate the way you talk into your singing. Talking has numerous years of experience of nuances that is inimitable and has a great deal of subtlety. So, when you incorporate some of the talking acquired nuances, you’ll definitely sound original.

Chen Sun

Can yoga serve as vocal warmup?

May 20, 2009

I haven’t found success at this. Yoga’s stretches are valuable to enable capacity, but it is difficult to stretch the vocal tract or vocal cords as for warm-ups, that I know of.

The first three steps to get started on learning how to sing

May 20, 2009

Learning how to sing is inexpensive. Here are several items recommends to start out with.

1. A Creative XiFi sound card (approximately $40 on sale) and a hifi audio cable to tie your computer into your stereo’s speakers. The XiFi has an audio processor chip that makes music, including downloaded music sound great!

2. An Internet connection to websites such as  and’s karaoke section; both sites have free karaoke music plays and tens of thousands of songs.

3. A supportive person or audience. Find the most supportive karaoke bar crowd you can find.

That’s all you need. Everything else can be figured out.

Western authors supporting VocalPosture’s philosophy

May 20, 2009

There are some Western singing instructors who also teach compatible approaches to VocalPosture.   Alan Green’s “The New Voice”, and Mark Baxter’s “Rock and Roll Singer’s Survival Manual”, both published by Hal Leonard, both advocate first establishing vocal structure and posture.   Both don’t believe that the usage of learning to sing by hearing one’s singing is productive.  VocalPosture’s difference from these is that VocalPosture suggests that once the posture is correctly formed, the vocal structure will automatically form, then self-hearing is correct, and for most people, then their divine singing capacity will emerge (as Zen Buddhism would suggest).

Zen and bondage

May 19, 2009

Zen Sayings:

Zen in its essence is the art of seeing into the nature of one’s being and it points the way from bondage to freedom. D.T. Suzuki (a famous Zen teacher).

What is bondage and what is freedom?
Bondage is usually some form of repetitive behaviour, a circular behaviour that yields the same negative results. Freedom is the ability to choose behaviour preferred.

The clearest examples of bondage are compulsions, also frequently known as addictive behaviour. For example, certain forms of compulsive eating, depression, sex addiction, resentment, the world is filled with compulsions. Indeed, VocalPosture believes that it is compulsions, more than any other emotion, that drives the world.

If compulsions are driving so many of one’s actions, what makes you think that compulsion isn’t driving your voice? Indeed it is! All kinds of contrary compulsions prevent you from reaching your vocal capabilities. Is this true? VocalPosture will follow up with a description of hearing, which is needed to  explain how compulsions prevent your great singing from blossoming, like the lotus flower.

Chen Sun

Lotus flower and restoration of divine voice

May 19, 2009

The lotus flower is symbolic in Buddhist art. The idea is that the lotus rises through the mucky muddy waters, to have a straight stem and then a large, beautiful blooming flower. If you’ve ever seen lotus flowers in bloom in a pond, particularly lotus flowers blooming about 4 feet or higher in air, you’ll understand.

The symbolism is that the flower is inherently beautiful; and that it simply needs to rise up straight through the mucky muddy pond water to express its beauty. Similarly, in VocalPosture’s Zen-derived analogy, the divine voice is in itself beautiful, and the objective of VocalPosture’s singing pedagogy is to allow the divine voice itself to arise from the muddy waters of past emotions, bad habits, tensions, to straighten its spine (stem) such that the beautiful flowering (the singing) can be heard.

Zen (actually Buddhist and Hindu-derived) philosophy enables VocalPosture to make all its speculative claims on how posture is able to create a beautiful blossoming voice.

The significance is that VocalPosture’s view is that most of learning how to sing deals with how to restore-straighten the spine to enable the voice to express its innate beauty. This is a vastly different approach to singing pedogagy than practicing scales to polish-up-create a beautiful voice.

Chen Sun