Posts Tagged ‘philosophy of singing’

Overall posture

July 28, 2009

People’s original, and usually not-properly-aligned, postures are different, and there is no single corrective treatment method.   The following is my posture changes needed, which may apply to many others.

Feet to be properly balancing spine–orthotics if necessary.

Knees somewhat straight.  Excessive bent knees is a clue that the posture is leaning too much.

Hips pushed forward.

Abdomen tighten

Chest expanded and upper chest protruded.

Throat somewhat relaxed.

Upper chest protruded such that the throat and head balance.

Jaw ready to be dropped and not protruded forward.

Face and nostrils relaxed.

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Freedom in singing–through Zen

June 17, 2009

Please refer to 6-16-09 posting on freedom in singing and 5-19-09 posting on Zen and bondage.  

Recall Zen Buddhism is Indian in origin.  Yoga asanas (stretches) are the initial steps to meditation– yoga to still the body before sitting meditations that still the mind.   Stilling the mind diminishes craving (similar to compulsion).  

Hindu and Buddhist spiritual leaders thus answered on vocal freedom–stretches and meditation.  VocalPosture.com explains that simply stretches (without vocalizing or singing exercises), can be used for learning singing.   Alan Greene’s book, the New Voice, is a series of silent exercises to stretch, detense, and establish or the proper vocal structure.   Alan Greene, , was a singing instructor endorsed by Harry Belafonte and Walter Matheau who developed such a silent stretches for his students.    Yes, for 10+ years, he taught students how to sing without their singing.  (A Zen riddle for you).

VocalPosture.com supplements Alan Greene’s work in that VocalPosture.com focus is that proper posture will great faciliate proper vocal structure.

VocalPosture believes that stretches, alike asanas, are the first steps to gaining singing freedom, alike how yoga asanas are the first step to meditation.   Unlike the ultimate goal of meditation, VocalPosture is less concerned with freedom or vocal freedom, but is interested in the journey.

This journey means that while one is trying to attain vocal freedom (a long journey), one should utilize rather than free one’s bondage.   In psychology, this means, sublimation of one’s suppressed emotions.

Blues, sorrowful songs–these are examples of sublimation of sorrow (and Zen and Buddha know a lot about sorrow).  

One should, in VocalPosture’s view, use stretches to attain a perfect vocal structure; but before achieving this, utilize the improvements in stretches coupled with sublimation of the suppressed emotions.

Chen Sun

www.WebAndNet.com

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What is freedom in singing?

June 16, 2009

Freedom and singing.

What is freedom in singing? To me, this means, being able to express any desired sound that one is capable of, at will.

How can one attain this? Zen explains much of this.

Please now refer to the section on Zen and bondag–May 19, 2009.

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
www.WebAndNet.com

Zen and the imperfect

May 17, 2009

Ancient Japanese Zen art, architecture, pottery, etc. frequently have imperfection built-in. A tea cup that is not symetrical, a house with an irregular window, etc. The Zen way of looking at life realizes that life has imperfections, and builds this into art, and admires imperfection as part of the living experience.

Western art strives instead for perfection–symetrical, balanced, geometric. These arise from Greek ideals of perfection.

In singing though, audiences frequently prefer the living life and its imperfections.

Until one reaches perfect singing (very difficult for most), it is actually better to acknowledge one’s imperfections in voice, understand the audience frequently wants to hear this imperfection, and utilize this.

Chen Sun

www.WebAndNet.com

www.WebBIZcard.com

Aging and singing

May 16, 2009

As people age, they seem to lose some of their singing tonal qualities and pitch range.   Why?

Athletes need muscles, which is prime in the mid 20s, so we can understand why athletes tend to be in their prime in the 20s.   But is this true for singers?  The amount of athleticism involved in singing is miniscule.

Singing is more akin to acting–very little athleticism to accomplish a goal.  The youthful muscles might not be key; emotional maturity makes a big difference in acting, as well as in singing.

Drinking, smoking, acid reflux–yes, these will all degrade the voice, possibly permanently.   But, suppose someone didn’t do any of these, why can’t he or she sustain a lifelong great voice, as good as younger and possibly better?

VocalPosture.com speculates that this is somewhat possible.  All that a voice is is a vocal tract in action.   As long as the tonicity of the muscles in the vocal tract is intact, there is no reason why an older vocal tract can’t produce sounds as well as an younger one.

VocalPosture.com speculates that it is primarily due to a process called shortening of the muscles due to aging and injury that the vocal tract muscle tone is thus degraded.  

Thus, to reverse much of the effects of aging, as it relates to the voice, the objectives are:   to keep posture aligned so that shortening is reduced; to then stretch what has shortened

Yin and Yang

May 2, 2009

Alan Greene describes singing vocal structure training as releasing the constrictors and enabling the anti-constrictors. Yoga is pose and counterpose. I’m reading a book on autism that traits as a balancing of the male and female genes, with normal in the middle.

The Taoist Yin and Yang sages must have seen these in people as well as nature. I  suspect that the yin and yang has not been fully explained in the vocal structure process, and perhaps not fathomed in all its implications for modern society

Divine voice within, the imperfect body, and goals of this website

April 25, 2009

The philosophy of VocalPosture.com is that most people have a divine voice within. Yet, the body is imperfect. So, much of this website is concerned with restoring health, restoring posture, and understanding voice physical structure, so as to better restore it. Through the restoration, the natural divine voice will emerge.

For this reason, there are very few exercises here to improve singing skills; our focus is on restoring your lost health, natural posture, hearing, and innate singing.

How do we hear singing?

April 12, 2009

Response to question on singing and hearing….

When singing, I believe the mind uses the ear drum’s sensations together with other bodily sensations and the mind’s own desired heard sound to synthesize the mentally “heard” sound.

If one’s mind can affect one’s hearing of one’s voice, then, it seems
possible to retrain the mind to accurately hear one’s voice better.
If this is possible, it is possible self-teach oneself how to sing.

Let me give a example. I have weak highs, but, when sing highs,
somehow “psychologically hear” my highs’ volume is just right. Is it possible to remap my hearing such that my “heard” highs volume
becomes accurate?

It seem this can be a type of vocal training—training by getting
rid of mishearings instead of practicing one’s voice.  If such trained, all one has to do is to hear how one matches to the music and other singers—in order to sing better.

This is somewhat “Buddhist”, “Hindu”, “meditation” in approach—that is
getting rid of mishearing in order to sing better, instead of
practicing scales to sing better. Can someone advise me how this may
have been tried as a vocal training technique?

Problem with tape recorders is that microphone technology is usually
inaccurate.

Thanks,
Chen Sun
www.WebAndNet.com