Thursday, July 4, 2013

No. 246: On Physical Body Size and the Origins of Voice

Any singer who's accessed the complete power of True Voice
has probably heard something like this:

"Where does all that sound come from?"

As I personally walk the path of physical, mental, and spiritual health and wholeness
I am physically the "smallest" I have ever been.  
Yet, vocally, my singing voice has never been more voluminous, supple, strong, 
and connected to the authenticity of "me" than it is NOW.

Very well informed people who love and support me say:

"EAT MORE....You're fading away...What about your voice?...Don't you need more meat on your bones?...What...YOU? opera singer?  You're not BIG enough!"

Of course, being the educator and passionate lover of life and singing that I am,
I have taken the bait and deeply probed into this very important question:

If Voice does not come from our body size, from where does IT come...?

As we create the community of singers that is Opera Organically, I've had the pleasure of witnessing the awesome nature of SUPPORT that comes from an absolutely positive perspective of Voice.  
The first two tenets of Opera Organically are:

1) Voice is always present. 
2) Voice is always right.

The support I speak about here, based on the first two tenets of O.O., goes MUCH deeper than the usual "breath support" that is commonly addressed in voice training.  The kind of support which comes from singing as a part of the Opera Organically community is present even when "breath support" is not.  

This deep kind of support is synonymous with our hopes and dreams.  It is one and the same with the little Voice inside that says "I want to sing."  It is the knowledge we all have that, with the right tools, time, dedication, and support, we can share something uniquely beautiful with the world.

I believe the reason many people have a hard time wrapping their minds around from where Voice comes is that It's really not something that can be understood with the mind alone.  To understand how Voice from a size 4 body can fill a stadium, we must enter what I call the 
Collective Heart of Voice.

It is very easy to find head knowledge about the singing voice in our culture.  In year 2000, when I graduated from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, I came very close to joining a team at Bowling Green University which was going to build the world's largest model (40ft) of the human larynx.  I was fascinated with everything to do with singing, and the call to this project was strong.  However, the call of my HEART was louder, and I struck off to understand that thing which was not encouraged in my experience in music academia:  I now call it 
Heart Singing.

The challenging thing about Heart Singing is that it can only be experienced.  It doesn't exist separate from our very lives.  Head knowledge of voice can fill libraries; heart knowledge of voice fills our bodies, our families, our communities, and every corner of the Earth, if we only open our eyes and ears to see and hear It.  Head knowledge of Voice leads us to Heart knowledge, and vice versa--but to understand the nature of Voice which is much bigger than the individual, we need BOTH Head and Heart, simultaneously.

It is interesting to ask this question:

Is it so challenging to accept a huge voice coming from a tiny person because we instinctively know Voice IS larger than the individual?

*for me this question is mind-blowing, and is at the core of my work*

In my opinion, the paradigm of the singer being a lone individual, a separate source of singing--someone to worship and admire and put on a pedestal--is fading with our growing awareness of global Oneness.  

We are understanding that to fully ignite Voice in one person, we must also see the possibility of this ignition in ALL people--at least, that is the third tenet of Opera Organically:

3) Voice is Universal.

When I say to someone "My Voice is your Voice" most often I get "Nonononono" in response.  However once in a while I meet someone--and incidentally, this is happening more and more often in my experience--who nods and smiles when I say "My Voice is your Voice"...even as his/her expression of that Voice might be completely different than mine.

What we are really talking about is Heart Connection.

In Opera Organically talk, 
when I say "My Voice is Your Voice," I could also be saying "My Heart is Your Heart."

Filling a stadium and knowing where that voluminous Voice comes from has very little to do with "singing" and much, much more to do with Heart.

When we understand the natural power of desire, commitment, belief, hope, faith, life, and love, we know from where Voice comes--ah, YES, we know--
and this deep knowledge calls us 
to keep seeking supportive communities
like Opera Organically
where we can rest
in the power
Who. We. ARE.
Together complete
Forever eternal
Infinitely powerful
Life-enrichingly resonant. 

THIS is Life.  THIS is Love.  THIS is Opera Organically.

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