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Curiosity may have killed a cat ... but it is a helpful tool when working with your voice. We use not only aural and visual cues but also notice sensations we feel inside to help define and shape our voice.
If we consider that curiosity stems from a lack of information and that information can be gathered either cognitively or through sensations then our mission should be to help our students discover not just the facts and what they may be called but what the sensation is that creates the end goal.
I hope to choose words in lessons that prompt students to notice changes and shifts in their body that are associated with various sounds we produce. This way they can recreate it again and again!
How this looks is a bit different with the different stages of student I teach:
First we explore - we design our lesson time to fully find our expansive voice and all that it can do.
Then we define - this is when we dive into terms, find our musicianship, learn the language of music
Next we notice - the job at hand is to do the same thing multiple ways and notice the differences, the imprinting of various sensations, paths, and functions.
Last we coordinate - it is now that we do all of it at once with ease. Not a small thing indeed.
This seems like it would be too challenging and abstract for a young singer, but if we continue to ask, "what did you notice?" answers will become more and more complete. It is very similar to the concept of narration in the Charlotte Mason Philosophy of Education.
In a parents' review article named Some Notes on Narration by G. F. Husband they say that narration will "let the child...supply both question and answer." In the same article it states, "The less the teacher talks the more the class will have to think." I think it is a lofty goal of myself as a teacher that I talk less and have the singer sing and make more of their own personal connections with the sensations that occur in their body while singing. I will admit that sometimes in a voice lessons direction and coming into a conclusion together is necessary but the more the singer arrives on their own the more natural and habitual the recalling of a sensation will be!
What is your favorite sensation as a singer? Have you discovered any new questions in your singing?
What have you noticed?