A Habit is Physical
Probably the most obvious habits we form are physical.
The problem before the educator is to give the child control over his own nature, to enable him to hold himself in hand as much in regard to the traits we call good...
I brush my teeth before I go to bed. I put my shoes in my closet. I put the cap on my water bottle. I ask my children to take their plate to the sink after they excuse themselves from the table.
Habit, working thus according to nature, is simply nature in action, growing strong by exercise.
In singing lessons we use our nature and exercise habits to make singing effortless. Much of how we sing is in our nature already. We do not often hear a screaming baby become hoarse and that is because the support that the babies body is giving to the voice is correct and right for the sound, effort and duration. In lessons we remember our nature and are allowed to grow voices through thoughtful ideas and exercises to help them make good sustainable singing the habitual nature.
I'll give a nature example:
One thing I touch base with all of my students is how to align their body to make the best sound. I do this by giving them instructions for their feet, hips, spine and neck/head. We find the place that makes singing the more free where we can be lazy in effort and a genius about our habit of alignment. I can give a simple movement of my hand on my shoulder to remind the student to release an extra effort they are putting into their sound. I may pretend their is a puppet string on top of my head for the student to see how tall their neck and head can make them if they do not have their head pulled forward.
I'll give a exercising our habit example:
Ms. Mason explains that the "Habit may be a Lever" where the habit works contrary to our nature so that we can be independent of our worse habits. As humans when the doctor says to take a deep breath we suck in our air and stomach, raise our shoulders and tense in our neck. This is all for the benefit of the visual of breathing but it is the opposite of a deep breath. Instead we need to Lever ourselves to a better breath, quiet, calm and expansive. Which, for clarities sake, is not this picture. :)
I can go on with other examples of physical sensations in singing and how forming them into a habit makes singing more effortless and sustainable, let me know which physical stumbling blocks you have!
Reflections on learning music, singing in particular, and the Charlotte Mason Philosophy will continue as I continue to read Charlotte Mason's Home Education.