‘Your Body Sings You
In her autobiography, The Inner Voice, the Metropolitan Opera soprano Renée Fleming wonders how she can possibly describe to her readers the art of singing, because it is “mostly unconscious.” She’s right.
Vocal production relies on psychological and physical coordination—an alignment of the inner muscles of the body. This is what builds strength in our body, breath and voice and allows us to be more creative and open. Often we work on the wrong end of the spectrum. We try to “fix” our posture, fix our voices or even psychoanalyze what we feel is holding us back from fully expressing ourselves. There truly is nothing we need to fix. The freedom we so long for already exists in us, and it’s our job to get out of our way in order to manifest the brilliance of our coordination.
The Alexander Technique and Carl Stough’s Principles of Breathing Coordination are unparalleled in bringing these muscles to consciousness, and this forms the basis of my teaching. When you sing or speak from this place of connection, you will feel energized and your audience will too. It’s a great feeling to feel music or text flow through you.
As the great Italian singing master Francesco Lamperti (1813-92) wrote, “You do not sing yourself. Your body sings you.”
Jean McClelland is on the faculty of the Columbia University School of the Arts. For more information or to register for her workshop on this topic, visit JeanMcClellandVoice.com.