The Art and Craft of Singing

"Technique" is a word that often gets bandied about, but what on earth is it? My definition is that technique is the proper way of doing somethingIt is HOW we do a task. Technique is, therefore, a combination of habits. As a singer, I'm an amalgamation of all my singing-related habits. What are my tongue habits? My breath habits? My what-am-I-supposed-to-be-doing-with-my-hands-right-now habits?

These habits are not the "sexy part" of singing--the sexy part of singing is the WHY of singing. What made YOU fall in love with singing? For me, it was that nothing on earth makes me feel the way classical music makes me feel--nothing gives me chills, takes my breath away, or makes me say the almost silent "wow" like that chord or that suspension. It is crucial that I stay tethered to my WHY, no doubt about it. I should re-kindle that WHY regularly with listening, concert attendance, etc. But if singers don't attend to the HOW of singing (technique), then where will they be?

Truly, the only reason to accrue a singing technique is to provide the tools to fulfill your musical imagination. Practice so that what you hear in your head can faithfully, consistently come out of your mouth.

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If we keep WHY we sing in mind, then the work of HOW to sing will not be tedious. Think of a gardener--the goal is roses. The start of that process is to till the soil, clear out the rocks and weeds and leftover leaves. At this point, there are no roses in sight. But the wise gardener knows that the roses are coming... And, in fact, the veteran gardener begins to enjoy the tilling and the smell of the soil on its own merits, though they love the blossoming rose even more.