Studying Voice for Emotional Healing and Spiritual Development
Dec 02, 2015 12:19PM
By Barry Harris
When it comes to self-improvement, there is a difference between a spiritual teacher and a secular teacher. A secular teacher can improve skills and knowledge for success in the world, while a spiritual teacher helps to optimize the quality of one’s consciousness, regardless of external circumstances.
This distinction can be used to explain why studying voice can be a spiritual path. Vocal study with a knowledgeable teacher is a powerful tool for experiencing the rewards of allegiance to spirit that transcend the world. This leads to a spiritual happiness and power from optimizing the quality of one’s consciousness that can’t be taken away, no matter what is happening in the outer world.
Throughout the ages, the act of singing has brought many people deep healing and emotional satisfaction. The Negro slaves in the cotton fields had terrible external circumstances, but they raised their spirits and consciousness when they raised their voices in song. The many broken heart ballads that later followed, such as “I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues” and “Lover Come Back To Me” function in a similarly healing way. Thus, it can be said that singing is a sacred act that heals the soul.
Singing and studying voice can do this in two major ways. First, optimal singing is about effective breathing and relaxing muscles throughout the body. Second, it is cathartic, requiring uninhibited emotion fueled by the energy of spirit in order to have enough energy to move all the relaxed muscles.
Another function of great singing that heals the soul is that it requires a quiet mind and offers an emotional meditation. The experience of emotional meditation and catharsis, combined with the genuine satisfaction of a quiet mind, can optimize the quality of one’s consciousness and give both the singer and the listener the rewards that only come from spiritual connection.
Learning technique to make the voice richer and more powerful, extend range and improve the clarity of diction requires the humility and patience to accept that there is much more to singing than one would expect. Ultimately, however, the most important requirement for great singing is the right motive for breaking out in song. It should be about the desire to feel something intensely, without any selfconsciousness, and express what one is feeling without any holding back. All that’s needed for an audience to enjoy a singer’s performance is that he or she is singing with the right motive, which increases confidence in one’s performance. Technique is then the icing on the cake.
Barry Harris has been teaching voice for more than 30 years. To learn about his classes and workshops in Medford and arrange a free introductory lesson, call 857-998-3677 or email [email protected].