Speaking for singing

FOUR - WHAT IS SUCCESSFUL SINGING?

'Successful singing is the entwining of souls, entangling them in a web of collusion between you and the song'.

You will hear lots of thoughts and ideas about how to sing with success. It is such an elusive skill we sometimes think we have it covered and then suddenly one day it becomes difficult again. As we learn new songs, as we grow older and learn new things about ourselves, have new experiences, fall in love, fall out of love, eat different foods, change shape, have children; as we have less sleep or have more sleep; our singing will be affected.

All these factors influence the way we sing and ultimately how successful we will be. It is a whole body experience. So many things can go right and so many things can go wrong depending on your day. We are dealing with a wonderful, sensitive, vulnerable, powerful and unique instrument – you - all of you. It is you who give life to a song so that the song lives as a true expression of who you are.

The sounds you make are made by the body. They are physiological. They come from within. You are not plucked, thumped, struck or blown. The noises you make are made by muscles, sinews and flesh manipulated by thought (imagination) and emotion - nothing else. We cannot make a sound of any meaningful and affecting consequence without engaging these two elements to create the third.

But what is ‘successful singing’? Success is measured in so many different ways. It certainly could be fame and fortune. But in my thinking, singing ‘success’ is the measure of the power a singer has over an audience.

The extent to which the singer is able to move, inspire and change the inner life of the listener. That is success and the true purpose of singing. Singing is a powerful vehicle for ideas. More of this later.

Of course it is more than listening. There is something else going on that transcends the aural. There is something else that carves a passage through the ether and connects the lives, the hearts and minds of an audience in communion with the singer.

This communion, this connected network of lives in common, experiencing and feeling together but in their own way, is the success a singer should be aiming for. It is more than entertainment; it is the entwining of souls, entangling them in a web of collusion between you and the song. More to come.

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