The simple Art of Being…versus Projecting

Now and then a student comes to me with fear in their eyes and a sense of desperation in their being. They are in a competition and are competing with all shapes and sizes of voices.  The looks says, ‘I need to have a bigger (aka louder ) voice, can you help me?’  They are being asked to PROJECT their voice and they don’t know how.

Singers project what is inside of them outside of them for others to hear.  Not unlike a projector projecting a movie in a theatre does.  It is reflecting that which is naturally inside itself.  The problem that I see over and over which brings fear to students is that they are being asked to project more of themselves than they have, or are ready for.  So they develop ‘the inner pusher.’  This pusher pushes out a voice and pushes out any softness, vulnerability and authenticity that is so important for a singer to have and express.

If you asked a cello to project it wouldn’t know what you are talking about.  It would say, ‘I’m just playing myself!   I am made of the wood and the stuff that I am, and that’s what I’m ringing.’  The cello is simply resonating and playing it’s body, it’s instrument.  It’s a reflection of it’s own connection, or, lack thereof.   The same goes for a voice.  If the student is resonating her body which includes her head, chest, belly etc then this connection to herself is then reflected outwards to the audience.  Projection is an affect of a good connection to Self.

All the anxiety, this performance anxiety and fear shows up in this ‘need for projection‘, which could also be said, the ‘need for perfection.’   The kinds of muscling and contorting that occurs within the body as a result of working hard to project can sometimes never be undone in a voice or a body.  This false projecting is so identified with success and pleasing others.   When a student gets that all they need do is to connect with themselves and feel what is naturally inside of them and to sing and ring themselves, it is a revelation to them. 

Projection happens as a natural by-product of connection to ones self

and a natural need to express the feelings inside.  

Take Zoe a young girl of 15 eager and ready to join a competition and express her natural abilities.    She stands before me all doe eyed and what I perceive as being ‘checked out’.   But I’m about to be blown away by this ‘understated young lady’, and she is about to put me in my place thank you very much.   At first I’m like the audience or the judges who are carelessly sizing up their victim for the chopping block but then, IT happens and she slips into herself and sings.

I feel her.  It’s like I know her instantly.  In a heartbeat we are connected.  And not because she is trying to connect with me, or to PROJECT.  She is tenderly doing her thing and I’m there, the innocent lamb at the slaughter of this young ladies beautiful and powerful voice.  I am so affected by her that I can barely contain myself from crying.  She is filled with love and beauty and her voice is reflecting her directly.

But my heart sinks because I know that they won’t get her.  And she tells me with tears in her eyes that her coaches and judges want her to, you guessed it, PROJECT her voice.  They want her voice to be bigger than she is or that she’s ready to be.

They tell her that her voice is too small and she needs to

‘get it out there’ and ‘project.’  

I know they won’t pick her because her voice and her being is not BIG ENOUGH and she can’t compete with the voices in the competition who can ‘throw themselves at the audience‘ in sacrifice of their young, tender and vulnerable parts.  I see it all. The. Time.  Young girls and ladies pushing their tenderness and beauty away for bigger, louder and stronger voices.

But if these judges could just be still  enough to sense the beauty and absolute genius in this girls voice then she would win, hands down, she would win.

I tell her I can help her expand the beauty in her voice but that it will take time and care, that she has to grow into herself and her voice.  I say this competition will pass and life will move on and over time other things will become important as well as this and that what she has right now is innocent and precious.  I encourage her not to ‘step on herself on the way to getting herself.’  She smiles and understands.

A girl can only hope. I tell her that she never has to be more than she is, and that she is enough and I guessing I’m telling myself that.  Sigh. She hears me, we have a moment, and she gets that I get her.

 

 

 

 

 

How focus affects the sound of the voice

We can use the sound of our voice to increase our awareness of energy in a number of ways.   Over the years I have experimented with ways to help people to de-focus and soften their energy, or, to focus their energy more intently.   I use the analogy of a wide-angle lens on a camera that widens the view, or a tele-photo lens that narrows or helps to focus the view.

The sound of our voice always reflects the mind and our focus, so in understanding how to use our focus to connect with energy is a key to discovering our authentic voice and a voice that holds meaning as well as spaciousness.

Like the wide-angle lens of a camera we can move our awareness outwards to hold a wider energy field or inwards to focus in on a narrower part of the energy field.   This wide-angle lens of awareness gives us a wider view of ourselves and our environment that we are in and the tele-photo lens moves us closer to our physical body or to whatever is right in front of us.  We need both lens of awareness to balance the focus in our voice.

Over the years I have I have found that my students are split into two groups; people that are very focused, or over-focused, and people that are under-focused.

A voice that is over-focused can sound controlled, thin and rigid.  This voice is caught is a tele-photo lens of awareness without the vision of the wide-angle lens.  A voice that is under-focused can sound unclear and without intent or meaning.  This voice is caught in a wide-angle lens of awareness with no access to the point of focus straight in front of them.

In this moment while you are reading this try becoming aware of what is right in front of you and narrow your field of vision.  You might be able to feel how the energy focuses and solidifies.  I sometimes invite people to ‘envision a flickering candle and attempt to keep it still’.  Now move your focus outwards to the peripheral vision, your wide-angle lens of awareness and feel how the energy widens.  These movement with your focus or your awareness will also change the sound of your voice.

Overtime you may be able to feel the energy within you either become more dense and contained, or, expand and become wider.

The wide-angle lens awareness brings a spaciousness to energy and spreads out the energy-in-motion, the emotions.  Like the phrase ‘holding space‘, your awareness is doing this for your energy.   You can think of this lens like a big body of water,  a lake, or an ocean, and the tele-photo lens of awareness the rapidly moving waters that run from that lake.   These rapids become focussed water.

The problem arises when both lens’ separate from each other.  The wide-angle space awareness is cut off from the narrow focus of the tele-photo lens, and visa versa.

Moving the focus back and forth to wide-angle and tele-photo helps to strengthen a sort of vibrational membrane, a flexibility within your energy body.  This develops a stronger sense of the present moment which of course is reflected in the voice.  The bones and the flesh within you and the space you are singing in. 

When we move back and forth with our awareness we begin to awaken sleepy parts  of our body one part at a time until there is a tipping point whereby the parts of our body connect and light each other up.  Like puzzle pieces coming together to show the whole puzzle.

The whole body is the sum of the parts but first we must separate and then unite. This unification of the being occurs as the light grows, as the vibrational membrane strengthens it just naturally lights up the whole of us,  piece by piece.  Then the sound of our voice can light up more of our field.  It’s like letting go of control.  We are allowing our light to penetrate through us and outwards.

It is important to note that as we move closer to ourselves, to our earthly bones and fleshy bodies, we will meet more and more emotion that has been held out of our awareness.   And alternatively as we move outwards we will meet more of our beautiful expansion and grow out and up, which has it’s own challenge to say the least.

As we move into different areas where your body has been holding some emotion, freezing and trauma, the vibration can work to dislodge the grip your mind has on protecting you from feeling whatever was not felt.  We touch ourselves with our voice and the defences soften us towards feeling. Then we can be present with what shows up and let it do what it needs to do if we stay present with the energy.  Sometimes being present is enough, and sometimes we need to allow a deeper release through crying, anger, fear or sadness.

As the poet Rumi says, “This joy, this sadness, these dark thoughts and this shame, welcome them in.”

So what is the goal of all of this? The experience of wholeness in one note.  The sound of being in the present moment and having this ripple outwards creating more and more light, love and presence in our lives.  It’s real and I experience it.

Use the sound of your voice to become aware of your body’s field, or your body of water, and then to focus your voice through and intention of what sound you wish to create.    Experiment with pitch, colour and intensity with every note you sing.

A touch of sound…

Your vibrational medicine is the sound of your voice. You being touched by the sound of your vibrational voice.
Allowing your voice to penetrate through your armor, your walls, your castle.
Being touched by the sound of your own voice is a game changer.
Actually being touched or impacted by your voice is empowering.
We are not really afraid of this healing voice, although we think we are, we are afraid of what we might feel after we’ve been touched by it.
The intentional use of your healing voice will make you feel enjoyment, love, sadness, grief, joy, bliss, pain.  It will also let you know where you are and how much openness or control you are living inside of.