Over many years of teaching voice, certain principles have emerged as foundational in the underlying philosophy of my approach. There are actually many principles, but these are the five core principles that stand out and emerge in both private voice lessons and group vocal yoga classes. I invite you to try different ways of applying these principles in your singing practice. Sometimes the process of releasing old habits and cultivating these qualities can be messy, so do your best to have patience with yourself, and enjoy the process!
Awareness: The most fundamental and pervasive principle, awareness is key for the work we do in both private and group classes. Awareness of your body, your breath, your inner state, where you feel your resonance – all of this is so important in the process of opening up your voice, as well as your heart and mind.
Curiosity: When we notice judgments arising, usually of our own voice, can we cultivate curiosity instead? Notice the judgment and release it, go deeper to care for any part of you that may be hurting, and then find something be curious about. Try using a phrase that starts with “I wonder…” such as, I wonder how singing this phrase could be easier? And you can always be curious about the breath and sensations in your body.
Acceptance: Can we recognize our own humanity and know that we won’t be perfect, and in fact, the process of opening our voice and growing in self awareness may be messy? Practice accepting your voice in each moment even as we strive towards our goals and develop our skills.
Commitment: It is so important to commit to your breath support and the core of your body and being. Can we commit to our own growth, to our practice, to each phrase? Commitment also implies full engagement – with our support muscles, with our personalities, with our lives. This principle is related to the yogic niyama or moral observance, tapas, often translated as the fire of devotion.
Alignment: We practice aligning our bodies and that is just the beginning. Can we align ourselves with something greater than ourselves – to music, community, higher self, or Source? In doing so, extraneous effort drops away and we allow rather than force, we surrender and trust. This principle is comparable to the yogic niyama or moral observance, Isvara Pranidhana, often translated as surrender.