Our voice is a multifaceted instrument. Like other wind instruments, the voice has an intricate body. However, unlike other wind instruments, the instrument of the voice has a brain with thoughts, a being with awareness and a body that responds to both these elements. To play the instrument of the voice with freedom it takes a bit of fine- tuning on several levels. However, It is worth the work to fine tune and unlock the instrument of the voice because once that journey begins singing begins to feel like what I think flying must feel like!
To fine-tune our vocal instrument it can be helpful to understand the relationship between the body and the mind. You see the voice is the only instrument that is so intricately connected with the resistance and the contraction of our belief systems, trauma and drama. The life stuff that we go thru and hold onto affects our body and affects the instrument of our voice. When I first started to play the flute as a preteen I had to bring my flute into get worked on because one of the pads was stuck and I couldn’t get a note out. The instrument of the voice doesn’t have flute pads to mechanically fix but it does have muscles and connective tissue to soften, posture to align and technical memory to establish.
By bringing our awareness to the physical sensation we are having, and the thoughts and emotions that seem to be attached to them we are able to “ oil” the instrument of the voice. To really fine-tune the instrument of the voice we must allow the possibility that our belief systems can lock up our body. The unseen world has a profound effect on the physical world if we let it. What if we are made up of vibration and everything else in the world even our beliefs are made up of vibration? What I have seen is that vibration can affect other vibrations. For example, the opera singer who can break the glass with the vibration of her voice or the experiment of saying LOVE into a glass of water and watching under a microscope the molecules change shape or even the electric stim. machine the physical therapists use to put vibration into a tight or torn muscle to heal it. Vibration affects our body and vibration can release our body.
Our belief systems and their vibration left untouched can control our lives. They are on a loud speaker and on a continuous loop in our minds running our lives and our experiences of singing. As we develop our awareness about what is running our lives and our ability to sing, we then can begin to change the loudspeaker contents and its frequency. Instead of singing from a default pattern or habit, we can deliberately release and create our voice. What if this could create a profound change in our bodies and our voice?
That is just what I have experienced !
– excerpt from “Happy and Singing: an out of the box approach to freeing your Voice & your life” by Rebecca Abraxas
Can gratitude open your voice? In my experience the awareness to that question is a big fat YES!!
In the book ” The Science of Getting Rich” it says, ” the mental attitude of gratitude draws the mind into closer touch with the Source from which all blessings come.” Have you ever noticed that to be true for you? Have you noticed that when you are grateful for all the situations, events, people, thoughts and things in your life your day gets a little better? Its like an alchemical process that turns a crummy moment in to a blessed moment.
I have noticed this magic happen with my singing voice as well. When I feel aligned with my higher self or that “source” part of me, I actually sing better and it feels better to sing. I have often compared singing to what I would imagine flying to feel like. This sensation in singing happens when I am open and free and aligned with the energy of source or spirit or God or higher self or whatever you title that light, open, aware, and allowing part of you. Gratitude helps us align with that part of ourselves. In my experience, It can turn a shut down contracted voice into an open and free voice.
There is something different to a free voice. A voice that sings from the spirit of music herself. I’ve noticed a lot of voices in my life. Ones that have been trained and ones that have not. What I have noticed is that if a voice is free, whether it is trained or not, it sounds like angels are giving you a message. The voice can give you chills, heal something within or inspire greatness. A voice without his freedom does not have this potency to move us from deep within. It is entertaining at best.
Applying gratitude for our lives, our voices, our songs, our bodies even our challenges can transform our voice and our singing experience into a potent gift to all, including ourselves. So create an experiment. For the next month or so think of or write down statements of gratitude before you sing or speak. Does your voice have more openness? Does it feel more free? Do you feel a connectedness to the people in front of you? Do you notice gratitude opening your voice?
Until next time
may you be Happy and Singing !
Blog #5 WHOLE SINGING: Take the Time and Make the Room
…as adults we need to give our attention to a side of ourselves that is mystical, cosmic and spiritual
There are lots of ways to play as an adult. Sometimes, it looks like child’s play. For example, giving yourself permission to run thru the fall leaves. However, playing as an adult doesn’t always have to look like frolic. It may look like solitude, walks, time with ruins or tarot. It may look like crafting or a retreat. What I am getting at is, somehow, as adults we need to give our attention to a side of ourselves that is mystical, cosmic and spiritual –our higher selves.
It is important we take the time and make the room for this quality of ourselves to flow thru us easefully if we want to sing openly and confidently. Here is an activity you can do to make room for this quality I am talking about. Take a moment to think of a “heart word;” meaning a positive feeling word, for example: Love. Then put the phrase “I am “ in front of it. Sit for 5-20 minutes saying this simple phrase to yourself. Notice if there is a shift in how you feel in your emotions and in your body. There is a big possibility that you will feel hopeful, loved, loving, content, peaceful etc. Simple activities like the above activity can get you on your way to taking the time and making room for your higher self to take over for a little while. This is what I refer to as Whole Singing.
So take the time to do an exercise like this before you sing and take note of the quality of the sound and the openness from which you are singing. It will put a big smile on your face!
BLOG#4 Learning to PLAY again; Whole Singing
So last week I talked about remembering your playful self as a child. Well this week I met someone that wasn’t very playful as a child. After the age of 5 she had to become very responsible and life became serious. I have a feeling this may be the case for many others as we have been in the age of technology, latch-key kids, afterschool activities and Academics. What I mean by that is many of us may have grown up with well intentioned parents who thought that play was a waste of time or who needed to work so enrolled us in afterschool activities or who thought that learning to read by age 6 was more important then growing your imagination. Play IS the most important “work” a child can do for her development.
Through play we allow spirit to inspire our human experience.
When children play they are creating a bridge to the world of their imagination and to the world of spirit. If this bridge is not established in childhood, then as adults we can really suffer and shut down a lot of our potential. There is a saying: “ we are spirits, having a human experience”. Through play we allow spirit to inspire our human experience. This creates trust, creativity and a knowingness. This also creates the ability to flow easefully through life; it creates clarity and a sense of wholeness and oneness.
Now what if you had these components intact in your life right now? Do you think singing would come a bit easier? When I have talked to people who have a challenge with finding their authentic voice and sharing it in front of others, they shared with me that they have anxiety of being in front of others, that they don’t trust their body to let out the right sound and that they have a fear of not being accepted. When anxiety, fear and distrust rule our lives, not only may we have a challenging time singing but we may have challenges in many other areas of our lives. My solution: learn how to play.
Find a child you know and surrender to her world for a little while.
So if you find yourself not having a memory of what it felt like to play as a child. If you feel like your “bridge” may not have been fully built. I encourage you, actually I plead for you to take time to play. Go build a leaf pile, giggle and jump on in. See where that takes you. Find a child you know and surrender to her world for a little while. Start to feel your connection to life’s greater forces again. When you start to feel this, allow yourself to play while your singing by making up a fun melody to sing, sing kid’s songs you remember, or put on your favorite Pandora station to sing and dance along to! I promise this will begin to strengthen your “bridge” and your singing.
Blog #3 Whole singing Series – our Playful conversation with Music.
I think we can all remember a time in our childhood, when we were overtaken with the flow of our own play and imagination. Being a twin, my sister and I had many moments like that. Our world of play was effortless and seamless. Looking back I can see now how that world of play my sister and I engaged in was so very important to the work we both do as adults. It was that practice of flowing with my imagination and the practice of allowing creativity that lended itself to my conversation with Music.
Imagination and music seem to have the same source- our higher self, Great Spirit, life force…God.
There is a wonderful book, “The Music Lesson: a spiritual search for growth through music” by Victor l. Wooten. In this book he encourages us to look at our relationship and conversation with music. I immediately related it back to my childhood and my conversation with play. Imagination and music seem to have the same source- our higher self, Great Spirit, life force…God. My understanding is that it is all the same thing and when we trust and allow that force to come thru, then we play, we pray, we converse with music. We sing!
many of the greatest spiritual teachers, scientific minds and
musicians were brave enough
to stand by themselves and share their insights.
In our modern society of separating all the parts to make a whole we have done ourselves a disservice. We have become perfectionists and become very self-conscious. We have become fearful. We have taken on the attitude of “I must be taught; I must have a class if I am to know anything.” This is very interesting because if you look through history, it is the greatest out-of-the-box thinkers who have evolved our world the most. They had to trust what was coming through them. Thankfully, many of the greatest spiritual teachers, scientific minds and musicians were brave enough to stand by themselves and share their insights. That was not learned from a book or a class.
Give yourself permission to have a playful conversation with music
My question to myself and to you reading this is, are we brave enough? Are we brave enough to go back in time and remember the feeling we had as a child of that easeful play? Are we willing to bring that feeling and flow into our conversation with music and allow and trust what comes. My challenge for you is to go PLAY an instrument or go sing. Do not go PRACTICE. Go Play. In your play as a child did you judge it did you analyze it. I think the answer would be no. But for some of us this ease of play is very hard to tap into. Therefore, make sure you do this on a regular basis. Give yourself permission to have a playful conversation with music for say 20 minutes a day. See what comes. What sounds, what words.
Once you have become familiar with your relationship with play, the music follows and so may your singing. The feeling you will feel when you come from this place while singing is that of the easefulness of childhood play. It is a wonderful feeling. This is what I have come to know as Whole Singing.
One of the most easeful ways to feel ecstasy in my life is through singing. I feel so good when I am singing. For years I compared it to what I thought flying might feel like. Then yesterday, I found a quote that said just that, “If I can not fly, then let me sing” -Sephen Sondheim.
After doing some research I realize that many people feel this same ecstatic feeling as I do when singing. However, thru the years I have also come across people that really wish and yearn to be “able” to sing but feel they cannot. My reply is, WHY? The sad truth is that many people’s voices, and breath for that matter, are locked up inside them.
Use your reactions, inspirations, excuses, doubts and defenses…
I can’t think of a more uncomfortable feeling then to be trapped in our own body and mind, yearning to do something, yet unable. Singing with ease took time for me. The experience of unlocking my voice is one I do know well. While some of my fears still trap me in other areas of my life, I have no more reserve with singing and performing. This is what I would love to share with you. My journey to ecstasy through singing. With any journey, there are mountains to climb and beautiful sites to see. There is perseverance and joy. There are tears and doubts. There is growth. There are road blocks and new directions and so on.
To get on the map for this journey, start here-
What is your reaction to this comment: “If you can breath, if you can talk, then you can SING.”
Use your reactions, inspirations, excuses, doubts and defenses that come up with this quote; list each one. Really sit with your list; are there some negative beliefs in there that are defining you or that are caging you in?
The next quote : ” What ever you can imagine, you can do.”
Now do the same process. Usually our reactions to these two quotes will reveal a lot. The journey has begun. Now go SING! I’ll fill you in on some more tips next week. Until then, enjoy YOU.
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- Great explanation Rebecca. I could feel it - that drop of...June 21, 2016 - 2:45 pm by Pam Babbitt
- Brilliant insight, Rebecca!September 7, 2012 - 4:49 pm by Amy
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