Singing with the Five Senses #1: The Inner Ear

New York skylineIf the art of painting is in seeing, the art of dancing in touch, or the art of cooking in taste, then the art of singing is in hearing. This month’s series will explore the use of all five senses in singing, but first and foremost, the sense of sound.

When I picture it in my mind’s eye, I see weathered rugs, wooden furnishings, and a fine view of New York from the top of steep black stairs. The air is still and the last soft rays of the evening sun pour through the sheer, lacy drapes, illuminating the pollen that swirls in fragrant clouds and the lilies that grace the piano.  There are no family photos, although the walls are papered with opera posters from floor to ceiling, announcing performances from golden ages past. It is an apartment reflecting its owner; simple and straightforward, with everything in its proper place, noble, perhaps even stern, but devoted in every way to the study of music. Continue reading

Singing into Silence

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink in the wild air" - EmersonThis week I was planning on writing an article containing a great masterpiece of singing advice as my Christmas present to you, and it was going to be based on wisdom borrowed from Giovanni Battista Lamperti, “Don’t sing until you’d die if you didn’t.” I love that idea, of not singing until every fibre of your being is alive with a song crying out desperately to be freed by the wings of expression. I myself experienced this when I worked as a secretary one summer, in a quiet office where my job was to smile at visitors and transfer phone calls over to the people who were actually working. After a few days, the aching emptiness of unsung songs in my chest became so unbearable that I started singing whenever there was no one around, and then eventually even when there was.

But that’s not what I want to write about today. Continue reading