Sense #5: Taste, and the Hot Cocoa Meditation

Have your cake and sing it too

You can have your cake and sing it too

These past two months we’ve explored singing with all the senses. We started with hearing, perhaps the most obvious one, and the importance of learning to listen with the inner ear, as well as how to love your actual ears. Then, with sight, we talked about using imagery to bring imagination to a song, and similarly, with touch, how to bring life to your voice through movement. We even managed to work in the sense of smell, through some practical aromatherapy for the voice. Now I’ve gone and saved the most challenging sense for last, and that is taste.

Originally I was planning on sharing with you recipes dedicated to great opera singers (Turkey Tetrazzini), and even one crafted by a composer (Tournedos Rossini), but unfortunately the average celebrity’s taste (let alone budget!) does not translate well to the modern home kitchen; that is, unless you regularly buy foie gras, hunt for truffles, or bake a turkey more than once a year.

Instead, let’s consider what taste has to teach us on a simpler, more elemental level. Continue reading

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How To Love Your Ears

floppy earsIf you step into an unknown room, standing still, eyes closed, what can your sense of hearing tell you? More than you might think. From hearing alone you can sense the size of the room, what materials it might be made of, let alone all of the noises, big or small, that tell you who and what lies within it.

Even though we don’t hear nearly as well as do owls, cats, dogs and elephants, and it seems most of the mammal world, as human senses go, our sense of hearing is still pretty spectacular. The human ear can hear about ten octaves, from 20-20,000 Hz. The smallest sound it can perceive moves the eardrum just four atomic diameters, and the loudest is a trillion times louder than that. We have no ear-lids, and hear even when we sleep. Most importantly, we have brains that can actually make sense of these sounds by creating and appreciating the subtleties of speech and music!

Unfortunately, overexposure to noise is the number one cause of hearing loss, and many researchers are beginning to believe that music–specifically amplified concerts, clubs, and headphones use–is playing an increasing role in this. Continue reading

Words of Wisdom on World Voice Day

Boat on Lake Geneva

The breath is the ocean, the voice is the boat that floats on the ocean! Nature gave us the voice – we cannot change it – but we can educate the breath and learn to control it. This constitutes the whole method of singing.
Giovanni Battista Lamperti

Tuesday, April 16th is World Voice Day. Time to celebrate one of music’s most universal mediums! Not that singing shouldn’t be celebrated every moment of every day, of course, whether on stage, in the shower, or doing dishes in the kitchen, but this week is extra special, since I’ve decided to share with you my modest collection of singing-related quotes. The authors of these words are people from many different cultures, faiths and time periods. May they resonate with you and inspire you in your singing this week! Continue reading