Getting out of the way

The other day at seminar, I asked my teacher, Linda Brice for clarification, “so what you’re saying is that we want beginning singers to start out singing songs that do not evoke passion - that there are specific 'vocal issues' that arise from a singer putting too much emotion into their voice before they are ready?”

The words left my lips with a combination of disbelief and curiosity. “Yes” she responded. I was immediately reignited with old frustrations and righteousness in finally being able to PROVE that it wasn’t just my imagination! I had been asked to sing songs that didn’t move me precisely because they didn’t move me.

At first I wanted to rebel, but I chose instead to look into my teacher’s eyes. We both saw into each other and slowly smiled.


I have always believed strongly in music as expression of the soul. I wanted to believe that no matter where you are at technically, the satisfying feeling of singing is within reach! And it is. But is it repeatable? No. It’s not.

So what is the point of singing music as a technical exercise?! That feels almost like a betrayal. And then it hits me…… Learning to sing well technically isn’t about me at all. It’s about me getting out of the way so that something greater than myself can move through me.

Everything about vocal technique is learning how to get out of the way - to make space and relax all body parts that want to control or grasp for too much attention - relax and open the mind, jaw, tongue, lips, diaphragm, pelvis.

Singing with a free voice challenges us to go into the meditative state - to inhale life force and exhale resonance. The singer’s job is to surrender- that’s all. Anything other than that is an imposition onto the music rather than a submersion into it.

And when we submerse completely, we relax into a state of flow that feels like bliss. Isn’t it interesting that the place we long to be, is a place where in some sense, we disappear? It’s as if in every moment, we are surrounded by latent music, art and dance, and that all we have to do to find it, is let go of our resistance.