Vulnerability In Singing

Calgary Children's Choir

Music strikes an interesting balance between being an art form and a discipline. It is a difficult process to learn the intricacies of  music; understanding the mathematical principles behind music concepts such as time signatures, intervals, and chord progressions. But it is equally difficult to learn how to approach music as an art form; learning to communicate subtle and nuanced emotions, understanding how the music informs text and vice versa, and personally opening up to the music.

Approaching music from an artistic perspective, requires a great deal of vulnerability on the part of the singer, and this can be difficult to manage. Here are three thoughts on understanding the power of vulnerability in music.

#1. Understand the music: 
This goes beyond just understanding the structure of the music; learning the rhythm and melody of a piece. A singer needs to also understand the text they’re singing, which we discussed in greater detail here. But even more than that, a singer needs to understand how the music and the text work together; how one informs the other, and how subtleties in both music and text can convey the true nuances of the human experience. Truly understanding the many complicated layers of music is essential for a singer to communicate and connect with the audience.

#2. Connect with the music:
Making a personal connection with the music we are learning is not always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes we have not experienced the event, thoughts or emotions communicated in the music. Thankfully, we do not need to have personally experienced every event and emotion, for us to be able to connect to the music. This is why empathy, the emotion that allows us to see things from another’s perspective, is an important aspect of every artist. Through empathy we can imagine the event or emotion the piece is discussing, even if we do not have these experiences ourselves. Emulating the thoughts and emotions of others, and then communicating those emotions effectively is the hallmark of talented singers, actors, and artists. This connection is what allows us to express the human condition, and it is why art, music, dance and drama, are considered the emblem of civilized society.

#3. Connect with the audience:
One of the most important aspects of performing is connecting with the audience. Music is a wonderful, and powerful way to communicate, and in order to effectively communicate, we must forge a connection with the audience. The most effective way to do this is to allow the audience to see our own understanding, and interpretation of the music, and this comes from our own understanding, and connection with the music. The most difficult aspect of performance is allowing the audience to see that understanding; through our facial expressions, the tone of our voice, our delivery of the music, and in the emotional energy we share with our audience. This is true vulnerability in singing, and it is what allows us to truly create magical, musical moments.

Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you yourself must believe. – Winston Churchill

What are other aspects of vulnerability in singing? Tell us in the comments below!

= Calgary Children's Choir



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