Hands Off!

Any singing concept, correct or incorrect, is actualized through a series of enabling body movements. The character of these movements will give definition to the concept in the resultant tone. If the concept is clear, accurate, and appropriate, the resultant tone will embody and express the intended aesthetic message. However, for such an actualization to occur, a condition of operational equilibrium must exist within and between all parts of the singing instrument. This equilibrium depends first of all upon a balance of focus in the mind itself, so that the conscious mind gives attention to forming the aesthetic concept, while the subconscious mind directs the implementation of the conceptual demands. If the singer attempts consciously to direct a deliberate, localized movement or manipulations of parts of the instrument, this incorrect focus of conscious attention alters the formation of the singing concept, distorts the implementing directives of the subconscious mind, and precipitates disbalancing movements throughout the instrument. While such conscious directions may be well-intentioned, they occur because of faulty concepts regarding the nature and functionality of the instrument. The singing instrument is not a “hands on” type of instrument. It is not an “acting instrument,” but rather a “reacting instrument.”

Foster, Walter Charles. Singing redefined: a conceptual approach to singing that includes a study of the emotional process and the imaginative capacity, linguistic awareness and musical awareness, singing concepts based on the responsive nature of the instrument, and exercises designed to promote a technically correct, artistically expressive singing tone. Recital Pubns, 1998.

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