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Notes On Notes

I throw things at my students

Well, we throw things back and forth.

One of the things humans worry about is Getting it Right – singing the right notes, being Perfect.

An unintended consequence of worrying about whether we’re Getting it Right is that we sometimes try to sing without actually letting any sound come out of our bodies. We sing to a point that’s only just beyond our nose so that we can judge whether or not the sound is any good before someone else hears it.

But it’s too late for that. The sound’s already been made. We have to give up on the idea that we can make a sound and then decide whether to share it. We have to let the sound sail out of our bodies, and land where it will. Lucky for us, no one will get hurt. A great image – and activity – for this is in throwing a light, easy ball, or a small stuffed animal as you vocalize. Whoop! Whee! AHHH!

Often in private lessons, a student and I will spend some time tossing soft things back and forth: pillows that look like soccer balls, a stuffed penguin, a mouse, or a bunny. Whoop! Whoa! Whaa? We make some bad throws, some bad catches. No one gets hurt. Our voices loosen up, and we learn how to let the sound move away from us and into the room.

This is part of what I mean when I say, if it’s not play, it’s not working.

Play ball.

stuffed animal penguin leaning against a soccer ball pillow

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