What’s a Singing Myth? Well, it’s one of those lies that people who think they know tell. Or its something that you heard or interpreted along the way as you were learning to sing. It’s also a truth about singing that has a lie attached to it. How did the myths get propagated? Well intending people try to help. I suppose that there are twisted individuals who want to break singers, either physically or spiritually, but that’s a different issue.
Why is this important to me? Because there are a lot of misconceptions and bad techniques out there, being taught in schools, choirs, and shared among well-meaning people who think they know. I would like to see truth brought back to singing. I would like everyone to know that Truth, and be free to sing with their unique instrument in their own unique way.
You can’t “Smile” and Sing
Half-true. While a true wide grin is going to create a ‘spread’ sound, which works for pop or Broadway, going all the way to a slack face will make you flat (in pitch) and deathly boring to watch.
Truth: Lift your cheeks slightly. It will raise your pitch, improve your tone, and make your face look more engaged, thus more interesting to watch.
You Must Sing From Your Diaphragm
False. The Diaphragm is the UNCONSCIOUS muscle that controls inspiration and exhalation. What does that mean? An unconscious muscle is one that you can not consciously control. It goes and does what it does on its own. For example, the bicep is a conscious muscle. Go ahead, flex it now. Isolate it, and really give it a good squeeze. Now try to isolate and flex your diaphragm, or your transverse arytenoid (a muscle of the larynx). Can’t do it, can you?
Buying the lie that you can sing from an unconscious muscle makes it harder for your body to engage the muscles that actually do control airflow and sound production. Would you be willing to destroy everything that you created from that, please? Thank you.
From where do you sing? That is a much, much deeper question. Some say the Heart. I say the Soul.
Only People with Natural Talent can Sing
FALSE. False false falsity false false. Anyone can sing. Anyone can learn to use their bodies as an instrument, if they are willing to dedicate time and attention to it, just like learning a sport. At the Embodied Singer, I train people to use their bodies to support effortless sound. I recently trained a young man who had never really sung before to sing well enough to perform in about 4 months. I am so pleased with his progress, and it is all because I am teaching him to use his body as his instrument.
If there is something you don’t like about your voice, chances are it’s a habit or a block that can be addressed and resolved. You can have a voice that you never dreamed possible, if you find the right teacher.
I can’t sing through a phrase. I must have really small lung capacity.
FALSE. Holding a note or singing a full phrase has nothing to do with lung capacity (unless you’ve got a lung dis-ease).
It is physics. Air always seeks equilibrium. If you blow up a balloon, and then open the mouth of it, the air will rush out. Same goes for your lungs. When you inhale, the air in your lungs is under pressure. Your job as a singer is to prevent that air from rushing back out. How? With your abdominal and intercostal muscles. Make yourself into a jar.
I’m sure that you’ve heard lots of other falsities about singing… Go ahead, lay them on me. Let’s make this the longest singing myth-busting list on the web!
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