Singing & playing instruments: an appreciation for and the Miracle of Music
“Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.”
Sometimes, when I hear Mozart or the piano music of Chopin, Vivaldi’s four seasons, amazing pieces of country, blue or bluegrass music, something amazing happens to my whole being. A sort of electricity runs over the skin, tears well up in my eyes and the world stops bothering me.
Such an appreciation for the music happens to all of us, may be in different genre of music. You may love rap, folk songs, film songs, bhangra, fusion, tribal, jazz or reggae, hip-hop or rock, devotional songs, bhajans or rap and rock…it just doesn’t matter, as long as you listen to something and is being soothed by the miracle of music and songs.
Becoming one with the music slows down your heart beat, relaxes your mind and is one of the finest therapies for your physical and mental discomforts. Your projects and deadlines, the traffic and the work timings, the hurts and pains, everything stops matters. What matters is the singer or the instrumental music you are listening to, along with your melted heart and blurred eye sight!
Kishore Kumar never had the formal training in music and see, how he had performed his songs? There was such a stupendous joy in his voice while singing that we love to hear him again and again.
A few general tips on Music and Singing:
1. Never too late: It’s never late to start your singing career, if you are sure of your talent.
Susan Boyle was 47 years and was unemployed, when she had entered the stage of Britain Got Talent; both the judges and the audience had laughed at her looks and her unsophisticated way of responding to the judges.And then the miracle had happened!
She had started singing, and boy oh boy, the whole audience including the judges had erupted into a frenzied happiness in appreciation of her voice; their enthusiasm and appreciation hadn’t stopped even after she had completed her song. What a performance from some one that modest and that simple and didn’t even know how to respond to the judges on a public platform?
If you have talent and want to showcase your talent, use every chance at performance in front of an audience.
2. Oral Hygiene: To maintain a spectacular voice, it is important to maintain your vocal health; keep your vocal chords, teeth, lips, tongue and chest in a healthy condition. Keep away from cool drinks and ice creams. Do not eat butter, milk, cheese and the likes a few minutes before the actual performance, as they may create a gluey film over your vocal chords. Drink plenty of water, which will help to keep your vocal area hydrated.
3. Select your Niche: Just because you admire a singer a lot, do not try to copy his songs and his way of singing. Country could be your specialization and just because you love the voice of a hip hop singer, do not try to mimic or copy him and his songs. It wouldn’t work that way. You have to excel in what you are specialized in.
4. Take care of your voice: That’s your million dollar asset. Exercise your throat opening, exercise your breathing and do warm up exercise on your voice before you actually start singing. Use warm water gargling. Hot tea and pepper milk helps in softening your voice. Avoid screaming or talking in loud voices. Use soft tones while talking. Don’t smoke.
5. Take the help of others: Sing before your Guru/Trainer and other singers known to you and ask for their help in correcting the faults in your music. You may even record your voice and listen to it carefully to find out your own faults.
6. Practice: Practice helps you in finding out your own limitations in singing. Practice helps you in getting you both mentally and vocally ready for your performance. Practice helps you in averting the stage fright. Practice with a smile will help you to win over your audience. Practice makes a person perfect!
A few general tips for playing music instruments:
2. Maintenance: Oiling, tuning and proper fingering of your instrument shall help you in playing your instrument smoothly. Learning the parts and parcel of the instrument shall help you in identifying the problem areas for correction.
3. Positioning: Whether you are standing, sitting or walking around, keeping your instrument well positioned according to your comfortably and comfort playing position is an important aspect of playing a music instrument. Get used to it right from the beginning of learning.
4. Practice: Practice with your instrument shall help you to be one with it and to feel absolutely comfortable in playing it in front of your audience. Treat your instrument as an extension of your arms.
5. Body Language: Show a lot of confidence and smile greatly in front of the audience. Smile can camouflage even a mistaken note or two.
Q. Though I am a singer by choice, I am also working for my livelihood. I don’t find enough time for practice and it affects my performance. How to solve this issue?
It’s great that you are a singer by choice: The quality of practice counts and not the amount of practice. The psychology says that a mindful of practice counts more than the mindless of practice in singing.As minimal as 15-20 minutes of practice shall do if you are young and 30-45 minutes of deliberate and totally involved practice shall do if you are an adult.
If you can, you may do a couple or more of short sessions in practice, rather than one long and strenuous session of practice every day.Warm up before the practice.
Q How important is correct breathing for singing?
Breathing is among the most essential components in the art of singing. Potential musicians should learn how to breathe deeply and evenly from the diaphragm through taking deep and long breathes that helps to improve voice building, resonance and voice control. Deep breathing facilitates holding of notes for longer durations, especially the longer ones.
There are sometimes when you will be required to sing long sentences without breaking. The only way to attain this goal would be through practicing the art of deep breathing. Through engaging in deep breathing exercises for at least 10 minutes per day, you can greatly improve you’re your singing ability.
Music doesn’t see your attire, your status, your looks and your mannerism. Music is what it is! If you can sing or play an instrument in the finest of fine way possible, you can mesmerize the audience.
You love the music and music will love you right back! You appreciate it and it will bestow you with calm and peacefulness, happiness and joy beyond bounds and boundaries.
Plato had aptly described the beauty of music:
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
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