In the course of my singing life, I am often approached by non-singers with wistful looks who confess some version of: “I’ve always wanted to be able to sing, but I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.” (Why anyone would attempt to carry a tune in a bucket is beyond me, since we all know that there’s a hole in that bucket.) Over the years these conversations have taken place at my church and synagogue jobs, at family gatherings, and in recent years, as I’ve studied anatomy and movement, in conversations with Pilates and yoga instructors, dancers and physical therapists. My stock answer is this: “Do you have your pair of magical singer’s panties, yet?”
It is well known within the super-secret society of singers that the key to good singing is Singer’s Underpants, and anyone who’s serious about singing has a pair. So if your kids burst into tears whenever you sing; if you were traumatized by a junior high school choir director who begged you to “just mouth the words”; if your neighbors fire up their lawn mowers every time you belt out a ditty and the cat runs away, you just need a pair of singer’s underpants.
Alas, I jest. If only there were such a thing.
Still, the good news is that you can learn to sing, or get better at the singing you’re already doing, and you can do so while wearing whatever underpants you already possess.
At its best, singing is something we do with the whole body, and when you get your whole body working for your voice, it feels amazing, like you’ve developed a super power. “Oh come on,” you say. “I don’t sing with my feet!” To which I offer this challenge: “Stand up and sing your national anthem (or your personal anthem, should you prefer to think of yourself as a citizen of the world). One, two, ready, sing!”
Oh, wait! Are you standing on your feet and singing?
Okay, so you use your body to sing. So let’s learn more about it and how it moves. Let’s get the whole body working for the voice, from scalp to toes. Whether you’re a professional singer, or a wistful yearner still carrying your tunes in a proverbial bucket, this series is for you.