Monday, October 29, 2012

Voice Talk and Ear Talk

I just came across Daniel James Shigo's fascinating blog about singing. A post from yesterday describes ear dominance, and uses the two presidential candidates as examples to study.

I have always felt a great imbalance between the two hemispheres of my body, which is why I think I only feel truly whole as a string player. The two hands doing the same exact kind of thing, with only the central air mechanism being expressive and active often makes me feel like I am in an expressive box. My hands have different strengths, sizes, weights, and temperatures, and until I became a string player I never even noticed. I am right handed and, according to all accounts, left brain dominant. I should "lead" with the right, but I always "lead" with the left. I always look left first when crossing the street and when turning around. I always have to be on the right side when Michael and I walk together, so that he is on my left. I far prefer being on the right side of a music stand so that I can look to the left to read the music. The "right" is an area of mystery, and sometimes even discomfort.

I have read studies about eye dominance (I'm highly left eye dominant), and I have always been aware that my two ears hear differently from one another, but this is the first time I have seen an actual study about it. I know that my left ear is dominant, so I have to remember to listen with both ears, which sometimes requires a small amount of effort. When I do, the world brightens up. I hear more.

I guess I must be mixed dominant.

When I walk down the street listening to music or even listening to the sounds around me, people always smile at me. I never really understood why until now: I must look happy when I am listening with both ears. I like what Shigo says about students trying to appear happy in order to sing better.
Of course, the student can't fake happiness. But they can pretend. And this can go a long way. The brain will accept an image more than a fact. Did I mention that my student had a breakthrough, singing up the scale into her head voice with great beauty? To emphasize my point: she 'got' what it looked and sounded like when she wasn't tense around the eyes. Now. Will she be able to keep it? That's another matter. Changes in audio-vocal control have to carefully nurtured until they become integrated.
Shigo sings beautifully, by the way. Listen to him singing Joseph Turrin's setting of "She Walks in Beauty."

1 comment:

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

One time a Tibetan lama said in a teaching something along these lines - even if you don't have a particular virtue, if you act like you have it you'll gain a better understanding of what it's like to have it, which will put you on the path to gaining it.