The Transformative Singing Manifesto
What is Transformative Singing?
Transformative singing is a holistic approach to the voice that looks beyond the myopic confines of traditional vocal training that focuses solely on mechanical technique. It is an approach that takes the whole singer into account by integrating mind, body, heart, and spirit into the study of the voice.
“I cannot do all the good the world needs. But the world needs all the good I can do.”
Modern society faces a constant barrage of seemingly disparate and unrelated crises: a global pandemic, inequality of race, gender, and wealth, mass shootings, genocides, wars, climate change, etc. Yet, each of these problems truly stems from one core issue: Human Disconnection. When we see ourselves as separate individuals who must only look out for ourselves and our “tribe,” we lose sight of our shared humanity with the rest of the world, and our connection to the very planet which supports us. It then becomes much easier to justify the many injustices that we inflict upon one another.
Transformative Singing draws on scientific research from the fields of Neurology and Neuro-Science, Psychology, Physiology, Noetic Science, Cymatics, Psycho-Acoustics, Quantum Physics, and Bio-Energetics (the study of energetic communications between people via the heart’s electromagnetic field). After synthesizing data from studies done in each of these fields and after performing our own research studies on the heart rate variability of singers with both Transformative and Impeded approaches, we have drawn the conclusion that Transformative Singing has the ability to affect profound positive changes on an individual, communal, and eventually global level.
While the Transformative Singing Process certainly holds powerful implications for performers, it has further implications for voice teachers. This process necessitates a broadly holistic, rather than allopathic, approach to vocal pedagogy by rooting out the causes of any undesirable vocal symptoms. We address the entire body, the mind, the heart, and the spirit as inter-related and synergistic components of the vocal instrument. The amount of physical, mental, and emotional awareness prescribed in this process not only allows a singer or a teacher to become more effective at self-diagnosing vocal challenges, it also creates a practice of intentional introspection and self-discovery outside of the studio. Inherent within the Transformative Singing Process are a number of Life lessons disguised as Voice lessons. “Relinquish Control to Gain Control,” “Connection Over Perfection,” “Where the Mind Goes, Your Voice/Life Will Follow,” and “High Notes are Only Hard If We Make Them Hard” are just a few such examples.
Music, and specifically singing, has the capacity to be a powerful antidote to this global problem of disconnection. As has been stated by many people in many ways, singing has the power to Create Connections and Dissolve Divisions. However, not all singing is created equal. All too often, singers engage in what we term “Impeded Singing,” which is performance that focuses on technical proficiency, musical accuracy, one’s level of talent, and overcoming performance anxiety. Essentially, it is singing from an ego-centric perspective in which the singer is the focal point of the performance. Such an approach observably impedes the measurable energetic connections that occur between a singer and their audience and/or their peers on stage. Impeded singing becomes little more than aesthetically pleasing organized sound. Transformative Singing actively dissolves those divisions and creates connections between people of all different backgrounds.
FINDING LIFE LESSONS WITHIN VOICE LESSONS
Singing is fundamental and essential to humanity. One of the goals of Transformative Singing is to spread greater awareness of the need for more people to incorporate singing and music-making into their lives. It is crucial that music education have greater prominence in the budgetary decisions of school boards and lawmakers. The strongest antidote to the multi-headed Hydra of crises facing humanity today is getting more people to recognize themselves in one another. One of the most powerful and proven ways of accomplishing such a feat is by singing together, but the everyday-garden-variety type of singing is not able to fill this need, and certainly Impeded Singing does little to help our sense of disconnection from each other. Singing with honest and authentic emotional intentionality, and with the awareness and intention of creating transformational connections with others has the power to change us, to inspire others, and to heal the wounds of society. Just as Orpheus tamed Cerberus and won over Hades, the human voice holds the very real power to change hearts and minds. Perhaps, if all children can learn to sing in this fashion when they are young, they will not grow to dehumanize and hate their peers. Rather than reaching for a gun, they will seek empathy and understanding.
Transformative Singing is singing for a better world!
Transformative Singing is about illuminating that which needs to change in ourselves. It is about transforming to become more self-actualized and self-realized. It is about empowering people to sing and live with a deep sense of purpose and responsibility – to be able to use their voice to make substantive, positive differences in their lives and in the lives of others.