18 Nov 2014
Jimi Hendrix and Luciano Pavarotti demonstrate effortlessness

When we see the musicians we admire, we often feel as though they can “do” something that we are unable to do. And while it’s true that professionals of any physical endeavour became that way through years of consistent and patient practice, many of those hours (and perhaps even most of those hours) were spent learning how to do less.

Watch videos of your favorite artist. How hard does it look like they’re thinking? How much physical strain do you think is involved? Does the effort look forced, or do they make it look easy?

As a voice teacher, I routinely emphasize that the technique necessary for beautiful singing only requires three things: a beautiful and resonant vowel, lower abdominal support, and a high soft palate. That’s it. No matter the genre: jazz, rock, pop, theatre, or opera.

But if learning how to sing were merely about learning to master three things, we’d all be experts yesterday. The trick is learning how to avoid the 3,000 other things we either consciously or subconsciously add on top of (or instead of) the three tasks we actually set out to do.

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