Hum the Mood –
Can you hear the mood and emotion in your tone? Does your tone match the emotional content you’re trying to convey, or is it just kind of…always the same? Or is it some image of singing you’ve always had that works for some things but not for others? Or does it sound too close to your favorite singer?
Sometimes we expect a perfect answer to our questions but sometimes the answer is really in the pursuit. What if by exploring the idea of trying to get your tone to match your emotion, you actually just started listening to yourself in a different way? Singing is playing music. And playing music can be very absorbing and powerful. What if we embraced that absorbing feeling and tried to swim in the tone we were singing? As I like to say, “Singing is Acting.” And to act well, one needs to tap into emotional content. And since your vehicle for conveying emotional content is your voice, what part of it could possibly be more poignant than your tone and tonal variations? What part of it could possibly be more unique to you? That is, if you’ve tapped into your own unique brand of tone.
There are some very specific and technical realities that effect tone. And until a singer pursues some of these technical pursuits, they are often bereft of any real ability to effect or change their tone in any unique manner.
For example, singers need a clear understanding of direction of tone. If you know what up and down are, and how they effect then tone and color of your singing, then you have somewhere to go when trying to alter that tone to match the mood and attitude of what you’re singing.
Anyone who has pursued “The Art of Body Singing” knows that it is loaded with tons of great lessons about adjusting tone. But along the way of of the technical, I always try to encourage singers to spend time lost in the more abstract side of feeling the music. Because at the end of the day, that’s what we’d really like to communicate isn’t it? Emotions, not techniques.
So remember to spend some time as you’re warming up your voice, after you’ve warmed up you voice, as you’re practicing the songs in your set, and as you’re just letting go and singing wildly like a child, to tap into the emotion of your tone and enjoy the swim. And as a daily reminder, tap into the most simple form of this exercise by “Humming the Mood.” This becomes more of an inner ear listening practice than anything else. Remember not to push, or worry about size and volume, but instead just listen to the “character” and mood of the tone as you Hum along to life. It will help keep you tuned into what you’re really trying to convey as a singer in the first place……..”emotional content.”