November 26, 2014

The Gift of Curiosity

Margaret Harshaw
Calling curiosity a gift may be stretching things a bit; after all, how is one to quantify what seems natural, inborn and a force of nature? Whatever the case, Margaret Harshaw had it in spades. She was the most curious person I have ever known regarding the voice, which sparked something in me. Once, I heard her say in an incredulous tone that the majority of singers weren't curious about their instruments. They took it for granted, most of them never even putting a finger into the back of their mouths to investigate the soft palate. 

She had a point, I have come to see, now that I have taught myself. Only a distinct minority have a natural curiosity which impels them to know more, the rest simply wanting to know what to do, and how to do it. While this may seem like enough, I am bold to say that enough isn't enough in the long run. You have to know more to run the gauntlet called career, one that lasts a long time. 

Knowledge about the voice is more than stacks of facts. It is made up of impressions, both physical and auditory which must be renewed on a daily basis, nothing taken for granted or overlooked. Yet everything must be held lightly, since grasping too hard makes both singer and singing inflexible, hard and stiff. How to be joyously practical? Flexible, pliant, yet powerful, singing beautiful music beautifully? That's the real skill, one which Miss Harshaw taught by example. 

On this eve of Thanksgiving in the United States of America,  I am thankful for the gift of curiosity. Flame lighting flame, from past to present and into the future: I owe the existence of VoiceTalk to the doyenne of voice teachers and sincerely hope you've enjoyed this page as much as I have in giving it life. And as she might say, I hope it makes you think

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