May 17, 2016

The Great Paradox

Modern technology has proven to be incredibly useful in connecting people over vast distances, as well as providing them with information. Take the download page here at VoiceTalk. There was a time when only a fraction of the texts could be found on the web. To read them, you would have had to go to a major music library, put in a 'call slip,' and then wait for 20-30 minutes before one was put into your hand. Then you had to put it into your head. It all took time. Now this information can be beamed into your brain via Google Glass.  

How does reading a real book compare with reading the same text on the computer screen? I would say there is a subtle, but very real difference, if only because the eye and mind behind the eye prefers the real thing, and interacts with it differently. That's the great paradox as I understand it: We may have access to a great deal of information via the our iPhones, computer screens and iPads, but this very means has distinct limitations in regard to communication and creative expression. Consider the following. 

  • Phonecall's are a heck of a lot better than texting.
  • A voice lesson on Skype does not have the same impact as one in the studio.
  • The writer finds greater connection to himself and his material when he writes long-hand.
  • The TV or the movie screen can't deliver the visceral experience of live theatre. 

What is the difference, qualitatively-speaking? Greater involvement of the ear—in particular, long-hand involving the silent audition of sound at a speed which promotes creativity rather than mere word processing.

Speaking of limitations: Legion are the voice teachers who intone that you can't learn to sing from a book. They are right, of course, since autodidacts are few and far between, and the majority of students must be led by the hand—not because anyone is stupid, but because learning to sing is a procedural rather than a declarative process (click on the label below for more info). The student who can design and deliver this process to him/herself is the rare bird indeed. 

Seeing is not believing, not for this boy anyway. The eye can—and does—trick, which the voice professional understands all too well after a fair amount of experience, the observation being that singing with a score under your nose is not the same as having that same score in your head—or as they say—by heart. It's just not—which is why many voice teachers insist that the music you sing in your lessons be memorized—that is, be taken in through the eye and put into the brain using your ear. 

If the page, computer, and movie screen provide access, it is the mechanism of the ear which creates greater connection—not only to another person, but to one's Self.

See Brainpicking's recent post for an eloquent reflection on the matter. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I welcome your comments.