December 3, 2012

The Mirror Crack'd

You have to live in my mind, of course, to follow where it goes. And sometimes, it goes strange places. Witness the place it went today after reading a conversation about wagging jaws on Facebook with a group of like-minded vocally-obsessed folks.  

Did you have students with jaws that move for every note? 

Well, yeah. The comments came one after another, finally ending with the observation that student's eyes have a funny way of looking away - when they are supposed to be looking at themselves- just at the moment when they start to sing.  Well. Liz didn't do that in The Mirror Crack'd, the movie version of the Agatha Christie novel. Ok, you say. She wasn't singing.  In fact, she wasn't even looking at a mirror, but rather, staring at a painting on a wall when she realized that she'd been infected with German measles by a mad fan years before. That's why she murdered said fan a little while later with a laced cocktail.  Oh, but I do go on. It's the movie title that came to mind, you see.

But let's get back to singing, shall we? 

Why do student's avert their eyes at the last moment? I think I know why since I see it all the time. They do it, not because they can't accept what they see (though that is often a problem), but rather, because they haven't learned how to hear themselves yet. When they do? Well. They have no problem looking. And that is because they are able to look and listen at the same time. 

Inner listening is just that. Inner. Hearing the buzz in your head (better found using an /i/ or /e/ vowel) is what gets it going. The vibration - for lack of a better word- that it creates has to be spread over every vowel. To find it? The student discovers it when both energized and calm.  

My teacher once said that: "The eyes look but don't see."  Strange to say, but that's what it's like. It can be done while looking straight at one's self while looking in a mirror. I guess that's what Liz's picture reminds me of. That looking within and remembering. Of course, she's remembering something horrible, while the singer has to be remembering- nay- hearing/feeling the tickle of tone in the head. 

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