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Singing is so much more than the notes!

Singing is so much more than the notes! Ever since I can remember, singing has been about expressing myself.  When I was a kid, if I felt lonely, I sang about it. If I was excited, happy, angry: I sang about it!  My only challenge was going from throwing my heart into a song I made up to one that someone else wrote.  But since I already had the knack of showing my emotion through song, now my task was putting myself into the shoes of the songwriter so I could express their message as my own. And isn't that really just like acting? You have to get into character. But if you think about it,  I may have written "Standing on the Rock"  Standing on The Rock Audio when I was feeling all agitated by the 2008 presidential elections, (and it sure fits again now!) but I still had to do a little acting to return to that emotional place when I sang the song in 2013 in the recording studio for the album...  LMLS Cover ArtBuy now I was working with a voice student today. She was singing a fun song with a catchy groove, "If You Don't Have Love" by Holly Starr: https://youtu.be/S31R-ENSj4g and a positive message.  The trouble was I wasn't getting any of that from her performance. Singing for an audience is so much more than being on pitch and reaching all the notes! I suggested for her to speak the words to me like she was giving my advice. This was very hard for her, she said. I gave her the homework to practice feeling the song; speak it, sing it, dance it to get the meaning across- This got me thinking. How do we tap into our emotions in a way to really communicate them to someone else? Isn't that exactly what a really good song, a really great performer does for you? That's who I want to be! My music is all about sharing my heart to touch yours... and somehow that makes us one.  That moves us closer to hope, love, action, compassion and God Himself.
Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.
Heaven forbid my songs have so little impact as this!
Let me write you a love song for your wedding, or sing about how God has changed your life... or sing an old favorite hymn at your mother's memorial, or a rousing chorus of "The Wheels on the Bus" for your toddler's birthday... but whatever I do, let it be from the heart.
Mtn Happy boot
I will continue to teach my voice students how to breath and smooth out their break and hear the pitch more accurately etc -but most of all I pray I can pass on that passion for communication !
Silly Group Shot Christmas 2015-1
  1. Beautiful message, Julie! Thank you for sharing. Just a few minutes ago I was watching a drummer (age 3) whose performance had aired on TV in India (I watched it on YouTube). What struck me most [aside from the incredible skills he has already developed at such a young age] was the RAWNESS of his performance. He was so unapologetically himself (it seemed to me) through the drumming. I really appreciate what you are saying about throwing your heart into the words of another writer. A friend of mine who is also a singer once told me that whenever she sang (she often sang opera) that she imagined all the people who sung the piece before her and that she was somehow linked to them through that song. I remember thinking how beautiful that was, too, and that it was also something I could remember whenever I sing words and a melody that did not come initially through me, but which I am called to share through me. Also, I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE all the different expressions in the photo above with what I believe must be your students! That photo is a great reminder that we have it in us to convey all those different moods and expressions as may be called for by any given song or musical piece.

    • Manisha! Your response was so encouraging! I like what you said about the opera singer feeling linked to the others who had covered that song, too! Neat!

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