In the last two days I published three videos on Instagram about a fundamental concept I am talking about with a student. It is an important point that in rehabilitative and performing field has been well stated by Gray Cook, he defines it “the movement versus motion paradox” and says “Movement often denotes the act of a functioning body as it changes position under its own power. Motion might represent the available range of flexibility within a single body segment or group of segments”. [Gray Cook Movement Functional Movement Systems]
What this has to do with us and vocal technique? The well known experience some singers report me or see in others when in improving or correcting a voice of the nothing happens or the quality sound improves but not the singing or even some singers lose the effectiveness they had before yet tells us that something of this paradox is in voice too. Also those who do not have a natural voice and has never experimented what a singing gesture truly is and remain stuck in the training and giving command to single functions (sustain, copertura, pronunciation, turn of the larynx, modification of the vowels to have a sound more forward) in an impossible sum of command. Those who had not a natural voice and they find how to unblock it with an exercise in a function and get convinced that voice is training and finding everything with that function.
What I wanted to precise is that we have to gain and give our students or singers perspective. Singing is a movement, it uses synergistic functions and many patterns into a movement and every kind of work we do on parts must maintain the perspective and the care of the movement.
Sometimes we have to deal with singers who see a great improvement into their sound by improving just one function and do not see the risk of loosing the entire movement, and we have to improve the culture of what singing is on a functional level so that they will follow our advices when we say that yes to improve but let the system integrate and then see if can absorb another quantity of this function.
Also we have to give trust and courage to those who found finally something in voice by working on one thing with the integration of knowledge from other fields who can better clarify why at a certain point we want them to make a step further into true singing movement.
Italian belcanto as all the others method born from it contains the movement and work on movement and that is why it is so renowned and balancing in the voices. It has the limit of being well balanced but not yet developed into how much we can develop the single functions before losing the movement or if you prefer getting dysfunctional. Train on the single functions, but do it smartly.