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Continuing with the series of singing with the elements, today is the turn of singing with the wood element.
In Chinese philosophy, the wood element relates to the emotions of anger and passion, and the related organs are the liver and gallbladder.
So, when we sing with these emotions we are singing from the liver and stimulating it at the same time.
The direction of the body when we experience passion or anger will be forward. In opposition to the emotion of fear, in which the body tends to go backward and ready to run away. The emotion of anger or passion moves us forward so we can take what we want.
Knowing this can greatly improve your singing. Sometimes the only reason why we can’t connect with a song is that our body energy is not connecting with the energy of the song. If we are singing a piece in which passion or anger is the main emotion and our body tends to go backward (fear) or down (sadness) while we do it, our voice not only won’t sound credible, but you will also find it way harder to flow freely and effortless.
Also, emotions like passion and anger give you a boost of energy. They are “high energy” emotions, therefore if you try to express them from a low energy state, it won’t work. And it will affect your technique.
For example, take a look at these songs:
You can even feel the voice distortion that naturally arise with emotions like anger (can you think of a time in which you were angry and you did an ‘grrr!’ sound?). When you listen to it carefully, if you allow yourself to feel and flow with the emotion of the song, you will notice that the energy in your body changes. You will feel stronger energy, either slightly or very clearly.
If you try to sing this song from a low energy state, such as depression, you will find it very hard. If you can match the energy of the song before you start singing it, your body will be ready to approach it with more connected energy and your voice will flow more easily.
Singing a song from an emotion that you’re not currently experiencing can be quite challenging. But it is necessary to tune yourself to that emotion in order for the message to be clear.
So let’s say that you want to sing “Leave”. Take a moment before you start, to tune to the emotion. An easy way of doing this is by simply thinking about how your breathing is when you’re angry. If you can modify your breathing in that way for a moment, you will notice how the voice naturally changes to match what you’re saying.
It is a simple but very powerful exercise!
One of the things I love about songs is that they express in full an emotion or a variety of emotions. And then they finish, and you can move on to another song- another emotion. This can be very healing because it allows you to express yourself fully and then move on without getting stuck. It can be a very safe way of releasing an emotion.
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