Creative Writing,  Creativity,  Life Lessons,  Music

The Spirit of a Song

It begins in the full breath before the first chord with a gentle invitation, an encouraging welcome to connect to the song’s essence, a wish to become an instrument.

And then, the early notes of the accompaniment signal my body to get ready. I notice my feet steady on the ground, reaching deeply into the earth like the roots of a giant, ancient tree. My breathing slows.

My jaw relaxes as I open the internal spaces up and down my vocal corridor where the sound will move, imagining the energy freely flowing from my head to my root. Sometimes the corridor fills with waving light.

In the blink before the first note, I ask my throat to expand like a canyon. The vocal corridor opens to create resonant space. Opening the space feels as easy and as comforting as sinking back into a favourite, plush recliner.

On cue, the notes begin to rise and move and fly and dive and soar and float from me as I surrender to the spirit of the song, releasing my control with each sound. The song is in charge. I understand that creating music is not about “doing” anything; rather, creating music is about “being,” becoming the song. I trust the notes, the technique, the timing, the body to know what this song needs.

Using my voice seems more effortless with each bar of the song. The sound’s placement and resonance and vibration spreads joy throughout my body, a broad sonic smile from the inside-out. This is how I know everything is connected.

The song is alive and I know this version is unique, different than every version I’ve ever sang before and different than any version I will ever sing again. Each song is a new experience.

Before the end of the first verse I see her dancing in my mind’s eye. She is seven years old and wears white. I recognize her instantly as my younger self. She dances in a field, responding expressively to the music we are making.

At first, my voice is the puppeteer influencing how she moves but it soon changes as her dancing takes hold of the strings and I let go of the song to her movement, responding as we create something new together in this moment. The song, the space, the body, and the sound are always connected. I know if I watch her as I sing, the notes will dance too.

Sometimes people I know join her in the dance. Last week my uncle, who had recently passed, appeared and waltzed with the girl. Emotion and context and meaning added texture to my voice that sometimes caught me by surprise.

She dances each time I sing now. Every song is a meditation, an opportunity for transformation. If I allow myself to be transported by a song, I wonder if the audience will be transported too.

As I hear the final note fade, the musical ringing and energy releases to steady peace and calm. Silently and secretly, I thank the dancing girl. I thank the moment. I thank the people in the room. I thank the music. I thank the musician. I thank the experience. We’ve shared this song and ultimately it wasn’t about the notes, but it was about the feeling and connection we shared as sound transported us all to another place.

I started voice lessons with Marie Anderson in September 2018. Her teachings have changed everything. Thank-you, Marie.

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