Zen seeing, Zen singing

November 11, 2013 in Blog bericht, Buddhism by admin

Drawing Eva Cassidy Tekening

Since September, I am following singing classes in Leiden (Netherlands) with Scott Blick, called ‘Playing with your voice’.

They are my first singing classes ever, but I have been told by other participants, that these lessons are not very mainstream at all. Only recently I’m  beginning to realize what is the most important message Scott is trying to teach us. He learns how to sing effortless; by relaxing the muscles of your jaw and voice box, air is able to move freely and your voice sounds more clear and full. The whole idea reminds me of Zen drawing a lot. When you relaxe your arm and hand while drawing, lines will be able to appear on the paper more easily and elegant.

Scott himself does not calls our lessons ‘singing’, rather ‘speaking’. He would like us to learn how to speak words in a natural way. When you know what you say and you stay with yourself, your words are far more effective than if you pretend and focus on you singing techniques only. He states that you are expressive enough by being ‘who you are’, and I totally agree with that. It’s like when you are drawing a spontaneous line on paper, and it looks so much more interesting that a totally polished drawing that lost it’s spontaneous look.

I personally had never thought there would be so much similarities between singing and drawing. In both cases, many people think they are unable to do it well. It’s not true. Many people (if not all!!) are able to sing and draw. perhaps we will not all become a famous artist or singer, but that is not what it’s about. It is about getting the best out of yourself, enjoy expressing yourself and be amazed by what you can do. It’s is about becoming more aware of yourself and effortless learning. It’s also about energy. When you know how to let your energy flow freely, you can learn anything. For example, singing as well as drawing will be easier when you start with some grounding practices.

Does this mean you will automatically become Zen by singing?

No, not exactly. Especially in the beginning, you might get frustrated when it isn’t really happening the way you would like it to. In singing it’s even more difficult, you do not only face with yourself alone; there is an audience involved too. When you are stumbling in front of other people it may increase your inner pressure.

Funny enough, your audience can help you get out of your nervous mind! It’s exactly the same as when drawing: by seeing! Scott reminds you constantly that you must look at te audience and see each one of them  individually. It will help you to connect to the outside world, to get into the moment in stead of clinging to your mind. When you are not thinking, there will be no irrelevant or negative thought bothering you anymore.

This is what you can learn of Zen singing and Zen drawing. It is both about letting go…

Now for me, there is still one difficulty; the lyrics. We all choose a (familiar) song to practice on. A song that has been written and performed already by others. Because it’s not your own text, you will have to remember it while singing, and this is forcing you to get into your mind again. If I don’t learn lyrics  by heart, I will get disturbed in my flow. Scott helps me to get to know my text, by letting me speak the words out loud and by letting me read what the words are really about. So just a practical advice: choose a simple song you love. That is exactly the same when drawing: choose a subject you truly love and the result will be better. If you love what you do it will brings you joy. And the result? That will come as if it was created by itself..

Here you can see and hear the songs I have chosen:

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