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Mindful Singing - Wait, I can't be thinking about pizza?



Mindful Singing

Here in these modern times, when our minds constantly revolve around our worries, like - what to eat for dinner, something about your ex or remembering one of the most embarrassing things you’ve managed to do in this life, it is difficult to put our mind to the task at hand. But what are we doing if not diving into what we are doing right now?


Whether we are mindfully thinking about how we are feeling, or mindfully eating our food savouring each bite, or mindfully warming up our voice, it is always a struggle bringing ourselves in the NOW.


Mindful singing is a concept which can make or break your singing experience, hence either make singing a wholesome experience for yourself or make it really messy and something you are insecure about.

When we are mindfully looking at something, we are acknowledging its existence and the process that is involved with it. In addition, when we are mindfully singing, we are not just acknowledging the task at hand, we are also able to observe our strengths and weaknesses, which is the most essential part of our human experience in my opinion - to respect our weaknesses and get stronger by addressing them, to crossing our fears, and by holding joy in our strengths and feeling comfortable and at peace when using them - is, like, everything!


How do I sing mindfully?


One can experience mindfulness with really anything, by slowing that activity down. By slowing the whole world down in our brains and really ADDRESSING the thing that FEELS “off” to us.


INSTINCT

So this is how it goes. Our instincts play a big part in mindfulness. When we are singing for example, there’s a particular phrase that when we come at, always seems to be “something off”, and still we completely ignore it and move on with our singing, and sing several more phrases/words/pitches/etc. the same way. Turning a blind eye is never helpful. Whatever you do, if you are not letting yourself indulge and take the thing that “feels off” head-on, if you keep turning a blind eye at it, the whole experience will remain unsatisfactory for you (at least you have NO IDEA the amount of joy you can receive if you just did it RIGHT - more mindfully). You will always either stay insecure about your singing, or always feel that something is wrong here and there, constantly.

So let’s take this for an example.

You have a warm up, of 1-2-3-4-5 notation (Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol/Sa Re Ga Ma Pa). Now the ideal speed you’ll wanna hit it on is - whatever. Meaning you have no idea what speed is right for you at the stage of learning you are at with this art form. If you are just starting out, your natural habit will go - bskhgwrfgawjfhdfj! Super fast or even moderately fast than what speed you should be singing the phrase really.

Slow it down. See where Do is. See where note 2 is, are you hitting it right, does it match the pitch on your instrument, does it feel right, or are you flat or sharp from the pitch you are hearing (not matching the pitch)? Then slowly when you start to get your frequency better for each note, you bring it all together in a single phrase.

Now as it is a new phase in your process, you again take it slow, to see how much you understand and how much you don’t.



Go over what you don’t understand, and slowly increase your speed, always going over what you don’t understand - again and again. The more you do this, the more mindfully you sing, the sooner you will be riffing and running like a little Beyonce yourself!! No be even better, find your own style!! But before taking off forgetting to keep your feet on the ground, make some effort. Like how we discussed above. 

DISSECT

Which brings me to my next point - DISSECT.

No, really. Dissecting here means dividing your musical phrase into pieces or smaller segments, creating chapters for that little thing, learning/understanding each chapter and segment.

And then, just how a doctor would sew a body back up after dissecting it, we put it altogether with our own little thing at hand. IT IS MANDATORY TO SEW BACK UP VERY WELL, so you want to do it present in the NOW with the task at hand. :)

Take a riff for example. Now your first attempt would be - adjfbeuhgbf! Just random- ass stuff. Now, either use an application/YouTube speed reducer, or if you’re more advance, use your own mind to dissect that riff into individual notes, check the rhythm and the phrasing of all groups of notes, divide it all into chapters/phrases, learn it up from a slow speed to EVENTUALLY increasing the speed, and slowly coming to the speed of the song, and voila! You’ve nailed the riff all by yourself, with or without the help of some tools. I mean, it’s amazing.

Sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? :) I understand.


But once you start gathering the courage and willingness to do so, with your singing practice or even with your own thoughts, you will get better and quicker at this. This calm and observational foot forward with all things you do will become your first nature after a while, as happens with all things we practice. Beyonce was not born with the runs she sings in her songs. A fairy did not magically one day give all the best hindustani singers their crazy singing abilities. It happened over time. Moment by moment, day by day. Because you know what? 10 mins of focused practice is worth MORE THAN hours and days and months of RANDOM PRACTICE you have been doing and reaching absolutely nowhere, and probably getting worse.


Because, what will you do if you are not trying to be mindful? It is the most joyful experience, and keeps us happy and motivated in our lives in general. I mean, what would you rather be doing?


So. Put a timer if you feel intimidated by this process, and try the mindfulness experience with singing and other aspects of your life as well, to make your life a more fulfilling and a wholesome experience while you are living. And if you are motivated enough, skip the timer, GET ON WITH IT, and ENJOY! <3

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