If you sing in a duet, trio, quartet, choir, chorus, band or any other group you need to ask yourself this question: Are you more like clay, or ceramic? Stay with me. I promise it will make sense. A good quality potter’s clay has substance and a certain consistency, but is still very pliable and moldable. Once that piece is glazed and baked the flexibility is gone, and either it works with the other pieces or it doesn’t. There’s no turning back or fixing it.
The obvious parallel
The obvious parallel for singers is this: Anyone who sings in a group must remain like clay. If you’re not moldable, pliable and flexible you won’t fit in and blend with others. Instead, you will stick out, like a misshaped or discolored mug in what was intended to be a matched set.
Your Job Now
Your job now is to do a meaningful self-examination and ask this question: “Am I more like the potter’s clay, or the inflexible ceramic?” If you do find yourself in the ceramic category you can relax. Unlike the potter, who has to destroy bad pieces, God has given us the ability to rework and relearn. This allows us to keep and add to the good skills, while at the same time eliminating the bad ones. If we are diligent with this pursuit, our vocal muscle memory with be helping us really own some great vocal technique.
Warning: Sometimes, those of us with the most training are the ones in danger of being “academic ceramics.” If we’re not careful, we will live in a rut of just what we were taught and lose the ability to grow. Those of us who teach risk the danger of giving bad counsel due to our own inflexibility. How do I know this? Through personal experience. It is important that I be constantly learning, reading and chatting with other teachers and coaches to keep myself pliable.
What sort of things do you do to keep yourself flexible? let me know in the comments.