I had always thought that the violin was my favorite instrument, perhaps because it sounds and feels to me most like a human voice, but recently while in a seminar listening in such detail to a cello being played in so majestic a fashion, I fell in love with this instrument which is so representative of not only the human form in the way that it looks, but how the soul of the instrument resonates through its body. There is a deep richness to the colors of the cello and I could feel its energy throughout the room.
Carrying this beautiful weekend with me and still feeling its presence, one of my students was having difficulty singing a legato line in tune….I could sense her frustration and dismay; I asked her to look at her body as an instrument and to pick up a magical imaginary bow…….at first she gave me cheesy, comical and sarcastic looks, but I asked her to try and put that all to the side and just go along with this seemingly strange exercise………I asked her to physically strum right along her lower body and to breathe into the resonance….one stroke, two strokes…….and her voice blossomed. What a change! The color of her voice warmed, her breath dropped lower into her body, and the tuning effortlessly resolved itself! I have always looked at the human voice as an instrument, but to physically pretend that it was an instrument truly breathed new life into my student’s voice and it is a technique that I have loved using throughout the years and continue to improve upon.
Of course, I am a little biased. I think that the human voice is the most beautiful instrument in the world because it carries within it our spirit, our blood, our body, and our souls. We wake up with it each day and go to sleep with it at night. It dreams with us. It holds onto the traditions of our families and the memories of our ancestors while at the same time being uniquely our own.