One Word At A Time

A student asked me the other day how she could go about interpreting a song. She felt overwhelmed and disconnected from the material, kind of like a tiger jumping through hoops, getting caught up in the "how to" of it and losing sight of the "what" or "why".
After having worked on vocal technique with her for over 30 minutes and starting in on the "song" part of the session, I asked her to step away from whatever it was she was trying to do. No adding to, no taking away, no "interpreting" or "acting" of the lyrics. Closing her eyes she sang the song we were working on one word at a time, without any emphasis on anything other than that one word, followed by the next word and the next. Allowing each word of a lyric to come to her instead of rushing towards it and trying to mangle it into something it wasn't, the song became her song. It became simple, effortless. Free of judgment and deeply personal. It moved me. And made me think about all the preconceptions, judgments and interpretations we carry around in our minds every day, towards every person we meet. Even every task we are supposed to perform. Maybe focusing more on just the next "word" might be a nice exercise for a day or two, just to see how it feels to walk around without allowing the constant monologue inside our brain to dictate how we feel and see the world.

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