If Confucius Was Your Vocal Coach
Last weekend was a busy one in the world. While lovers celebrated Valentine's Day, Asia welcomed the Lunar New Year of the Metal Ox, also commonly referred to as the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. You already know that I am passionate about singing. Have you also noticed my interest in learning about different cultures? As so well said by Confucius: "Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star." Indeed, the world is full of opportunities to expand the mind and discover new horizons.
Every February, I am reminded of my 2009 travels to Asia that included beautiful China, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. I have fond memories of my teaching assignment there, our extra kind “minders” (hosts) and students, inspiring temples, gorgeous nature and delicious (often curious) food!
My favourite time over there was spent wandering the streets of Suquian, Nanjin (China) after our school day. People hung out in the park to exercise, play music and socialize. The sky lit with fireworks every night! So if there is one thing that I learned about Asia, it's that people love to give thanks! And they do it by finding many reasons to celebrate! So to follow in that tradition, let's show appreciation for and celebrate Asia's contributions to our daily life and inevitably our singing journey.
Here are 5 ways Asia influences the world of singing:
1) Green Tea
I visited China during the month of July. It was excruciatingly hot, and still people drank hot tea! I was shocked to find out that only HOT water came out of the school's water dispenser! My minder told me: “Cold water will kill you!” So I obliged and got into drinking hot beverages during my stay. We were served green tea every morning and at every meal. I didn't mind after all since green tea is full of anti-oxidants. It is known to enhance both productivity and calmness. This destresser in a cup also does wonders for weight loss and the skin. That's great news because a positive body image and confidence makes you a more charismatic performer. Add a little bit of honey (it has anti-inflammatory properties) to coat your throat and voila! Enjoy the energy boost and let the warmth increase blood flow to your throat muscles. You will sing like a bird!
I've had a handful of clients bringing K-pop songs to their lessons. They are so much fun to sing! The K-pop ecstatic singing and dance moves are a courtesy of South Korea whose artists come about through a rigorous star system. They are storming the planet with their infectious music! It's great to see a return to the boy/girl bands. What's better way to bond in friendship than singing? The world needs more happy music and opportunities to let loose! K-pop artists display incredible talent by blending singing and dancing to perfection. They influence with their sense of fashion but also with their lyrical content that has helped South Korea open itself up to the rest of the world. BTS is the biggest K-pop band on the planet; check them out!
Did you know that the sound Om is said to be the origin of the Universe? Sound is vibration and vibration is life! This sacred syllable pronounced a-u-m carries energy from the present and future. I was blessed to hear Buddhist monks pray and sing “Om” at a temple once in Thailand. It was a truly magical spiritual experience. Sing Om to cleanse your aura and move energy through your chakras. The intensity of this mantra feels like a gentle massage of the vocal cords and will revitalize your heart and soul. Meditating this way increases the connection between your inner forces and higher powers. Singing Om before practising enhances your self-awareness and musical-emotional intelligence.
Where would we all be without Karaoke? THANK YOU Japan! I grew up in the 80's and like many of you, I didn't have a computer and there was no INTERNET! I learned to play guitar to accompany myself and of course we could sing along with records and tapes but it doesn't compare to actually singing with an instrumental track! The accessibility of Karaoke music tracks completely changed the game of singing! It apparently began when a snack bar owner invited patrons to sing along instrumental tracks to replace the main singer who was too ill to sing. Just another example of greatness coming out of struggles! A huge THANK YOU as well to Steve Chen, of Taiwanese-American decent, one of the 3 genius internet entrepreneurs behind the creation of YouTube.
More than 2500 years ago, lived Confucius, a Chinese wise man and politician whose philosophy has defied the passage of time. Confucianism is based on 5 virtues: benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom and fidelity. All of which serve us in singing. If Confucius was your vocal coach, here's what he would tell you:
"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without."
"What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others."
"It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop."
"When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals; adjust the action steps."
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
"He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."
"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated."
"If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself."
"Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation, there is sure to be failure."
"The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence."
"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
"Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart."
Now, I'm no Confucius but I do know a thing or two about singing! Are you following your bliss? If you feel inspired to bring your passion back to the centre of your life, I am more than happy to be of assistance. Learning how to expand your range and power to sing effortlessly is an action step that will surely bring you closer to your dreams.
I've put together an amazing masterclass in which I share easy and simple strategies that will get you started. Follow the link below to register... I can't wait to see you there!
Photo credits: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/confucius-chinese-school.html