What I learned in gospel class

As mentioned in my previous post, I recently attended an inspiring introductory workshop to singing gospel songs. Apart from the joy of singing as such, I also took away a number of valuable reminders, aphorisms and new tips on how to foster and sustain a creative way of being, be it expressed through singing or any other form of creativity.

Following, I’ve tried to just summarize my “lessons learnt” succinctly. A list of inspirations so to speak. I will keep coming back to these little bits of wisdom and try applying them in new situations every day.

  1. If you can talk, you can sing. Sing anytime.
  2. Breath – it’s the most important thing.
  3. Be fully present, always.
  4. Make every song your own. Find your own unique voice.
  5. Make it urgent. Artistic expression flows from feeling you must tell this story that is important to you in a personal way.
  6. Imagine your artistic expression as a conversation with one person. Real conversations are about showing emotions, not perfection.
  7. To find your own interpretation of a subject (song/character etc.)
    • engage sense memories  to discover associations that are meaningful to you in a personal way.
    • be precise in finding the exact nuance of the emotion you want to express.
    • keep repeating the song until you get its exact meaning  for you. (Rephrase sentences to mean more to you.)
  8. Experiment with your voice, your creative expression without judgement. Rather focus on the fundamental human experience of expression, connection, comfort and the own particular harmony that is created each time people sing together.
  9. Be spontaneous. Just sing the way you want to sing.
  10. Cry if you need to cry. Wailing is our first song. Release the painful energy through movement, clapping and song.
  11. If you are unwell, ask yourself: When did I stop singing?

 

Advertisements

Update from across the Pond

I’m sorry I’ve been so bad about keeping this blog up to date. Being mostly off the grid, traveling these past two weeks and being so full up with impressions that I don’t even know how to start writing about them do not combine in favour of this blog. In short, I spent a highly inspiring, joyful and deeply touching week at the Esalen Institute on Big Sur taking a singing class with the wonderful Vernon Bush. I will eventually try to distill all of the wisdom that was imparted there concerning creativity and inspiration into a blog post here.

My stay at Esalen was followed up with a road trip back up and down Hw 1, really getting to know that overwhelmingly beautiful stretch of the coast until I felt it was “my Big Sur” :). And then heading on to Yosemite for four nights. Truly a “temple of nature” as John Muir called it. And it does look just like in Ansel Adam’s photos! Especially when the sun breaks through the clouds after a spell of rain. “Epic” seems an appropriate term to describe it. I will try to finally get some photos uploaded to the “West Coast” page and / or photography page ASAP. I’ll have more time now that I’m back at my dear Ojai Foundation for another 3 week volunteer stint. I am happy to be back here. For the first time in my life, I feel I couldn’t go on traveling just now. I am so overflowing with impressions and emotions from these past weeks, I need this quiet, familiar place now to process it all and let the beautiful seed that was sown grow roots in my heart.