Oct 07, 2016
Do "The DO": that expression was coined by a wonderful voice teacher named Gwynne Geyer to remind her students to stay focused on what they are doing as they sing, instead of being focused on what they are hearing. Training speaking and singing by listening to yourself is an extremely inefficient method. What you hear in your head is vastly different from what the audience hears. That's why most people are so surprised by the sound of their own voices on an answering machine; their voices simply don't really sound they way they think they do. (To prove that to yourself, speak or sing while holding books of music on the sides of your head in front of your ears. The sound you hear then is much closer to what the audience hears because the sound waves are bouncing around the room before they come back to your ears.)
This is one reason I encourage actors and singers to record (and then listen to--don't forget that part!) their voice lessons and or coaching sessions. Actors can also learn a lot by listening to their speaking voices when rehearsing monologues and scenes. The most efficient way to learn to speak and sing is to focus your intention and attention on doing the coordination you are learning, then feeling the sensations and vibrations that result in the body, and--finally--hearing the sound you hear in your head, which (at least in the beginning) may often surprise you when your teacher tells you it is right.
Once you know what you're doing, the desire to make a certain sound guides you and ignites the corresponding "muscle memory." This is something all great speakers and singers experience, even if they don't understand how it works. But, you don't get that result until the muscle memory has been trained. That's what the lessons are for. So much unhappiness in learning to speak and sing comes from using the sound as the starting point, rather than the ending point. In developing Hennessy Breath & BodyWork and the DVD Voice at the Center, I strived to create a precise and clear methodology in the approach, which I think of as “The Do.” Then, learning to create the optimal performing instrument--your whole body in optimal alignment and openness--is simply Doing The Do over and over until the “muscle memory” is created.