Beth Noelle.com Pure of Heart. Fiercely True. Radiantly Alive.

Words, straight up.

Beth Noelle
PATH of Authentic Voice

Among other things, I’m a voice teacher by profession. I’ve been at it for so long that the odds are high that when I listen to a singer, I’m more inclined to have my teacher’s hat on rather than just allowing myself to receive and be affected by their transmission. I’m wired that way. I hit myself with that, too, and it has taken a good many years to just let myself enjoy expressing without being self-critical at every turn.

So I get that art is subjective and that being said, I am objectively critical of one thing I hear far more than I care to. This...

Singers, in general, are far too careless and lackadaisical with words.

I always tell people who work with me that they are, first and foremost, in service of the TEXT. The text, the lyric drives the expression. All words are not created equal and I believe there must be a personal investment in... a resonation with... what is being said.

When it comes right down to it, I want to be, not so much impressed as moved. A million far out notes aren’t going to do that. A ‘perfect’ voice isn’t going to do that. (People may laugh, but one of my favorite singers is Fred Astaire. Clean. Clear. Every word, impeccably personal and alive). Singers will only move others if they let themselves be pierced by what they’re singing about and then channel it on through to the listener... the most beloved singers are, in my estimation, energy ninjas! It’s not a cerebral thing, it’s a body thing. It’s a soul thing.

To effectively be a vocal ninja, a singer must activate and be connected, powerfully, yet vulnerably and transparently, with their own Body and Soul. That’s why the main thrust of my teaching is about Personhood. (For more info on that, go to PATH of Authentic Voice). It’s not enough to have good technique, which I can and do teach. In fact, solid technique is essential (in varying degrees of demand, according to style/genre) to give the voice the elbow room, via strength, stamina and flexibility... essential to conjure the many available colors and textures on the singing spectrum of any given tune. That’s only the beginning, though.

I want to sense that the singer has been through the good, the bad and the ugly of life. Raw and ripe... and seasoned. Not in a melodramatic, woe-is-me, theatrical way, but in a ‘been there, done that’, ‘we’re all in this together’, ‘ain’t it grand to be human?’, way. (Viva la Tony Bennett).

And, really, this goes for all voiced expression. In conversation. Slowing down is good. Silent pause is good. I’ve a dear friend who blows my mind every time I talk with her. Her words are few. Her words are selected mindfully. Her words are felt and sensed before utterance. Every word a part of and emanating from her Beingness. She is a living example to me and inspires me to be online in that same way.

There’s an old saying... that we teach what we most need to learn. Relative to my own singing, someone wise once told me that I didn’t need to do so much. It impacted me muchly and I took it to heart. It was good and sound advice, worthy of paying forward.

Enough. Fred Astaire, take it away...