We spend a lot of time talking about the body with all the singing parts and how they work, but great singing is not just physical. It is also mental! Our thinking matters just as much as all of the physical coordination working right!
In fact, if our mind is not thinking about singing correctly, then the conscious commands given will negatively affect how our muscles respond. Incorrect mental concepts can originate from faulty training or from having heard about some supposed “common knowledge.” These things are often just half-truths and over-simplifications.
For example, many have said to me that they control airflow for singing by using their diaphragm. Then, I watch them overtly attempt to do something with the belly so as to “breathe low” and control the ascent of the diaphragm. Well, funny thing is, the diaphragm is an involuntary muscle. It cannot be controlled by any sort of direct action. Furthermore, we cannot really breathe low. There is no way to get air in our belly or pelvic region. We breathe with our lungs. Our belly is where our stomach and other organs deal with food. Our pelvic region is even more removed from our lungs.
Obviously you know that you can’t put air in your belly, and yet the “truism” continues. It may seem a small thing, but if you rely on it you are sending commands to your very complicated body that don’t actually work! That incorrect mental concept means you are confusing the instructions and the bodies tries to do all these things that don’t fit with how the body actually functions. That mixed up thinking prevents the body from being allowed to work naturally! Not good!
Thus, an important part of correct functional training is to start letting go of faulty concepts and be willing to discover new mental concepts that are in line with physical realities. That way when you do a functional exercise and allow your understanding of the anatomy to be part of what you understand, you develop a sensation or an experience of what it means to sing according to the laws of nature. The mental concept that the teacher has explained starts to make sense, because it matches up with what the body does when it is healthy. We feel it.
The proof is in the eating of the vocal pudding!