Common faults manifest as very real physical issues. Yet, the voice is not just physical but is also mental. Our thinking matters just as much as all of the physical parts 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 come about from faulty training or supposed “common knowledge” that is at best half-truths. For example, many have said to me that they control airflow for singing by using their diaphragm. Then, they 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 is that deals with food. Our pelvic region is quite removed from our lungs.
So, if we have an incorrect mental concept, and we are doing all these things that don’t fit with how the body actually functions, then the body is not allowed to work naturally and all is disturbed!
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. When we respond to a functional exercise, then after a certain period of time the muscles begin to do their jobs right. This gives us 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!