The Power of Song

I am consistently struck with the power of music for healing. I devote time every day for singing practice, as well as teaching singing and yoga. I always begin my practice with time dedicated to breathing. My breath reveals my truth about my feelings. Sometimes I can be pretty good about denying my feelings, but once I take time to focus on my breath, they are all there waiting for me.

After I take time breathing, I begin to make sound. My sound reflects whichever emotions I feel. If I am stressed, my voice will feel tight. When I feel sadness, I feel a knot in my throat. When I am calm, my sound feels free. When I am excited, my sound is energized. My voice and my heart are inseparable. This means that my singing isn’t “perfect.” I used to spend my time judging my singing harshly. If my emotions were revealed through my singing and consequently, if my singing felt “tight,” or blocked by the knot in my throat, I would blame myself for my imperfection. Now, I realize that this is simply an opportunity to be gentle with myself. Clearly, singing now serves a different purpose for me. On these days, singing isn’t a sport, it is a vessel for expression.

After a late night in downtown Boston last weekend, I came across a woman in the train station, sitting on a cardboard box holding a baby. She held a sign that said “Have no money.” In her eyes was a look that I understood as determination combined with deep sadness and fear. As she sat and rocked her baby in her arms, she began to sing. A deep, rich sound filled with anguish and hope was released.

As I listened to this woman sing in the train station, I felt a knot begin to form in my throat, and a warmth in my heart. I was struck by the raw, strikingly human, unapologetically imperfect sound that she shared with us. I found myself feeling overcome with the power of song.

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