by Morgan Cryar
It was common knowledge. No one could run a mile in less than 4 minutes. EVERYONE AGREED, IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE. Everyone, except one man...Roger Bannister. On May 6, 1954, he did what was indeed impossible up to that moment…
-he ran a mile in 3:59.
He describes the race where it happened. At one and a half laps, he says "I was relaxing so much that my mind seemed almost detached from my body. There was no strain." He described how, during the entire first part of the race, his legs "felt so full of running."
That's how I remember feeling when I first shot up to an F above male high C. My voice just felt "well-supplied with singing." It was so effortless that I didn't realize it was real. It was near the end of my third lesson with Brett. He was shouting, "Do you believe that?"
But I really couldn't. What I had just done was impossible.
I had hoped for ages to someday be able to hit a single solid A below high C. And I didn't even think of it as "below high C." I thought of it as "way up there above MIDDLE C."
Now, because of years of hanging out with Brett and being trained by him, I not only sing up there regularly. I can actually teach someone else how to make these breakthroughs. The funny thing is, IT IS AS INSPIRING TO WATCH OTHERS EXPERIENCE AS IT IS TO EXPERIENCE IT YOURSELF.
There is that moment when you just let the exercises do their work. No Hard mental labor, no physical tax on the body. It's just watching them "find it" like they've just broken through a clearing in the woods.
Roger Bannister described a moment toward the final stretch. "I had a moment of mixed joy and anguish, when my mind took over." It was only a fleeting moment for him. His body kicked back in, doing what it knew to do, pouring out the "last drop of running" as he crossed the line.
Some people just seem to have great voices. Others of us have always had to work at it. Some make it look easy. But I have always found good vocals to come by way of considerable effort (UNTIL THAT DAY). So what is our common conclusion?
The conclusion (and assumption) is that people are either born with that amazing vocal ability or not. *Even the people who possess the amazing ability often assume that they were just born with it.
But I have found a secret.
People who have any vocal ability at all usually get it the same way...they "find" it. I know that there are hundreds of classically-trained singers who might want to fight me on this. That's because they have indeed worked very hard to get whatever they've got.
But STILL, I contend that even THEY ended up "finding" their way in singing. How do I know this? It's because I've personally watched dozens of singers of all types "find" their voice in a single session. (That includes many classically-trained singers.) And normally, it leaves them a little dis-oriented.
Part of the reason their head starts spinning is because most singers have worked and worked on pushing their limits...just to reach an extra inch. (We all just want that one extra note!) So in our minds, after much effort, trying to eke out just one more usable note, we find it hard to think that a huge chunk of vocal ability(namely, multiple, solid extra notes of range) is sitting there waiting for us to just...find it.
For the concept of "finding" notes to make sense, it helps to think about the size of the vocal cords. They are only a couple of half-inch stretches of thin muscle. It makes no sense that we would need more "effort" to get more out of them? These are the ultimate precision instruments, not sledge hammers.
Imagine finding a poor soul trying to write with the eraser end of a pencil. He doesn't need more effort. He just needs someone to show him how to hold his pencil!
Let's get back to the "lucky ones" with the golden voices. In nearly every case I know of they "felt their way along" until they figured out by accident what singing well "feels" like. When they were satisfied with what it sounded like, they just kept doing it. (Remember, you can't see the instrument in this case, so it is often by "feel.")
The bigger and more important question is:
You better believe it.
I've watched Brett Manning take singer after singer who never knew they had it in them and with little effort (a few simple exercises) smash their barriers vocally and mentally, once and for all. *I have also seen him take "golden voices" and simply show them how their voices work. They are astounded! It's like the light goes on in their mind. They get some exercises to strengthen their present abilities and they just soar!