Once we have prepared the soil of our expressive garden of the voice, it is time to lay the seeds of possibilities. If what I wish to acquire is vocal freedom, then I must plant the seeds of that vision. Those seeds are equal to the small but vital exercises we plant into our vocal garden to facilitate a stronger, healthier and more emotionally accessible voice. These exercises can be thought of as several varieties of vegetation—the seeds of breath support, the seeds of perfect intonation, the seeds of easy movement between registers, the seeds of range extension, the seeds of vocal timbre or tone color, and the seeds of emotional conveyance.
The more we attend to the planting of these seeds, the closer we arrive at full vocal expression. In my own vocal garden I plant seeds daily so that I have the best chance that nature and time can give me of using my voice to its fullest potential. Freedom of expression comes with practice and diligence. With my seeds firmly planted in the fertile soil of my emotional preparation, I am ready to move on to the next step in actualizing the wholeness of my expressive voice.
When planting in the Master Garden of one’s vocal expression, one has to first prepare the soil. In fact, in many ways the soil itself is what prepares the master gardener. What is the soil of the self expressive vocalist? Tough question, easy answer. The vocalist herself is the soil of her own expression.
The soil in which a person draws inspiration for vocal expression is their biography, their culture, the various important events of their life, their hopes and beliefs, and their vision and dreams of the future. Therefore, in order to prepare soil, one must do a thorough investigation of their life, their environment, and their anticipated imaginings.
This isn’t always easy work, for not only does it ask one to look at the joyful and instructive moments of one’s life, it also asks one to look at the traumas, the difficulties, and the hurts. In fact, it is in the dark places of our very being where lies the most fertile ground of our vocal expression; in other words, the manure.
Once that investigation is made, one can then turn the soil of their own vocal expression garden over and over, mixing all elements together in preparation for the work ahead. Now your garden has the possibility of displaying blossoms of thousands of colors, not merely a few. Plus, the garden will be unique, authentic and truly one’s own!
As with every year about this time I begin to feel an itch for working in my garden. The sun had finally come out and the soil is enriched by its afternoon warmth. I live in a high desert climate, so even though the spring days are brilliant, the nights can still dip down to freezing. It is a dangerous time to be a primrose in the Rogue Valley. In our enthusiasm we amateur gardeners spend the first clear day planting as if summer was just around the corner, but unfortunately it is not.
I don’t know how many times I have planted too early and lost my flower to an April night’s freeze. There is a time for preparing the soil, for planting the seeds, or nurturing the seedlings with water and sunshine, for protecting the new growth from hungry insects and animals, not to mention human foot traffic, and for appreciating the full beauty and bounty of that which we have planted.