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I’m a singer really…

11 Oct 2017

I sing in the car when I'm travelling alone. I sing with drama, passion, love..... and sadly a terrible voice. It's not a bad tone actually, but I don't have much control of pitch, and as I ascend, I have a definite breaking point at which I have to change gear so dramatically, anyone not watching would think a new higher pitched but equally terrible singer had taken my place.

I do however love the fact that we can ALL sing. It is the most natural form of music making known to man; breathing in air and forming it into sound.

The concept for my latest album, Silver Voice, was born out of a fascination with the similarities between a singer and a flute player. I decided to explore it through the beautiful melodies of opera.

A flautist has no reed, no bow, no sticks. The way we breathe is as important to us as virtually anything else in our playing lives, as if it isn't done correctly, everything else will suffer as a result. Focusing on physical posture when we both breathe and play is CRUCIAL. Flute players have a habit of crumpling their bodies forward which can prove highly problematic for breathing. Singers (well, good ones!) never crumple! They stand beautifully proud because their body IS their instrument. I believe that as a flute player this is also true. Good breathing, resonance and stability all stem from the way we stand (or sit) when we play.

"Open the throat!" - I say this in virtually every lesson I ever teach. I also say it to myself on a daily basis. What does this actually mean?! Well, you know that feeling just before you break into a yawn? THAT. Creating what feels like a bigger space through which to breathe and blow is hugely beneficial to a flute player, just as it is to a singer. 

Our air also is used up in much the same way as it is for a singer. Without the resistance of a reed, the air's natural flow is uninterrupted, and therefore used up quite quickly. Although this is sometimes seen as a weakness, not least by flautists themselves, I actually love the fact that I am forced to make my breathing as important a part of my playing as the notes I am producing. As with an opera singer, breathing becomes an expressive tool - it can add a multitude of emotions to a phrase.