Saturday, 31 July 2010

Heart is Best

Yippee, more athletics this week end. It is the European Championships, and I have been glued to the TV.

I heard such a good maxim during the interview with the amazing, and pint sized Jessica Ennis who is doing so well in the Heptathlon. It was concerning her Long Jump competition. The general conversation was becoming more and more tangled and complex whilst discussing her technique, and what could she do to alter this and that and the other.......when someone said (sadly I can't remember who!) 'Hang on here, remember 'Analysis means Paralysis'.

I felt a small electric current zoom through my 'singing persona'. So many singers are so bound up in this technique, or that technique, or too busy dissecting a song for all it's worth, they seem to forget why they are actually doing it.

More than often a highly intelligent singer will cause themselves so much angst, confusion, and even fear from the constant inner argument. Thinking about what you are singing is of course, vital for a complete performance, but when the brain gets in the way it is very detrimental, and leaves no space for singing from the heart.

I looked at the word 'Analysis' in the dictionary and it has some interesting definitions - 'study', 'examination', 'investigate' and 'breakdown' ! Interesting indeed, because each one has a value, but all need to come with a warning on the tin. Do all of the above to some degree but then take a step back, wonder if the composer analysed his composition, then stop thinking and sing with your whole heart, and love the song. That way the musical whole will be free and relaxed and never paralysed.

I spend much of my adjudicating life talking about a free and open tone. Sometimes the simple truth says, 'More is Less'.

...and I mean brain!

Well Done Jessica - she just won the Gold. Strength, Courage, Talent and Training!


  1. I know exactly what she means! My first singing teacher was terrible at over analysis just before an exam. I think she got too nervous about us :) All it did was make us nervous and then not perform well. I completely tanked one piece during my finals and had to go off stage to recover myself and then come back and repeat the whole thing (and it wasn't a minor piece either). I did pass but to me, that was just awful when it should have been so good!

    Shame really because she is a good teacher normally.

    I don't think it would affect me so badly now but as a young person it really impacted.

    viv in nz

  2. Over dissecting is SO bad - it makes you freeze. Sorry about your experience - but I guess we learn from those bad ones !

  3. Well it does teach not to take anything in just before an exam and, in this case, turn up so late as to just have time to make it onto the stage :) The worst was the loss of my very good accompianist who refused point blank to ever have to go through anything like that very destructive analysis again.

    Oh well - that was 30 plus years back now :)

    viv in nz