Learning it all at once?

I was struck immediately by the idea of working backwards from the big picture not towards it.  As a musician we are taught to break everything down into manageable pieces and building blocks.  We work on each layer and stack them on top of each other to complete the whole.  The metaphors are endless here and I probably use one or two each day.  Obviously there is validity to this course.  We must break down hard concepts and techniques into logical steps.  BUT what if we look at the big picture as well?  I think I get a little too caught up in the process and the blocks and forget to show the students the big picture.  We actually can’t separate vocal technique into different layers because they are all connected.  If the breath isn’t working, it doesn’t matter if the vocal placement is spot on and visa versa.  On the other hand, our mind really cannot focus on more than one thing at once so we have to choose one aspect of technique to think about in any given moment.  I do not have an answer to this question yet, but I am excited to experiment in this direction.  How can I teach the whole technique at once?  Will my students “put it all together” faster?  Who knows!

I’m not sure if Bill Viola had vocal technique in mind when he wrote this article (I’m pretty sure he didn’t), but he sure did get my wheels turning…


Leave a Reply