If you disagree, try it. Sing “The Star Spangled Banner”. Right Now.
Did anyone flee the vicinity in terror? Probably. Know why? Singing ain’t easy.
Think about it. The voice is the one instrument native to human anatomy (well, the voice and hambone) yet very few of us utilize it – let alone utilize it well. Most of us are lucky if we can hum a few bars of “Call Me Maybe” (thats your favorite song, right?).
There is an undeniable personal connection between a person and their voice. If you play, for instance, trumpet and you dislike the sound of your ‘axe’ you can always get another trumpet. As a vocalist, you are forever saddled with the original equipment and long hours of hard work are required to master it.
There is a nakedness one feels, an exposure, that is unique to vocal performance. You can hear a lot about what’s happening inside the person singing with every inflection of their voice. All other instrumentalists strive for this connection with their instrument but few get there and even fewer can make it translate during a performance. Yet, it’s there for everyone to hear when you sing one note.
In addition to incorporating melody, harmony, and rhythm, vocals convey meaning. Sure, instrumental music can convey emotion: like when you ‘feel so good’ after listening to Chuck Mangione. But, when sung well, lyrics can add a dimension that draws the casual listener into a song and convey a common or uncommon human experience. Thats probably one reason why vocalists are such an enduring force in popular music. Take a look at the biggest artists over the past decade. You would be hard-pressed to think of an instrumental act that topped the charts. Instead, your radio dial is dominated by vocalists. Its hard for everyone to relate to Joe Shredder’s laser-fast guitar licks or Harry Hipster’s needlessly cerebral jazz grooves but nearly everyone can identify with the raw power and emotion of a great vocal performance…
Because singing ain’t easy.
Speaking of singers, don’t forget to come out to The Loft on 9/29 to see the Dreamgirls make their Fall debut along with the other MSOM ensembles!
Check out the Dreamgirls on Facebook!