“Art is collaboration between God and the artist,
and the less the artist does the better.”

(Andre Gide)

I am at heart, a spiritual person. I believe we all are. Though often the stuff of life gets in the way, preventing us from fully realizing Who We Are, when we clear it all away, I believe we are simply Beings made of pure Love and pure Joy. Perhaps because of what we do, musicians are especially blessed, and none more so than singers. After all, what could be more joyful than making music – and better still, to be the instrument itself? I love that what I do for a living helps me feel more alive and more joyful every day. Consequently it is one of my greatest joys to work with others doing the same.

I believe we function best as human beings when all of who we are is integrated, and when we learn to get out of our own way, allowing the expression of the deepest part of ourselves to come through everything we do. This is especially true for singers. To a large degree, I believe the work we do to improve the voice is far less about “creating” something than it is about removing what is in the way. Meister Eckhart said that the “soul grows by subtraction” and I find this to be true for the singing voice as well.

I often tell my students there is no “truth” I could tell them about singing that isn’t even more true for their lives in general. I have found over the years that an awful lot of spiritual wisdom is cleverly disguised as vocal technique. This premise is the basis for some writings I've begun. It is also something I find myself incorporating in my teaching sometimes quite by accident. For example, I believe we better ourselves each time and in each way we do less, and be more. It's the "human being" vs. "human doing" argument of which others have spoken. It has everything to do with singing. And it has everything to do with being.

Whether or not you appreciate the connection – or even wish to – is up to you. Either way, it is my experience that when working with this concept in mind, one's singing improves. I may tell you, for example, to “let go” and you'll think I’m talking about your jaw tension. If so, that will help you. If you think I’m talking about letting go of your tendency to control in general, it will help you more. And if you think I’m talking about letting go of everything – your jaw tension, your emotional tension, your obsession with the review you received last year, your financial fear and your mother's disapproval of your career path – be prepared to be helped a lot! This kind of layered awareness happens more than one might think. It's one of my favorite things about my work. Witnessing people “get it” at many levels and being able to be a part of the process is one reason I feel so blessed to do what I do.

I bring this same philosophy to my work as a coach, conductor and singer. I believe that as people, and especially as artists, the more we integrate who we are in all areas of our life, the better we become. And the better we become, the better our work ends up being. Ultimately I believe we either "integrate" or "dis-integrate." I would suggest that, for vocalists, the former is at the heart of mastering the art of communication through singing. It is also why we who sing are best able to do what we do when we first clear the path. This is the work to which I have devoted my life, the work which brings me the deepest of joy, and the work I am privileged and honored to do with others.

“We are not physical beings
having a spiritual experience.
We are spiritual beings
having a physical experience.”

(Edgar Cayce)