Conceptual framework

Singing is a purposeful kind of expression. It is a kind of expression that is bound to a time and place. The connectedness to time and place applies to the person as a whole. This means that each person has his/her own history and doesn’t just start out with nothing. He/she carries a very own psychic and physical experience from the past. Once we acknowledge our connectedness (to place, time and space), then our assumption is that we must try to function as freely as possible. In other words, to minimise the restriction so that we can achieve maximal results with a minimum effort.

There are a great number of factors that play a role here, and we are only able to influence a few of these. Consider external factors, such as social circumstances, the influence of fellow human beings, etc. Also, the list of internal factors can be quite long (psychic, physical).

For conducting research, the primary elements of interest are those that could influence the anatomical structure and possibilities. In an ideal situation, all factors work together to enable a person to be as free as possible in his self-expression, in this case, singing. A comfortable temperature in the room, adequate coaching, a well-balanced audience, a relaxed body, etcetera, are of great importance. You must try to eliminate infectious illness, organic sickness and physical tension.

The posture of each unique individual is the result of all factors combined. When we consider that the entire human body and all of its facets serves as the instrument while singing, then, in order to get the best sound, this instrument must be properly tuned. By tuning the instrument, we can achieve an optimally free functioning for the unique individual bound by place, time and space (optimal refers to the right balance between effort and result).

More specifically, what is important to achieve this is:

  1. The skeleton
    Movement that is restricted as a result of the skeleton is limiting to the purposeful ability of self-expression. For the skeleton, we need the following:
    a) Limbs free of restrictions in movement;
    b) Vertebral column free of restrictions in movement. This is important due to:
  • The overall functioning of the spine, in its cartilage surfaces of the joints as a part of the ability to express oneself and its toning influence on the muscular system;
  • The neurological aspect, in particular the spinal cord, which is responsible for sending inhibitory and activating signals in good measure and without restriction in order to serve the muscles and organs without restriction; for example, a limited nerve function to a muscle would limit the free functioning of that muscle (sciatica, tennis arm, etc.).
  1. The muscular system
    The muscular system, with all of its sensory nerves, in order to know its position in a given space and to know how to contract to change its position in that space with a minimum effort and optimal potential for self-expression from either a conscious state or a well-coordinated automatism.
  2. Psychic balance*
    When the psyche is in balance with the essence of the individual, then his potential for self-expression is also optimal from this foundation.
  3. Social circumstances*
    In fact, these are not directly included in the research. Since they cannot be measured objectively and often cannot be influenced by humans themselves (e.g. hospitalisation of a roommate will cause an additional burden to the functioning of the individual).
  4. Organic sickness
    Underlying organic sickness can also have an inhibiting effect on the free functioning of the individual. Infectious illness such as the flu, bladder infection, etcetera will, for example, have an inhibiting effect on the free will of the individual and bring his level of self-expression / performance to a lower level by means of muscle fatigue or muscle aches that may occur.

These factors must be integrated into a greater whole that is as complete as possible.

Breathing is, of course, very important. Breathing patterns normally adapt to the physical and psychological circumstances of an individual. The aforementioned factors, therefore, all have an influence on breathing. Alternatively, breathing can be used to influence these factors.

The research was in fact a search for the relationship between anatomical data and the vocal product; the influence of this anatomy to achieve a greater freedom for the individual in his potential for self-expression; teaching the individual command over his/her body so that external and internal factors can have only a minimal effect on his/her vocal self-expression.

The internal factors and the external factors determine the optimal potential for the vocal product for each unique individual.

*The 3rd and 4th factor are important, although not ‘directly’ included in the research.