One of the things I love about teaching singing is the joy of a sudden inspiration that leads to insight. Today I taught a lesson in which my student and I just explored the taste of vowels. This journey began with a simple question: What are you curious about today? We worked in the falsetto range, and played around with what each vowel felt like in the mouth and where they felt it. The discovery that each vowel has its own quality and character was illuminating for them; there was recognition that the “ee” moves to “ay” and then “ah”, but there is an “in-between” space between each one. It’s almost like choosing a different door to walk through with each sound, shape and sensation.

This pandemic has meant that the options we thought we had were swept away. But the interesting thing is that it has opened up new doors. New discoveries, new paths abound if we are willing to think differently, choose differently. My students have become more willing to explore, to investigate, to listen to their own impulses and make their own choices. More and more frequently, I find myself simply stepping aside so that they can make these explorations without my interference. In so doing, their learning lands deeper and the concepts become multi-faceted, seen in technicolor. The discoveries they make on their own are all the sweeter for the sense of agency and ownership that they provide. And all this exploration encourages them to open more doors, travel to new, undiscovered places, see new lights.