Wabi-Sabi & Singing

Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese view and aesthetic that defines beauty that embraces imperfections and impermanence. It is an antidote to homogeneity. A beautiful practice within this philosophy is Kintsukuroi, the act of mending broken pottery with gold. The effect shines a light on flawed beauty- in a way the broken object becomes more beautiful.

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Wabi-sabi may unintentionally present itself in vocal warmups. Sometimes the little discoveries we make about our own voice come from times when you feel like you are simply mucking around. Singing teachers and students may recognise moments like this when you are attempting to make the ugliest of sounds, such as a witches cackle, low heavy sobs or a deep and unguarded laugh. If singing is an act of being a conduit for emotions and stories, the most believable and beautifully heartfelt doesn’t always equate to technical perfection. Think of the unique and recognisable voices of your favourite singers.

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singer Joanna Newsom

Another wabi-sabi consideration is the way that the voice changes over time. The voice can take on different characteristics and abilities as we age. You can read a bit about the common changes here: http://www.entnet.org/content/voice-and-aging

Using elements of wabi-sabi in your singing practice could mean releasing your judgement and embracing your own unique sound. An essential in healthy singing method is to be relaxed. This will ease up muscles and breathing, allowing your voice to flow freely and safely. You may find the parameters of your vocal range and ability actually expand by being relaxed. As Bill Murray said, “the more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything”.

Bill Murray knows best
Bill Murray knows best

Understanding Minimalism

When I think of minimalism I have always thought of the luxe museum houses plastered in glossy design magazines. I think of straights lines, monochrome and slightly masculine persuasions and order.

I love the aesthetic of a clean and stylish all black outfit, a la the beautiful Jeanne Damas…

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Or the zen vibes of this organised dream wardrobe (that couldn’t look more contrasting to my current dumping ground of a built in) …

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Or the beautifully balanced aesthetics of my favourite Australian born brand Aesop…

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Last year I went travelling around the world for a few months and to save cash and time, I made the very conscious decision to only take carry on luggage. I thought it’d be impossible, but in fact, it was very possible. The more I travelled the less stuff I wanted. It’d just slow me down.

It ignited a spark… could I become a minimalist?
I never thought so, due to my love of all thing maximalist and unkept: Colours, crushed velvet, baroque patterns, glam rock, 60 and 70’s vintage clothes and bohemian deco (and I tend to like my music this way too). This seems to be something I can’t repress, nor do I want to.

One thing I’ve come across that changed my perspective is the beloved maximalist William Morris, with such a simple and effective mantra that can be applied to minimalism.

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Lately my understanding of minimalism has changed and just in time to tackle the suffocation I was feeling being in my tiny bedroom brimming with stuff. I’m a sucker for buying stuff and I want to curb this habit.

Minimalism is not necessarily about changing your style, but about refining it. What are the essentials to you? And what can you live without?

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(Images via Pinterest)