Austin — I start out singing an actual song. Imagine that. You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To. I sing it, though, very slowly, lingering on each syllable for a 10 seconds or more. This is a deconstructive and time-stretching game, as my mind wants to complete the phrase, wants to move the action forward to the familiar landscapes of the song, wants jump up onto the rhythm ride.
Slowing it down, out of rhythm and into long tones also shifts my attention to sensation, tone, vibration, the stuff of this practice. This would be a great way, I think, to really get a song in my bones.
Before I can think about what’s next, I find my hand is playing drum on my mouth, causing a long tone to be split into rhythmic bursts of air. I play with this for the rest of the session. The singing can be more relaxed because it doesn’t have to manage the rhythm; that’s taken care of by my hand.
For brief moments, phrases, I take my hand away and feel a little exposed, vulnerable, like the hand is providing some kind of cover along with its rhythm.
I realize that instruments that we play provide counterpoints, provide an “other” with which to interact. I have a love affair, an ongoing dialog, with my Santa Cruz guitar. I find assertive satisfaction in slamming my hand on the leather of a drum. With singing, though, the “singer” and the other are contained in the same instrument. We are in essence playing the muscles and bones of our body when we sing, but we relate to it all as part of “I.”
I file a mental note to experiment with singing a song using these mouth slaps and perform it at an upcoming gig.