Today I Scan for Doorways, starting low in my range and as slowly as possible sliding upward. I do this with my mouth closed, like a hum, but without much emphasis on the mmm, so the sound vibrates more internally than on just the front lips.
My goal is to be attentive to whatever is occurring in each moment as I make my way from low to high and back down — and to notice what spots stand out as the most interesting. Once I’ve found such a place, I spend a while there exploring.
Tonight it’s the very squeaky upper end of my range that catches my attention the most. At the very top it sounds like air escaping from a squeezed balloon opening. I keep thinking I’ve reached the highest note and then find the next one. The more pure I try to make it sound, the more tight I get, so I let the accompanying pops and sizzles happen.
I heard Bobby McFerrin say once that when he was younger he spent hours in his basement trying to imitate instruments with his voice, which birthed so much of the virtuosic and playful range for which he’s known. I think of this as I’m playing in the thin air of this altitude.
I sound like the kid next store learning violin. At times it is cringe-inducing and at other times I hear moments of beauty.
I feel like I’ve discovered a new instrument and can’t stop playing with it.
How many undiscovered instruments are lurking behind the unassuming doors of your range?