Music and in particular singing has been my constant companion through a childhood spent moving between two continents and cultures. And through the years this interest has steadily developed into a passion which keeps getting stronger and stronger. This love for music has led me on an eclectic journey; singing in choirs in the Welsh valleys, Bollywood music in urban India and Indian classical music in cosmopolitan London.
I started learning Indian classical music as a young adult and was immersed in the language of this ancient art form at one of the largest centre’s of its kind outside the Indian sub-continent. A hub for performing arts, The Bhavan Centre in London was a home away from home for so many memorable years. Here I trained under the resident vocal teacher Chandrima Misra who helped lay some deep and strong musical foundations in me. During this time I was also given the opportunity to teach the basics of Indian classical vocal to those starting out on their journey. And I can safely say that sharing this traditional ancient art form in the UK has been an equally insightful experience for me. It has not only helped to instil patience but has helped to sharpen my ear along with also general life skills like listening.
Many of whom I taught continue to learn at a higher level from my guru at the Bhavan Centre and I am proud to have helped them start their journey in to this beautiful art form. I also enjoy conducting workshops in the community and have done workshops with various age groups including council led groups for pensioners.
The more I learn about the voice the more I become fascinated by what this tiny instrument can do and the range of incredible sounds it can produce. My fascination with my instrument has led me into a world where science and creativity come together. The insights from many world leading voice experts and vocalists has given me a real understanding into the mechanics of the voice and ways of producing a more efficient sound. And never the one to do things in halves, I spent around a year observing and helping at a specialist NHS voice clinic for patients with vocal issues. The multi-disciplinary clinic at Lewisham Hospital in South East London is one of the foremost clinics of its kind diagnosing and treating singers, and other professional voice speakers like teachers and call centre workers, and anyone experiencing vocal problems. Through observing this work and my own experiences of my own voice problems I began to realise how much our mental health can impact on so many aspects of our life. And it was only when my own anxiety started impacting on my singing that I started to truly realise the effect mental health can have on our bodies and not only our minds.
More importantly the realisation that singing is in fact a whole body exercise has allowed me to find more holistic ways of improving my voice. It has led to me exploring yoga, mindfulness and meditation and I have found that having a relaxed mind, and body leads to a tension free voice, which is always a positive when it comes to singing. But not only that, it’s something all of us would benefit with.
As a result of the insights and knowledge I have gained I continue to teach Indian vocal music, in my sessions I focus on stilling the mind, efficient breathing through exercises, good posture and general body warm ups. The emphasis on vocal health is based on my experience and understanding of what can go wrong with the voice if it’s not treated with care and respect. This is all on top of the basics of Indian music which I teach.
The Anatomy of singing report