For the second time in as many months, I’ve hosted a small singing circle of women who know each other through karaoke. One of them was a voice student of mine, though only for a little while, because after a few lessons, she didn’t feel like she had the motivation to be committed for the long haul with daily practice. She wanted another kind of experience – she still wanted to learn voice, but on a more spread-out schedule that was less intensive. I tried to think of ways to accommodate her, because she said she really wanted to learn more from me.
And then it hit me…VoiceLab.
I could revive the little periodic singing circle that I used to have. I pitched it to her, and she lit up. She quickly went to tell a couple of her friends, and what ended up happening was I had three women in my house once again, doing some easy vocal exercises and singing some great songs to help them get in touch with their voices – and each other. It ended up being another form of girls’ night out.
And it dawned on me – I could do more of these. What other circle of friends want to get together to just learn basic singing skills, whether they love karaoke or choir, solo singing or whatever else – and do it in a setting that allows for connection between people… I don’t know why it took me so long to re-envision VoiceLab in this way.
It’s not just about voice training. It’s about being together.
See, group singing is one of the oldest – perhaps THE oldest – form of music making in all of human civilization. What if we were to embrace this again, but give it a new context: away from church, school and other formal settings where there is pressure to perform? What if we were to revive the songs-around-a-campfire tradition and make it accessible to people everywhere? Did you ever just get together with others to sing, with no other agenda or expectation? It’s crazy to me how we’ve lost this.
And so that’s what I’m hoping to bring in this revived VoiceLab. I’m thinking I don’t even want to call it VoiceLab anymore because it sounds a little too sterile. It’s a Singing Circle, really.
I also think it’s a lot like those painting party shops that keep cropping up in suburban areas – places where groups of friends (mostly women) get together to learn to paint while drinking wine. At first, the concept sounded bizarre to me – why would anyone pay to do this? But then TWO such shops opened up within a mile of each other right outside Detroit, and I had to conclude: OK…this must be the new hotness.
Could other art forms follow a business model like that? Like music?
Could SoundSorceress Studio be a center for singing circles?
So far, I have three enthusiastic women who are embracing the idea, even to the point of offering themselves up to sing Christmas carols at a church next month.
It’s a seed for the coming year, for sure. Be on the lookout on Meetup, those of you in the Detroit area who are sparked by the idea like I am.