There are two different kinds of sounds. One is caused by physical actions such as the sound from a waterfall, footsteps, a bird singing. The second is known in ancient India as the ‘unstruck sound.’ This sound is self existent and universal. It is known as the sound of Aum, the Word of God, the humming of atoms. The whole universe is permeated through with this holy vibration.
Through the human voice, sound can be utilized to concentrate the mind, body and spirit to merge with the unstruck sound. This sound is our own pure nature. This is why chanting is considered so important in so many spiritual traditions.
I was born into a musical family. However, every individual has their own pace.
At the age of 5 or 6, I began to feel very strongly connected to music. I loved to play the tablas and tanpura at around this age. I learned to tune the tanpura by ear, sensing the melody of the four strings.
My formal education in music began in 6th grade and continued through my post-graduate work at Dehli University, where I earned my Master of Philosophy in Indian classical music.
After finishing my formal education, I became even more serious about practice, singing hours a day. At that time, despite my academic efforts, my voice range wasn’t good in the high range or low octaves. I could only reach 1/4 into the lower octave and 1/4 into the higher octave, giving me the total range of only 1.5 octaves.
To address my own shortcomings, I took traditional Indian vocal exercises and applied them in new ways. With dedicated practice of these techniques, my voice range eventually expanded to encompass 3.5 octaves. These are the same techniques that I share with my students, and I’ve seen them go through similar transformations.
Very gradually through my own journey, I opened up more and more to the unstruck sound. My own life journey’s inspired me to share these techniques with people from all walks of life, all backgrounds and ages. My desire is to serve all human beings. I’ve had the blessing to teach people from 4 1/2 years to 80 years in age. I feel so much spiritual pleasure in teaching and sharing these gifts with others.
All children sing in a carefree and joyous spirit. However, when we were young so many of us were told that we ‘couldn’t sing.’ Because of this, many of us stopped singing and some never sang again. Our wings were clipped at a very young age.
However, the voice is a wonderful tool for human beings. We need to cultivate this God-given gift. It is a major tool in the human body. Through the voice, we can talk to nature, we can talk to God even without words. There is no better instrument.
Traditionally, singing is thought of as something that we perform for others. However, the highest form of singing is when we sing for our Self. Connect with yourself. Once you can talk to yourself, you are talking directly to God. Singing is food for the Soul.
What will someone who comes to your workshop experience?
We will unlock each other in this workshop. There is no master, we are all students.
Use your voice, breathe deep and most importantly, enjoy. Let go of your stress. Forget about the beat and the lyrics. Just chant and praise. Laugh and cry. Express your emotions without any language. Open yourself!