Ready. Don’t aim. Fire. That’s the title of today’s blog. It might be the most widely read of my newsletters thus far. We’re moving into the bedroom. But wait, first some action in the infield.
Dwight Gooden, the ace pitcher for the New York Mets, had won several successive opening games for his team until at last, he didn’t. What happened everybody wanted to know. Gooden, in answering, uttered the classic pitcher’s lament: I was aiming the ball. What? Isn’t that dong just what we might expect of a pitcher dealing heat. No. To aim, to endgain as F. M. Alexander called it, means to lose control, in the concert hall, on the baseball diamond, in the bedroom, and on the sales floor.
Singers in the concert hall and in the practice room must avoid aiming their voices, guiding them, and attempting to control pitch. I think the attempt to guide the voice is the source of every vocal failing. Every one? Yes. Just like Gooden, aiming is the surest path to failure. An aimed voice, a guided voice— moving pitches from one “place” to another—accrues the same characteristics of the aimed ball: dullness, lack of movement, unsteadiness. What is needed then is the same thing as in pitching: commitment to movement, an abandonment to the rise and fall and curve of the phrase, or the baseball. Let your voice be moved rather than moving it, and in speech as well.
Where else to you see endgaining? The bedroom. To pursue orgasm for orgasm’s sake is not lovemaking. It is something else entirely. Lovemaking is the means whereby human beings create an environment of togethering, mutual pleasure, and the loss of the self in the pairing. Love making, as you may know better than I, is an art. The pursuit of orgasm, of an end, is something else entirely, that ungentlemanly gerund spoken on the street and in the school yard.
Where else to you see the result of end gaining?. On the sales floor, where to move too soon for the close is to send the customer packing. And how do *you* experience and deal with endgaining? Let me know here on the blog. Join the conversation. No gerunds please.
The sense of destination is integral to liveliness of tone. At the same time one must accept the journey as essential rather than reaching the destination as essential to achieving openness and vitality in tone; not “nailing” a pitch or pushing a sound to the back wall. All being open to process.
Really helpful, Jan. Thank you. Your comment went to my junk mail as has several of Susan’s. You’re in good company.