Mr. Song’s House, Cedar Falls, Iowa

At Mr. Song’s house, I sing more freely. I look at him at the piano, and try not to look at myself in the mirror. Mr. Song reminds me of how my grandfather used to sing. His technique is similar, and so simple. It is all about getting back to your body’s innate knowledge of sound. A child knows how to sing and shout. I have learned not to.

The technical aspects of singing still dog me: I tip my head up unknowingly for the high notes, when I should just stand behind them; sometimes I don’t drop my mouth open far enough but seem to work the sound with my jaws. “Just relax,” says Mr. Song. He points his finger to my forehead. “You sing with your mind.” It is, after all, about feeling. “It’s not like pushing a button.”

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