HOW THE MOVIE AVATAR CAN TEACH YOU EMPOWERED SINGING
At a first glimpse, Avatar was a movie packed with suspense, action, drama and hope. Even if you weren’t fortunate enough to see it in 3-D, the incredible animation and revolutionary special affects, coupled with an interesting enough story line to hold your attention for a good 2 hours and 40 minutes is quite undeniable.
As I’ve spoken to people about the movie, it’s been interesting to hear what they experienced from it, depending on their view of the world and what is most important to them. I’ve had people mention to me that they loved the meaning, while others actually thought the storyline and acting was weak, but it was visually appealing. Some people mentioned the idea of “a White guilt trip movie” while others likened it to sports and self-discipline - and the list goes on.
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie Avatar. As a Vocal Empowerment Coach who sees the world through the eyes of one who teaches people how empower their voice, I have my own take. The movie Avatar not only had it’s obvious themes of how we can create a better earth and be more united as a people – but also – for me there was a huge parallel with what I see my students achieve during their vocal journey. Would you agree that our main character, Jake Sulley became empowered? Yes, for me, Avatar was a movie that gave great clues about how a human soul can become an Empowered one. Of course they could have elaborated more on his inner process of transformation, but the basics were there, and I believe that the reason why this movie has been so successful, aside from being a masterful visual work of art, is that just about anyone can relate to it on some level. Even the conflict in the movie of the whole Corporate struggle was imbedded in the themes, causing us to ask, “Are we really employed at a job that is in alignment with who we are?”
When the main character, Jake Sulley first arrives on the area of Pandora inhabited by the Indigenous People, he was in defense mode, in perfect form and alertness, ready with his weapons to blast anything that might get him. We share in his heightened sense of curiosity, suspense and fear. Even the unarmed female scientist, Grace Augustine who was familiar with the location exclaimed, “Calm down Jake, you’re making me nervous,” upon the first few moments of their arrival in the jungle. This is the perfect example of how a nervous singer can send off negative vibes to those around him, just because he’s not comfortable in his own skin. I also noticed the second time I saw this movie, that Jake was the only one who was armed, and of course, he drew to himself, the most amount of “drama” through his fear. When many people first attempt to “perfect” the singing process, they are in defense mode, acting as if their body is their enemy, something that needs to be conquered, figured out, or whipped into shape. This creates much hostility and lack of confidence in the mind and energy field of the singer.
Beneath the obvious war and battle themes, there were many layers in the film, which introduced the concept of connecting to new levels of awareness. Below, I have identified three Self- Empowering themes:
1. Awareness: Acceptance of Self
2. Awareness: Respect of the Planet
3. Awareness: Connectedness to All
These teachings relate to the first step of C.O.R.E. Vocal Power™ , which I tell my students has many layers. It is the word “CONNECT.” (C.O.R.E Vocal Power™ CD Tracks 1-11 ).
Through discovering these themes, there were 3 important empowering steps that Jake took, that lead to a connected empowered voice.
Jake was taught to:
Listen – (Gain knowledge)
“Connect to heart and breathe” (Gain Trust)
Unite (Gain Love)
These are three great themes to integrate as a singer or speaker:
When you accept yourself, you have more confidence.
When you respect the planet you become more grounded and have more presence and command in your element.
When you recognize your connectedness to all, there is more ease in setting your voice free.
Despite Jake’s clumsy disconnected ways, his potential was spotted by Neytiri a Native who initially would have killed him. Then she saw his powerful, heart. Even though Jake was in an incredible Avatar body, his mind still had to become AWARE of its potential and move it forward, much like how singers need to become aware of their vocal potential and entire instrument. He had yet to learn how to listen, connect and become friends with his environment. Initially, Jake wanted to CONTROL and CONQUEUR. One of the first things Neytiri taught him was “Breathe and listen to your heart.” I was delighted when I realized
these important principles to empowerment are found in the first half
of my Practicing C.O.R.E. Vocal Power CD! (Tracks 1-18) .
by watching the trailer, it is evident that Jake narrated the entire
movie. He told ‘his-story’ through the power of his voice. I invite my
students to keep a C.O.R.E. Vocal Power® Journal, to process and digest
what they learn daily as they take their voice to new heights. Even if
they don’t like writing, they can even create a “verbal journal”
recording themselves speaking about their life. I even invite student
to record videos of themselves, as Jake did in the movie, just to get a
sense of how they express themselves and notice their growth. When we
process our lives, we gain more clarity and understanding of what we’re
experiencing which leads to more awareness. Awareness leads to
I don’t want to ruin the movie for those who
haven’t seen it, but for those who have, taking a look at how this Jake
character evolves is a very interesting parallel to becoming vocally
empowered. I love the emphasis on the HEART throughout this movie, and
the many symbols of CONNECTEDNESS. You’ll notice our new C.O.R.E.
Vocal Power® Logo is a treble clef connected to a
base clef and forming a heart. This simple logo holds symbolic meaning for anyone who is learning how to connect
to their empowered voice. The treble clef is upside down because it is
symbolic of representing a paradigm shift. Perhaps you were taught to
pick apart your voice, learn scale, stand up straight, focus on
breathing from your diaphragm. These are all outward, mechanical tools
that don’t require one to tap into their heart and trust in their
natural ability. The treble clef, which represents the FEMALE energy
and RIGHT side of the brain, is upside down, expressing a new way of
looking at things and turning people to their inward HEART first, instead of vocal mechanics.
The BASE CLEF, symbolic of MALE energy and also the LEFT side of the
brain is supportive and completes the fullness and balance of the heart.
as many of you know, C.O.R.E. Vocal Power® is more than just a singing
program. It’s an awareness program centered around connecting to and
developing your greatest attributes as a person, which will naturally
connect you to your confident, powerful voice.
Power® isn’t a quick fix, it’s a powerful, musical journey through the
heart, beginning from wherever you are in life. Just like in the movie
Avatar we see a young man actually tap into the gifts he had all along,
but with a new sense of awareness, and presence, ignited by his
powerful HEART. May we remember on our individual vocal journey to
empowerment, that our voice holds the key to our unique vibration. We
can sing with power, we can hit all the right notes, but a free,
connected voice with heart and soul is what changes and lifts the
vibration of the planet.
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Award winning Singer/Songwriter Empowerment Coach Dot Todman appeared as a Celebrity guest on TV Guide’s Idol Chat
and gave advice for American Idol (www.americanidol.com) contestants.