"Pick a favorite song that you know well and are comfortable with. It can be anything from the national anthem to a song by your favorite musical group. Stand up. In a moment, you're going to sing this song. But really sing it — belt it out! Give yourself fully to the singing and the song. Take a couple of deep breaths, and begin . . . 

"Now stop and reflect. How was that for you? However it was, we're going to take it one step further — that was only the rehearsal.

"Take a moment to imagine the best performance you have ever heard of this song. Hear it in your imagination . . . with all its power and feeling.

"You are going to sing your song once again, but this time imagine that your rendition wil be at least as beautiful as the version in your memory. And this time, the song will be a performance. You are singing for an imaginary audience, an audience who loves the song, and who loves your voice. Their hearts and passions rise and fall with your every note. So this time, hold nothing back. Give it your all. Sing it again, and let it be the performance of a lifetime!

"You may be wondering what does belting out a rock song, Broadway show tune, or aria have to do with chant? Many years ago, each Wednesday night I would drive from Massachusetts in a van full of friends to hear a spiritual teacher named Hilda Charlton speak at the cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan. One night, she told us something that I have never forgotten. In her old, squeaky voice and somewhat daffy manner, she said, 'You know, kids [she always called us kids], God doesn't want your puny little egos. God likes big, healthy ones. So give it what you got!'

"Chant is passionate. Even when it gets soft and refined, chants want our fullness, our power, our heart, our guts. Singing a song we love, with joy and gusto, is perfect preparation for 'giving what we got' through chant.

"You don't need a lot of vocal technique to chant. Chanting is said to be 'the breath made audible,' and learning to breathe well is the first step in learning to chant."

Kathleen Brehony, Robert Gass in Chanting: Discovering Spirit in Sound