Spheres of Influence on World Voice Day

color-wheel-subtractiveIn celebration of World Voice Day, I would like to offer some thoughts on what “voice” can mean – in our selves, in our interactions, and in our worlds.

Our Selves

Those of us who want to learn to sing and speak with ease and power must discern when we are moving toward greater vocal freedom and when we are not. If you take up training with a voice teacher, you must ask yourself, “Is my voice working better?” This is not the same as “Do I sound pretty?”, “Am I as fierce on-stage as so-and-so?”, or “Does my voice have the heft, loft, and resonance that the panel wants to hear?”. It is YOUR voice and YOUR life. Any attempts to turn it into someone else’s voice are harmful. You are the only you the world has ever known, and your voice is part of that.

Seek training with a teacher who cultivates the voice, with its potential, that you have, not someone who will try to impose something on you. Seek training to be the best user of what you were given in this life, and not in order to assimilate to some corporate sound that the machines running the outlets for opera, punk, jazz, R&B, death metal, rap, and musical theatre say you must have. If you love the vocal vocabulary of a certain style, go into it knowing that the unique you that you are can give it a slightly new flavor, and learn how to make your voice more and more able to speak that vocabulary, but always with your own body-mind’s sound.

Our Interactions

Be real. Say what you mean. Speak honestly, clearly, and kindly. Of all of these, honesty is the most important. Sometimes we receive truth bluntly, sometimes gently, but in the long view, we are eventually glad to have learned truth. If you want truth, give truth.

This applies to musicians, authors, mothers, and brothers. Be real. You, with honesty, can have impact in people’s lives in ways that you cannot always see. Old and young people are known to have less of a filter on what they say. Why? What happens to us in that big middle area, that might not be so big if we die tomorrow? What are we waiting for? Which games are worth playing? When will it be comfortable to say “I love you” or “I don’t agree with what’s happening” or “You made my day with your smile”? Speak.

Our World and Beyond

Never underestimate the power of a person speaking truth, or singing truth, or rapping truth, or being truthful. Honest expression in all things can heal so many things. Silence is golden, and so is true expression. There is a time to be silent, and a time to speak.

Every singer, every speaker, every poet, every hearing and nonhearing person who expresses – is noticed by something somewhere. It is a huge and beautiful power to have a voice, whatever form it may take.

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