What comes to mind when you think of the word “voice?” Do you immediately think about the voice of someone you love? Someone you fear? Or do you associate the voice with singing, causing you to begin thinking about the sound of your favorite singer?
You may instead think about your own voice. If so, what thoughts come up when you think about your voice? Are you feeling a pit in your stomach at the mere thought of thinking about your voice?
All sorts of judgements can come up when we think about our voices. We may judge the way our voices sound when we speak or sing. I frequently encounter people who have long held the belief that they were “tone deaf” or unable to “carry a tune.” I can’t begin to tell you how many times people have told me stories from their childhood where they felt shamed by their school music teacher who told them in front of the class to “just mouth the words.” (Note for the music teachers out there: Such stories have often come from older adults who were in school during the 1950s-1960s).
Still others may judge their voices from the perspective that what they have to say has no value. This can be especially common for those who have experienced abusive situations where they were told “not to tell anyone,” or were given other messages that were devaluing to who they are.
The Depth of Our Voices
As you may be able to guess, our voices can communicate a lot. From simply being a way to relay our thoughts and feelings, our voices can also express our values and beliefs. These can be in regard to ourselves, as well as in regard to others.
There is the actual content of WHAT we say, along with HOW we say it. With that, what we say with our voices can be both conscious and subconscious.
What We Communicate
The “what” of what we communicate is that which we’re saying. This can be understood as the words we’re using, or the ideas we’re expressing. However, what we communicate may be conscious or subconscious. For example, the conscious part of what we’re saying are the actual words. However, if our words aren’t congruent with our body language, tone of voice, or other non-verbal communicators, then we may actually be communicating something completely different than what we are aware of.
Exercise: Stand in front of the mirror and say something positive about someone, something, or some situation that you really don’t like. What do you notice in terms of your posture, tone of voice, or facial expressions?
How We Communicate
The above exercise touches upon how we communicate. As you can guess, this may also be conscious or subconscious. There are several components to how we communicate. They include non-verbal forms of communication, such as our body language and facial expressions, as well as tone of voice.
Sound Production & Vocal Health
On a fundamental level, how we communicate is influenced by how we use our voices to actually make sound. For example, you may have heard about the vocal phenomenon called vocal fry. It has been frequently reported on, including from the perspective of gender and empowerment.
However, vocal fry can also be damaging to your voice because of the way this form of speaking causes the vocal folds to move.
By understanding how we make sound, we can begin thinking about how we’re saying things. If you work in a profession that requires a lot of speaking, you may notice that your voice becomes tired or raspy by the end of the day. What would it be like if you knew how to use your voice in a healthy, optimal way?
Thinking About What We’re Saying
When we think about what we’re saying, we’re taking into account our thoughts. What is it that we want to say? What do we really think about what we’re saying? Do our thoughts make sense? Will they make sense to others? What would it be like if you could easily express your thoughts?
Getting to the Heart of What We’re Saying
Likewise, how do we really feel about what we’re saying? Are our feelings really aligned with our thoughts and what we’re saying? What would it be like if your thoughts and feelings were aligned as you spoke?
[Webinar] Re-Sounding Your Self: An Intensive Voicework Group
If after reading this, you feel like you’re ready to change your relationship to yourself and your voice, you may be interested in the “Re-Sounding Your Self: An Intensive Voicework Group” I offer through The Spirituality Center at Learn It Live. In this 4-session course I cover the fundamentals of sound production, vocal health, and articulation. The interplay of our thoughts and emotions are also addressed within the context of singing, but can be carried over into speaking, as well.
The format of the course is structured as hour long voice lessons, where vocal concepts are introduced that build upon the concepts covered in previous sessions. Educational information is provided, which is then followed by vocal exercises that support and reinforce the topic of the session.
Participants are encouraged to sing and have fun with their voices, for it is through playful practice that mastery can be achieved!
If you are ready to befriend your voice, and ultimately yourself, you can register for the course by clicking on the course image or by clicking here.