How To Find Your Unique Voice
Firstly, welcome to my website and to my first blog post. I hope you find this to be a comfortable place for sharing information and experiences about voice and public speaking.
Just so you know, I’m very passionate about voice. I started out singing, then landed a career in broadcasting. I used to think I knew a lot about voice and performing from doing it almost every day, but I was very humbled when later in life I started graduate studies in voice teaching at York University. The first thing that struck me was how much I didn’t know. Since then I’ve made it a daily habit to keep practicing and learning about voice.
We can learn a lot about voice by observing people.
I learn by observing my clients, how people interact in the world around me, how people present themselves on television or in person, and by observing myself and how my breathing and voice respond to all sorts of situations.
I’d also like to share a little with you about how the voice works. Once I understood this, my voice started to open up. My natural voice. It was a fantastic experience. One I wish for you as well.
Think of your voice as your personal instrument.
Voice involves the entire body. When we speak, whatever is going on inside the body and mind is reflected in the voice. It’s psycho-physical. For example if your jaw is locked or you’re clenching your shoulders, the channel for the voice is cut off and the voice is weakened. When we remove tensions and allow ourselves to be fully present in the here and now, the voice will start to follow. It will open up.
A great voice also depends on breathing. Try speaking without taking a breath first and you’ll find out what I mean. If we allow the breath to drop deep down into the body, it will activate the primary respiratory muscles required to draw the air in and then carry the voice up and out. Also, it will release more oxygen into your blood and brain and give you more energy.
Of course it takes time to learn to remove blocks in the way of the voice and to open up our breathing. We have to let go of habits that don’t serve the voice and and then reprogram our body and mind to work more efficiently. If you’re willing to try, you’ll start to discover what your natural voice really sounds like. You’ll learn a lot about yourself. You’ll gain confidence and joy in speaking.
Here are a few things you can do if you want to start opening up the voice:
- Lie down. Close your eyes and do a physical scan of your body starting at your toes. Work your way up to the top of your skull. While you’re scanning, observe where you feel any tension. Allow the tension to release.
- Have a sigh of relief. It connects sound with emotion. It also helps remove tension.
- Congratulate yourself for starting.