What is vocal balance? How do you know if your voice is balanced or if anyone’s voice is balanced? What does it mean?
Vocal balance happens when many factors co-exist. To me, vocal balance occurs when my breathing, my emotions and my voice all seem to operate as “friends”, with no one part struggling, feeling too weak, or doing too much. Balance allows me to express deep emotions without effort, to feel the lyrics deeply without being stuck in my mind, to move through various volumes by just changing pressure in my belly muscles, and to ride on the style of whatever kind of music I’m singing as if it were my “home”.
It takes a lot of work to get to a place where it feels like there isn’t any. Knowing that this is possible is what drives people to want to get back there. Hoping that such a state exists and acting as if one could find it takes a great deal of trust.
This is why so many people who teach do not teach well. It is because they have never sung like this and they do NOT believe such a state is possible. They may have gotten used to a sound that becomes comfortable and can sing there well enough, but if it is not breath-filled (not breathy) it will also not be emotionally full, and it will not reach others unless they can appreciate what is being sung from an intellectual place.
This state of balance exists in all great art. In dance, in instrumental music, in acting and in all the fine arts. It exists in sports, too, but perhaps in a different way. The state of balance does not describe well in words, as it is an experience which takes place moment to moment. If someone has not had such an experience, no words will describe it well enough, and if someone has had such an experience, words are not necessary. Quite a bind.
I have had a few very transcendent moments in my life as a singer when the song, the lyrics, the sound of my own voice, my body and my mind seem to be operating on their own and every single aspect of the process of singing was vivid, clear, precise, delicate and powerful, spontaneous and controlled, emotional and calm all at the same time. My own definition of these few experiences would be to say that I had “found the place in the universe where music comes from” and lived there for a few minutes. Such experiences light your soul, expanding your understanding and vision and lift you beyond the day to day mundane that we all meet. They are so powerful as to cast a beam of light for years afterwards, and that allows you to carry on, seeking that special moment when it might suddenly, on its own, reappear.
If you sing and you have never had such an experience, you may take me at my word when I say that this is possible for anyone who truly seeks singing at the highest level and works hard on every aspect of it with a sense of purpose and respect for the entire process, including yourself. If you can find a teacher who has had an experience like that, you will find that the instruction is something more than just directive suggestions. And, you will also find that the closer you come to such experiences, the more you will automatically understand the depth of painters, sculptors, dancers, actors and musicians who have been inspired and have created work that goes beyond time and personality. You will see and hear the greatness of those who have found balance in their art and their work, and you will find that this pushes you to be generous, courageous and patient.