That which is of lasting value cannot be measured in brief moments. Characteristics of the soul take time to develop.
Honesty, integrity, loyalty, perseverance, dedication, persistence, humility, compassion, generosity…..all these and more take time to emerge in life. Facing something once is very different than dealing with it every day for months, years, or decades. When we speak of someone’s character we are describing qualities that can be perceived through their behavior, their habits, attitudes, and their outlook on life. A quick first impression can sometimes be very misleading. The only way to really know someone is to be in close association with them over time.
This can be said about the voice, too. It takes a while for a voice to be cultivated to its fully developed capacity. Only after that happens can it be determined what its natural characteristics are. If it isn’t allowed to grow naturally, over time, exploring all possibilities in the process, it’s possible to decide too soon what kind of a voice it is and live with that limitation, wrongly, for the rest of life. Voices, like people, can change over time, sometimes quite a bit, but not if they are restricted to only certain kinds of sounds, and not if that restriction is put in place early in its development.
Discovering what someone’s singing voice wants to do is a fun-filled exploration. Singing through various kinds of repertoire, trying this and that, is like going someplace you’ve never been before, discovering new sights and sounds along the way, and deciding what you like best so you can go back there again and again. The lasting value of knowing what your voice wants to do, what it can be asked to do, and what it really does not want to do, cannot be measured, but is very important. Not knowing leaves you wondering, and not exploring leaves you clueless. Both situations are unfortunate.
I had enough knowledge of my voice that when some teachers told me that it was something it wasn’t, I was at least suspicious, if not certain that that advice was not for me. As it emerged, I found through trial and error what it could do and what it didn’t like. Any time I let myself forget and get wooed away I always paid a price and had to re-group to get back to balance.
The lasting value of knowing your voice for all that it is over time is that you are free then to use its full compass with freedom and to honor its natural boundaries with dignity. You can’t substitute something else for that wisdom.