The Voice As A Metaphor for the Self

I have given this talk twice, both times as a keynote speaker at two conferences. Basically, its essence is that there are certain people, famous ones, that are not only known for their skill of speech or song, but whose voices came to represent a time, a place, or a moment for a society. Whenever we hear those voices they bring the entire experience to mind.

Each individual has a signature quality to his or her voice that is unique in the world, just like your fingerprint. We can imitate another, sometimes quite accurately, but we can never sound exactly the same as someone else and that is used in forensics as a tool. The “voiceprint” can be identified by scientists who know how to read the resonance frequencies on a visual printout. Think about that.

If the body holds trauma (and there are several credible theories  that believe this to be the case), and if the body is a hologram (everything effects and is connected to everything else throughout the body), then we must recognize that events, particularly powerful negative events, will leave their residue in the body unless they can be faced, acknowledged and dealt with in some conscious manner. Crying, screaming, moaning, shouting, shrieking, yelling are all ways to release sadness, fear, anger, and all manner of distress. We can also release happiness that way and surprise, and certainly sound is involved in giving birth, women, isn’t that so? The spontaneous release of sound in that act, birth, and in the baby’s first breath which can sometimes be a cry, is a mirror reflection to the last out breath at the end of life. Sound carries us in and out. It is with us all the time throughout our life if we do not suppress it.

Learning to sing is learning to see what your throat wants to do if…… what does it do if I go up high or down low, what does it do if I get loud or soft, what does it do if I slow down or speed up, what does it do if I sustain just one pitch? Experimentation is a key ingredient in singing training but when students are only allowed to experiment with one kind of sound, what kind of an experiment is that? Isn’t the point of education (educare: to illuminate or bring forth) to help someone discover something new? Isn’t the point to cause them to trip over something they have never done before so they can be surprised by their own experience? Hopefully in a pleasant manner.

If I make all the sound I want, all that I can manage, do you have less sound to make? Will I take some air away from you by filling my lungs to the brim with every breath? Is there a limit to how many sounds I am allowed to have in my life? If I were to reach it, would I suddenly go silent? Is there a person to tell me (if I live in a free society and am also free) what kinds of sounds I must make or can choose? Are the sounds you make better sounds than the ones I make? If so, who decides that? Is my throat less good than someone else’s?

The most powerful form of communication human beings have is a clear intention to communicate something specific with emotional commitment to the truth (in that moment as you see it). When you give your word, if you value your word (or your own integrity) you will keep it, or explain why you cannot keep it, because if you do not follow through either way, you will weaken yourself. If only people understood that, how different the world would be!

Your throat chakra is a reflection of all this. Your voice is also. It represents your energy in the world. It is a metaphor for your entire being. Powerful, huh?

Do you still want to study with a singing teacher who has captured all the “right sounds”? Really?

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