Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method.

Friday, July 20, 2012

When Voices Aren't Heard

Voices need to be heard. When they aren't, not only is the individual somehow compromised, the world is, also.

I woke this morning to the horrible breaking news of another mass shooting of innocent, random victims, this time in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Because one of my precious sisters lives in Colorado, it particularly hit me personally. Watching the news unfold, I began to wonder if they will find that, as usual, the shooter is doing this to be 'heard'.

Not being heard does not, thank God, usually end up in this kind of psychopathic, inhuman, murderous behavior. However, harm does come however subtly the form. For instance:

The voice:
  • The unheard voice feels invalid, less than, not important, insecure.
  • The unheard voice is therefore characteristically small, thin, unsupported, weak. After a while, it becomes an unexpressed voice with a spirit that is easily marginalized and abused. Eating disorders and partner abuse are but two of the many common issues that victimize unexpressed voices.
  • Or the unheard voice lashes out with the opposite... boisterous, yell-y, with inappropriately loud, harsh, punishing tone. The voice easily becomes physically strained. Get two unheard voices together and you have a co-dependent situation from hell.
  • The unheard or unexpressed voice can become chronically depressed, angry, vengeful. It can develop other mild to severe psychological conditions, insanity, hate and attraction to outright evil.
The world:
  • The world around that voice misses the unique and important messages that voice is too unsure to deliver. Because every voice really IS important, the missed messages of even one voice causes problems or withholds solutions.
  • The world misses out on the beauty of the voice unheard. How many stunning singer/songbirds have decided not to sing or write because no one is (or is perceived to be) listening?
  • The world can be at the receiving end of the voice that acts out of its perception that the world is deaf to it. This can be as mild as having to listen to the unpleasant sound of the harsh voice, or as severe as the violent situation in Colorado.
What can we as a community do? Two things come to mind:
  1. We need to know we can't control another person's perception. Survivors guilt is counterproductive and unwarrented. If someone has a false perception of not being heard, all the listening ears in the world can sometimes not convince them otherwise. This kind of voice truly need to be heard and worked with by an intuitive and gifted psychological therapist... both for the person's sake and for the world's.
  2. We need to remember to use our ears as well as our voices.. in fact giving equal time!
We need to develop a culture of listening to each other. All I hear on the news and in the music business is voices trying to get their sound/viewpoint/music career heard. We need to actively listen... that's when we allow for the possibility of what we hear to change us, give us new information with which to form judgements, give us another side of truth. Information from another voice doesn't mean that we WILL change our minds, in fact it may confirm what we believe, but if we are not even willing to listen, our guarded hearts and minds become hard, unbending, and yes...unloving.

Questions to myself (you can use them if you wish):
When is the last time I actively listened to:
  • a political viewpoint different from my own
  • a medical or alternative medical thought which derails what I've come to believe
  • another vocal coach teaching something I don't
  • a spiritual path I don't take
  • a foreigner of any kind
  • a different genre of music than my usual preference
  • a new book (these are 'voices', too)
  • a new or old singer different from myself
May God, as well as human community, comfort the victims of the Colorado tragedy. Something's got to change in this adversarial, deaf, guarded society. As voices, let us all remember... we also have ears.

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