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. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Finding Your Voice - how it can help psychologically

The human voice communicates from the inside out. As a vocal coach, I have discovered that when I help someone "find their voice"- the full instrument - this is often accompanied by a fullness and wholeness in the human psyche.

Many times it is psychological blocks that keep the voice small, thin, strained and weak. When a person discovers and feels the vibrations of vocal resonance they never knew or had forgotten they could create, it can be quite freeing for the spirit. The speaking voice can illuminate issues just as much as the singing voice, and healing the speaking voice is frequently a prerequisite to healing the singing voice.

Everyone needs to know their voices are valid. I have become quite sure that to live a truly satisfied life we need to believe our lives have meaning to others. If I somehow come to believe my voice is not 1. allowed 2. heard, 3. valued - I will not sound my voice, or will sound it weakly, thinly or harshly in rebellion of the suppression. After all, what's the point in making pleasing, melodic sounds if there is no reception for the message? My voice gets lost.

The truth is, everyone's voice IS valid! This truth can get muddied in childhood by parents who for one reason or other never really listen, siblings who get more of the attention or when the child even merely PERCEIVES that this is the case. It get lost in adulthood from subtle negative cues from society, abusive relationships, traumatic events and physical illness, mental illness, acquired phobias and emotional disorders or perceptions of unworthiness. But the truth about a voice's validity CAN indeed be learned or re-learned.

This voice I'm talking about starts in the heart. It carries messages that the person must come to believe need to be delivered. This can happen when even one person notices... and begins to be present and truly listen to the person. That means everyone can help!
  • I challenge you to try a little experiment... find one person a day - family member, friend or stranger - carve out a time (even just a few moments) and give them your ear at full attention. Notice the subtle lift they, and you, experience. You may find yourself truly caring about what they say and learning something new. Every ear is also valid, and important. Without ears, voices are rather useless :)
Sometimes the voice needs professional attention. Talk therapy with a great therapist can obviously help, as can free programs like AA and Alanon. Vocal lessons with a vocal coach sensitive to what your vocal tone is communicating can help you discover a voice you never knew you had.

Learning to breathe properly to power your voice, to open your throat channel to clear any tension and to get you focused on communicating messages can help your voice trust itself. It is important to find a teacher that you feel comfortable with. A lost voice will not show itself under intimidating circumstances. It is also, you must realize, a TEAM effort. You must be willing to experiment and learn to play around with things you've never tried. This can lead to a freedom that can make you sing like a bird, and talk where people can't help but listen!



  • At October 17, 2008 at 12:15 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Best post ever!!!!!!!!!!!! (and you know why I say that, fairy godmother...)

  • At October 17, 2008 at 9:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    By the end of the 2nd paragraph, my eyes were watering up.

    I'm so busy, so rushed, so tired... I sometimes only sleep 4 hours per night... then, I try to do some recording, and the "magic" just isn't there.

    The rare times that, maybe if I'm all alone, and can just sing with no deadlines to meet, no chores... that is when I sound my best, and realize that under all the muddle, I really have one gift that I can count on.

    I'll share one more thing... and, this helps to enjoy your own singing on a more psychological level.

    2 or 3 years ago, I became an "effects addict".

    Like, when I'd start recording, I'd want the limiter brick-walling my voice... reverb on.

    Well, one day recently, which at first, I was actually upset about... the effects system on my computer was messed up.

    So, I start trying to record... no reverb, no compression, etc. , for the first time in years.

    I had forgotten how much I missed just that "real" sound! It made things flow a lot more smoothly than they had been.

    Now, of course, I still add the effects on playback... but, lately, the only effect I use for live recording is a noise gate (my 2 dogs sneeze and sniff a lot LoL)

    But, my point is, you can also lose sight of the importance of your own voice in the midst of all of these electronics. Because of the compressor, I had forgotten how to control my own dynamics, which I'm slowly re-learning.

    Sorry for rambling away, I just have a lot to say on this subject.

    Singing is a very spiritual relationship with your self

    And, how closely can you connect with it, if there are too many things getting between you and your voice?

    What you said about emotional disorders is what really made me teary-eyed... I don't know how many times I've been trying to sing, and instead of focusing on the song or how much joy it may bring someone once the recording is made... my mind will be distracted with worry, fears... and, I end up with a headache. It's always the same thought, of, 'Where am I??'

    This post has given me a new direction to think of, next time i'm recording... that it means something to someone else's life, and that should be my focus in that moment.

    Okay, thru blabbing. LoL


  • At October 17, 2008 at 9:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I also meant to say... if only more people in the world had the compassion that you have for others, it could change so many things.

    People like you make people with blockages and limitations want to rise above their own difficulties.

    You're just the best, truly.


  • At October 17, 2008 at 10:12 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Dear Bethany of the awesome blooming voice and Walter of the newly natural vocal satisfaction... I wish I hadn't put my makeup on before I read your comments :)

    You prove my point... if my own voice can be valuable in your life, my voice is validated, too. Walter, you're right... the voice comes from the spirit. When a community of voices gets together, it's been called the music of the spheres, and I'm quite sure it pleases God who created our voices for such purpose.

    OK... vocal lesson to give now... love, Judy

  • At October 17, 2008 at 2:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Loved this commentary.....Gee, I believe our walks in the woods allow us to practice our 'authentic' voices--full of confidence, power, realness, and strength--no thin whines or squeaks or shrills--those sounds are for scared squirrels and running rabbits. Meanwhile, the deer smile and say nothing.

  • At October 17, 2008 at 2:41 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Barbara, absolutely...since you and I and Jennifer started our morning walks a few years ago, we have "voiced" so many things freely. A circle of trusted friends is one of the very best places for voices to come out, heal and find validity along with accountability. I look forward to all our walks to come. And those deer...they know things!!

  • At October 19, 2008 at 11:27 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I've never given much thought on the power voices can help psychologically. However, looks like I've learned to get used to the confident voice that I started having after much practice and talking to different groups of people in the mid of this year.

    Come to think of it, it sure helped many of those who I have got the privilege to talk to, either through assurance or from encouragement.

    I liked this post. Thanks for writing it out. :)

  • At October 20, 2008 at 8:25 PM , Blogger Unknown said...


    Yes, it is so great that when we find our voices we can help OTHERS as well... for instance, the voice of your last blog post ("11 Traits You Need...") is terrific. I highly recommend it to my readers: http://thedanielrichard.com/2008/10/11-traits-you-need-to-getting-things-done-with-a-bigger-smile/#comment-88

  • At October 29, 2008 at 5:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    What a wonderful post for even those of us who don't sing and use our voice in that manner. A real lesson to be learned here! I lost my ear in the beginning of the year, and was so wrapped up in my world, due to a bad work environment, and when I got them both unclogged from the build of of work-wax, I was astounded in the change not only in me, but those around me, when I truly listened to them.

  • At November 3, 2008 at 12:11 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Susie, thank you! and I'm so glad you got your hearing back. It's amazing what can affect the voice - AND the ears! It sure is easier to connect with others when it's all working.


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