How Imagination Creates the Speaking and Singing Voice
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Remember making up stories, finger-painting abstract art, playing with your imaginary friends? If you don’t, ask a family member who knew you well as a child. I bet they can remind you. Human beings all develop, to some degree, the ability to imagine. Creative imagination fuels intention and expectation. Did you know your voice largely runs on this? Let’s talk about some ways your imagination directs your voice. It starts with your focused intention.
Premeditate a conversation
A bit like a well-executed crime, a conversation goes better when you brainstorm before you act. Even if it’s an almost unconscious split-second flash in a casual conversation, thinking before you speak helps you…
- Fully enter the scene
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel dissed when listening to someone who talks or sings while distracted. When you aren’t fully present, your voice will communicate that fact. Or will not communicate at all. Make use of your senses to read the room, and chose your one-heart focus. Who are you talking to? What do you want that heart to understand?
- Fully claim the reaction you want
Unlike most other moral situations, the Machiavelli principle… the ends justify the means… works here. If you were successful at making your listener respond a certain way, what would their reaction to your voice be? What would that look like in their body/facial language? That is your end goal… now do what it takes to get that reaction!
Choose your sound
Guided by your premeditated intention, you can imagine how you want your voice to sound. Note: don’t worry, in practicality, these intention choices can be quite short… split-second. It's just important to know they should take place!
- Choose the type of sentence you want to use (question, exclamation, statement).
- Intend the length of your line. This tells your automatic nervous system how much breath to take and use. (Good vocal training makes this a lot more efficient!)
- Choose the tone color, volume, inflection and clarity of articulation you’ll use to deliver your words. (Again, with good training the pool of possibilities to choose from will be a lot bigger)
- Intend the pitch you want to use. For speakers, this means the area of your vocal range you center your voice in, and the shape of the curves of your speaking melody line. For singers, of course, it will mean the exact pitch of your intended notes. If you fully intend to hit those notes, you’ll actually aim and be much more likely to hit them!
Imagine you are someone else
OK, sometimes we actually want to match someone else's voice. A terrific way to do this is to mime while deeply listening. That way your imagination starts directing your vocal apparatus, breath, rhythm and articulation to match what you're hearing... BEFORE you even try it! You learn the intricacies of the other voice much quicker by imagining before sounding your voice.
Here are some very valid reasons for mimicking another voice:
- You want to learn a new style.
- You want to learn a new language.
- You want to do a 'sound-alike'... sounding just like another lead singer for fun at a Karaoke event, or for commercial purposes when the jingle client wants a specific kind of voice.
- You want to sing tight harmony with another lead singer as their background singer for stage or studio. This may entail really changing your vocal tone and inflections to match another's perfectly.
- You want to mimic your vocal coach to learn a new technique. (A good coach will be very careful to help you find your own voice for your own reasons in the technique being learned.)
- You want to mimic your dialect coach to change your accent.
Human vocal sounds… speaking and singing… are amazingly intricate in variety. Like all creatures’ voices, the human voice exists for a reason. Even when we talk to ourselves, we’re telling ourselves something. If you’ve been feeling invisible, and you want to express your voice and its messages more successfully, try being more present in the moment, more intentional with your messages and more creative using your imagination!
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What about you? How do you use your imagination for your voice?
Labels: all things vocal, how to learn vocal technique, imagination, Judy Rodman, using your imagination to sing, vocal lesson