Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How to Love Your Voice

When singer's are recommended to "love their voice" what does that mean exactly?  The first inclination might be to think it means to love the sound of one's voice.  But doesn't that bring to mind the mythological Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection in the water?  It seems like there must be a healthier version of loving one's voice than that.

What examples of loving something could serve as a model to love the voice?

One of the most wonderful examples of love, when it's done right, is the love of a mother for her children.  So, one way for a singer to love her voice is to love it the way a mother loves a child.

A mother feeds her child nutritious food to help keep her child's body growing and repairing itself healthy and strong.  She doesn't give her child junk to eat.

A singer can love her voice by caring about nutrition and eating in a way that helps the cells, tendons, muscles, etc... involved in singing to repair and maintain themselves healthily.

A mother observes when her child is getting tired, often evident because the child begins to behave differently, and takes that child for a "time out" so the child can become integrated and peaceful again.  She notices what situations and conditions are prerequisites for this dis-integration and plans and foresees potential problems.

A singer can do that with her voice too, paying close attention to different behaviors that signal it is time for a rest, and observing and learning what kinds of situations lead to the disintegration of the voice.

A mother ensures that her child get the needed amounts of sleep, even to the point of forcing the child to go to bed at a much earlier time than the child wants to.

A singer needs that kind of rest to function optimally, and sometimes singers, like athletes, might have to forego late night social events in order to get adequate rest for optimal functioning.

A mother researches and  finds the best schools, television programs, books she can afford in order to inform her child of the higher path of learning.  A mother sacrifices having luxury items and provides the lessons, teachers and materials she feels are better.

A singer strives to give her voice the best education possible to give her voice every advantage of learning. A singer makes financial sacrifices to in order to provide her voice with better instruction and materials.

A mother who loves her child listens to that child and tries to truly hear and understand what her child is telling her -- especially when the child is telling her, "something is wrong; I am not comfortable with this; I am being harmed by this situation" -- and believe and take the information into account when she decides things for that child.

So, also, a singer who loves her voice learns to listen to her voice when it says, "this just doesn't feel right to me."

A good mother disciplines a child.  She says "no" when it is right to do that.  She makes that child observe a schedule of some sort, and helps the child develop and practice routines and regular positive habits.  She catches little things and bad habits that could cause bigger problems later if not addressed early.

Yet a mother permits her child to make mistakes, knowing that it is okay to make mistakes and even necessary in order to learn.  She is patient with her child, knowing that perfection is too much to expect of one so young and inexperienced.  She recognizes what is "too much too soon" and celebrates the strengths her child already possesses.  She has reasonable expectations.  Yet she also recognizes potential and has vision for what the child can become.

A mother accepts her child.  She does not compare her child to others.  She would not trade her child for any other child in the world.  She does not try to mold that child into some preconceived image, but steps back and observes and discovers just who this little person is.  She tries to find out where the child's natural passions and interests lie, and then nurtures and explores that interest with the child, assisting the child in reaching his/her potential.  She lets that child be who that child was meant to be.  She allows the child to be free.

A singer accepts her voice.  She does not compare her voice to others.  She would not trade her own voice for any other voice in the world. She does not try to mold that voice into some preconceived image, but steps back and observes and discovers just what this voice she has been given is.  She tries to find out where the voice's natural passions and interests lie, and then nurtures and explores that interest with her voice, assisting the voice in reaching its potential.  She lets the voice be what the voice was meant to be.  She allows the voice to be free.

Finally, when all is said and done, a mother shares her child with the world.  As she watches her child go forth to achieve his own personal mission in the world,  she feels very proud of her child.  If she sees her child doing good out there in the world, she has the reward of seeing efforts of her love blessing not just her own child, but all who come in contact with that child.


  1. This is marvellous! (Good to hear from you after a long while.) Is it OK if I post a link to this on my blog and my Facebook page?

    I was so lacking in all these things when I sang the first time (age 20-30).

    I also think, though, that it helps to have good direction. I'm not speaking here of good vocal direction from a voice teacher but good mentoring, which I have written about at length in my own blog.

  2. Hi, babydramatic,

    You're right about how valuable good mentoring can be, especially in the beginning, and how disappointing it can be to have trouble finding that. There weren't a lot of ways to come in contact with that information before the Internet came around. Thank heavens there are now some generous teachers, coaches and mentor-types out there who offer a little guidance and help through blogs, videos, writing books and participating in forums.

    Thanks for wanting to link to my post. Feel free to link away!

  3. I wasn't talking about the sort of thing you can find on the Internet. Before we had the Internet, there were books.

    I was talking about a special person who took me under their wing and steered me toward good influences (loving my voice, and my body - for me crash dieting was a huge part of my self-abuse, and for what? to have a BMI at the low end of normal instead of at the high end?); and away from the bad ones (smoking as a form of weight control, "doing" the 60s by drugging and dancing the night away at discos - my formative years were smack in the middle of the "Summer of Drugs, er, Love"), showing me role models, being a friend so that I avoided destructive peer groups, and later, for me, showing me how to integrate being an uncloseted Lesbian and an opera singer which was unheard of in those days. And this person wouldn't even necessarily have had to be another singer, but perhaps someone who knew people who had influence in the music words. Of course "you can lead a horse to water" and all that, but if the horse isn't even led, it's doomed from the getgo.

  4. This is beautiful! Every 'note' rings true!! Thank you! ~Rebecca

  5. Hi there -

    Very inspirational post! And so true, too! A reminder that I really need to start 'loving' my voice more :D Thanks!

    I'm scouring Google for blogger musicians to come join a new community I'm putting together @

    The purpose of this blog is to connect musicians of all levels and interests through hosting blog hops, featuring bloggers and publishing guest posts. It would be SO cool if you joined!! We'd love to have you :)


  6. I love the beautiful comparison. You're right, and this post made me feel a whole lot better about my voice.