LIBERATE YOUR VOICE

The voice is a blessing which some use wisely, and others use in less profound ways. The tone differs from person to person, and vocal faculties are diverse. For some, like Mariah Carrey of Vitas, vocal abilities are entirely unique and arduous to mimic. Nevertheless, the voice is a distinct thing and needs ample appreciation.

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In other cases, it provides people with career opportunities. So many are highly revered and doted because of their voice - people like famous singers, spoken word performers, music teachers, public speakers, and even university lecturers. The value of the words that leave their mouths carried through sound waves into appeasing ears does play a vital role in popularity in the first place. Additionally the entire realm of physicality necessary to convey that specific message, but the voice is what makes those valuable words even more paramount, and what sanctions this gravitational shift in fondness for a person of such standing.

In a world filled with as much silence as noise, resplendency derives when hearing someone speak or sing, even when the tone of their voice may not be as pleasing to the ear as someone else's?

However, what is all the more fascinating, is the distinction between a talking voice and a singing voice. As a singer, this remains far from unorthodox. My singing voice and talking voice oppose each other - they sound very different. Also, as pleasing as the talking voice sounds, the same cannot sentiments lack for its singing counterpart. It took many years to feel comfortable. Shyness and a general dislike for its sound overruled any other feelings. Ironically, since childhood, performing alongside peers at numerous music festivals and singing competitions were commonplace, and non-problematic. Why? Because it was a team effort not solely an individual one, but once solo singing became a part of life, embarrassment, negative criticisms, and on most days, shyness crept in, overruling the sublime compliments from peers and vocal teachers. This way of thinking obstructed progress and desire to pursue that teenage dream of becoming a famous singer grew distant. Other factors also contributed to this dismay, but, the most consequential of them all, is those mentioned earlier. Sometimes personal thoughts can authentically inhibit pursuance, especially when allowed to do so.

However, as time passed, the desire to break free from these weighted noetic conceptions, sanctioned one to push into new avenues, like recording an EP, and as a result, the opportunity to perform for a live audience.

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A friend of mine was hosting an event; he asked if there was any interest in performing and acceptance came naturally. Immediately after, preparation and rehearsals stretched across many hours. For days, nervousness and dubiousness battled against each other, as well as opposing, more inspiriting emotions. Being on stage, never posed a quandary, nor did singing on stage with others in choirs or ensembles. In this case, performing solo, without backup, other voices or even a choir conductor, harbored feelings of fright, among others. Questions about amiability peeked into view. At the time, even personal opinion was derogatory, so the natural process of thought was, how then would an audience enjoy its sound?

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A few days before the show, self-consciousness was as contemporary as the sun on a sunny day, but thankfully, tenacity prevented abandonment. Rehearsals continued up until the event, while siblings and close friends provided a stable support network, as they all huddled around the stage come performance time, and as the backing track boomed over the sound system, space for doubt or uncertainty grew thin and unreliable. Memory indicates slight worry during the performance after messing up a dance move or two. Internal moral dropped just a tad, but once eyes locked onto swaying bodies and smiling faces, and ears heard cheers from the voices in the room, ego received the fuel needed to push through. No one in that room knew the extent to which negative forces of thought kept trying to sabotage this fresh boost of ego. Moreover, even within that internal struggle, a smile or two between verses and choruses made appearances, encouraging the audience to smile back, which ignited a much-needed overflow of positive feelings. As the last few lines of the song came to pass, instant relief coursed through a previously tense body and mind, and feelings of success encouraged bravery.

After the performance, audience members swooned and came over to express social sentiments. Vaashish - the friend who hosted the event - expressed feelings of appreciation, as siblings and other friends rushed over to give hugs, kisses, and compliments. Even after achieving success, tiny slivers of doubt still permeated - a challenging feeling to defeat.

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At this moment, and mainly because a career as an enrichment teacher encourages consistent utilization of the voice - both talking and singing - the sound emitted is loved. All those years ago, this voice of mine was not ready to be heard. It still valued privacy and secrecy. However, evolution, maturity, and the nurturing of self-love, a new appreciation for all the unliked is abundant, and the opinions and compliments of others that did nothing but encourage, are now given utmost significance. If anything, the trepidation that lived within and instigated worry about the opinions of others is no longer an obstruction; it is a motivator. To have the ability to speak and sing is something that is embraced now more than ever. It is something that is appreciated and understood. The power it holds and the beautiful work it can create is valued. Experiencing its impact on listening ears, especially the little ones I teach is a daily occurrence. The personal result is gratifying, and the eagerness to share it with more people in new and different ways excites the essence of individual human existence.

Before fingers could even type the last two letters of the previous word, regret beseeched to express wishes of understanding these things sooner. Maybe a career as a singer would have come to pass? Who knows. Simultaneously, the journey to claiming this voice of mine is appreciated. Time was needed. Comfort came through learning. That is just how it goes for some, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Now, a soul lives in this space of feelings of goodness about self and voice. No more waste of mind space on glum emotions, primarily when they inhibit progress.

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One that stayed silent for way too long and only felt like it shined when it was part of a group and not when it stood alone. So today, arms are raised to the sky, a head tilts back, a vocal passageway is open, lips part and sounds emerge, raw sounds like that of a warriors' ready to face fate. Today is the day I open my voice to a new sense of liberation - one that ceased to exist up until this moment.

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It is a personal assumption that many others have felt or feel the same. Lack of confidence, among other emotions, contributed or currently contributes to insecurity. Worry about the subjective opinions of others also plays a part, and interferes with opportunities to find comfort in engaging in simple conversations with peers, excel at work presentations, follow through with a career as a music teacher or even audition for that perfect musical theater role. Then there is the unfavorable comparison, which does nothing more than embolden a decline of any vocal self-confidence.

How familiar these sentiments feel, as they too interfered with personal acceptance and liberation of this voice of mine - particularly as it relates to singing. At the same time, different facets of knowledge and understanding presented themselves, making the journey all the more necessary, and after years of growth, this is the literary support this mind of mine wishes to share.

As it relates to singing; embrace the process even if it is lengthy, feels exhausting, filled with negativity or it means a career as a famous singer or vocal/music teacher begins much later in life. Embrace the opportunity to learn and grow and when that comfort with and confidence in vocal abilities are abundant, then share it openly, and be open to both objective and subjective opinions others may wish to share. Additionally, and as cliche as this sounds, practice makes perfect and builds confidence and knowledge as well.

As it relates to speaking; trust in the value of the words and message. Also, use simple scenarios as a foundation for practice, like engaging in conversation with peers or even a stranger, maybe even giving someone a call versus sending them a text. Use all opportunities as a means of growth, and as a way to develop the skills that will allow understanding, using, dealing with, and in some cases ridding oneself of any other inhibiting factors, such as nervousness or poor breathing techniques.

Lastly, the general society tells many, that age has a great deal to do with personal development and success. That different levels of achievement should happen at adolescent ages rather than older ones. As a result, many people watch time ticking by and gradually become defeated by how slowly their developmental process is moving, and with defeat comes all sorts of harmful sentiments, and a lack of desire to even try to persevere. Then before day turns to night, dreams start fading like the sunshine into the night sky.

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