On Trusting the Voice

In voice habilitation, we strive to teach the body to produce sound in a way that’s reliable.  The ideal voice works when you want it to work, and does what you need it to do.

At a recent teacher’s meeting, one of the group’s participants sang for us.  He did several jazz-pop style tunes, and afterward gave us some insight into his technique and methods for practicing.  He said something I’ll never forget.

(and I paraphrase) “Now, because of the vocal exercises I do, my voice is consistent.  It used to be that every day was a guessing game.  Some days my voice would feel great, and others it was all over the place.  But because of having a routine that works, I trust it.  I know what my voice is going to do.”

After so many years of mixed results, he was finally able to trust his vocal function.

Kudos to him for putting in the work.  This doesn’t just happen all on its own, people.  He found a vocal exercise routine that allowed him to set up his voice so it was consistent, reliable, and trustworthy.  And he applied it.  Faithfully.

Isn’t that what we are all looking for in general?  A sense of trust?  In people, in ourselves, in the universe, in our voices?  A place where we feel safe?

One of things to realize about trust is that it just takes time.  Good old-fashioned, hangin’ out on the front porch time.  I’m barely old enough to be giving you advice about trust because it takes so…darn…long to establish.  Total honesty: I made enough horrible choices earlier in life that I’m only beginning (starting! baby-stepping-in!) to deeply trust myself and God.  Let alone my symbolic and literal voices in the world.  Maybe that’s why the subject of trust perks my ear holes, almost daily lately.

When this young man said, in so many words, that he could now trust his voice, it struck a deep chord in my heart.  I wanted him to talk about that trust for another hour.  I wanted to revel in this place of safety and joy with him.  “Please just keep telling us how much relief you feel now that you have a voice that you can count on, sir!”  I wanted all of my students to be teleported into the room that very moment just so they could hear him say . . . “I can finally rely on – TRUST – my voice.”

The sense of joy and relief he exuded – because of this new, solid relationship with his voice – was palpable.  At least to me.  It felt so good to hear him say these things, I almost cried.

I think the subject of trust is worthy of our conversation because it cannot be bought or sold, it can only develop. (Time, it takes, young Jedi.)  And in terms of developing a voice, whether physical or metaphoric, it’s important to remember that slow and steady wins the race.  Voices don’t like to be pushed or cajoled or hammered into place.

AND, we have a relationship with our voices whether we realize it or not.  Why not give our voices the time and attention they deserve in order to establish trust with them?

Wouldn’t we all like to say we can trust our voices?  Doesn’t that sound warm and soothing?

As a trustworthy voice may not be within the immediate reach of some singers at this moment, I intend to impart 3 encouraging ideas, especially to those who do not yet trust their voices. (a big YETi, boo)

  1. there IS something that can be done to build trust
  2. you will have to do some work to learn the skills you need to gain it (trust)
  3. it will take time

I wish trust could be established in a moment, but it can’t.  It has a nature, a way that it acts and functions and thrives.  There is something ineffably beautiful about it when we get there, though.  And maybe finding our way to real trust is one of the supreme gifts of living in this time-space reality.  We all get to brave the journey.


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