BeSpoke Body Scan

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Hello Friends!

Hopefully you’re all recovering from a well-spent Easter break of some kind, or at the very least a decadent meal or two. In honor of springtime renewal we’re putting up the first audio for our ‘Mindful Voice Work’ series: a little body scan.

The aim is to relax, breathe, and find a sense of physical presence and release to provide you with some mindful get-up and go! This is great any time of the day, but might be especially helpful before a big audition, meeting, presentation, performance or any other venture where presence of mind comes in handy. In our experience, a mid-day body scan helps our stamina and keeps vocal fatigue at bay.

As always, any comments on your experience are most appreciated…happy breathing!

Lindsay & Christine

Why Work On Your Voice?

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(Addendum: We have been planning to publish this blog post for the last week. This morning, when we woke up to the news of the terrorist attacks in Brussels, we hesitated. We weren’t sure if today was the right day to post something that was unrelated to the attacks— if it would perhaps be somehow disrespectful. But then we decided— maybe this is the exact day that BeSpoke should publish this post. We live in strange, scary times where communication, particularly peaceful cross-cultural communication, seems to be breaking down. In publishing this post, we at BeSpoke are advocating that we all take a step back and think about how we communicate. Thinking about how we use the voice seems like a perfect place to start.)

If you already know how to talk, then why would it be important to spend time working on your voice? Isn’t the sound that comes out just the sound you were born with?

Well, no. Not necessarily. Do you feel like you could talk all day and not lose or strain your voice? Do you feel like you are always using the appropriate volume, or are people often telling you your voice is too loud or asking you to speak up? Do you feel like your voice is helping you say what you’re trying to say, or does it get in the way? Do your nerves change the sound of your voice? Do you mumble?

We were all born with a powerful voice. Babies, whether we like it or not, have the ability to scream and cry for hours and hours and hours (and hours…)— without losing their voices. Without even going hoarse. It’s an important survival skill. Babies need to be able to cry and scream until someone who can care for them takes notice. You used to be able to do that.

For a multitude of reasons, many of us over time become disconnected from that powerful voice and adopt other habits that can prevent us from communicating fully. Now, I’m not saying that to communicate fully you have to scream like a baby. While that might certainly have an impact, it might not be the impact you wanted.

However, the way you use your voice at any age can affect the perceptions of the people who listen to you, as well as your perceptions of yourself. Albert Mehrabian’s research revealed that, when you’re discussing your thoughts and feelings in ambiguous situations, 55% of effective communication has to do with body language. 38% has to do with tone of voice. Only 7% has to do with the actual words that you’re saying. When taking that into consideration, it seems that it’s just as important to think about how you’re saying what you’re saying as it is to think about what you’re saying. You get what I’m saying?

Working on the voice can therefore provide a powerful way of working on your communication. Learning how to use the voice efficiently (so that you can talk with appropriate volume and a variety of color for as long as you need to without strain), and learning how to connect your voice to your message can help you find authenticity, gravitas, and impact.

So just how do you work on the voice? There are so many ways. You can start by having a browse through our audio content in our Voice Coaching Audio Lab. And there will be more to come.

Christine

Breath Support: Part 2

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This is Part 2 of our Breath Support series. So if you haven’t listened to Part 1 yet, start with that and then come back to this. It’s a 30 minute (Ok, it’s slightly longer than 30 minutes, but it’s worth it! I promise!) segment on the next component of efficient breath support: what happens on the inhale. When you can begin to combine the rib action (outlined in this lesson) on the inhale with the Transversus Abdominis action on the exhale, you have fully mastered breath support! Welcome to deeper resonance, more volume, and a sense of ‘groundedness’ in the voice. Not to mention– speaking will not only become easier, but much more pleasant, because you won’t be straining in the throat muscles.

Speaking ‘on support’ is a great way of bringing your entire body into the act of communication, so that you are fully committing to your message. It will take some practice to get used to, so please leave questions and comments below about how it’s going.

Breath Support: Part 1

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This is a 30 minute introduction to how to use your ‘breath support muscle’, your Transversus Abdominis, to find your full vocal power. If you have ever wondered why babies can cry and cry without losing their voices, this lesson will explain why. This segment is great as a supplemental lesson for actors and as an introduction for business professionals to how you can access a sense of vocal ‘groundedness’ and authority.