What is Voice Work About?

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“There is no index of character so sure as the voice.” — Benjamin Disraeli

A lot of times when students approach us about wanting to work on their voices, it’s because they don’t like the sound of their voice. And that’s fair. We as a society have aesthetics surrounding what kind of voices we like to hear just as much as we do about body shape, facial features, hair style, etc.

Because of these aesthetics, many people think that our role as voice coaches, whether we work with actors or with professionals in other contexts, is to help people cultivate a beautiful voice. But that is actually no so much what I am interested in.

As a voice coach, I’m much more interested in exploring: is your voice connected to what you’re saying? Connected to your message? In the same way that you would want your body language to match your message. Whether that message is a pitch to client, or  you’re playing a character and speaking somebody else’s words, or whether you’re talking with friends at a pub. I find this to be a much more constructive way to work with people on their voices than by aiming to help them find a ‘beautiful’ voice. For one thing, if the voice is connected to the message, then it’s more likely that the sound is being produced in a healthy way. That connection is physical as well as vocal, because your voice is created by muscular actions that happen in your body. Vocal connection means that your breath support muscles are working efficiently, sending up just the right amount of air through your vocal folds. Healthier breathing means more of your body can resonate as you speak—- so when your voice is connected to your message, you are allowing your message to literally resonate within you.

There is good news for those of you who would like to improve the sound of your voice: aiming for a healthy, connected sound does objectively improve the sound of your voice to others. But that improvement will come from a more authentic place—- it will come from you simply expressing yourself, as opposed to you trying to sound a specific way.

Can you think of moments in your life where you’ve been truly physically and vocally connected to what you were saying? Where your body language and voice were unified with  your thoughts and intentions? How did that feel? When were those moments? We would love to hear about them– please feel free to send us an email or share in the comments below. Your stories could be great inspiration for others!

Take good care,

Christine

 

 

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