~ finding your own voice

We hear that phrase all over the place. It says that you need to speak or write as an individual, reach within and bring out what’s inside. But what if your voice has been silenced, hidden away, suppressed?

What if you don’t even know what ‘your voice’ has to say? You speak, but is it really you speaking? You write, but where do those words come from?

Our self-esteem, our self-identity is tied up with our voice, whether it’s as a writer, singer, or speaker. You could probably extend that to artists, actors, and others who use their eyes, hands and media to communicate something. Stepping out and speaking up, expressing our own thoughts and opinions may seem simple to some. For the rest of us, it’s a tall order.

Eckhart Tolle talks about us ‘being the awareness behind our thoughts’ and I think this is crucial to the advancement of our ability to use our voice to express ourselves.

In singing, over time, as we work, we learn to ‘hear’ what we are thinking, and we learn to change it. Our awareness is the first step, then, to growth. Awareness is a non-emotional, non-judgemental consciousness of what we are doing in the moment. It’s a real time assessment. Our experiences, over time, lead us to habits and repetitive thinking, some of which is useful and healthy, and some of which is not. Being ‘awake’ is the only way to see the difference and make choices.

It’s not always easy, and Tolle talks about this as well. We may recognize what we are doing, but we may be unable to change it in the moment. If we stay the course, and practice being aware, sometimes we will be able to change our reactions mid-stream. If we continue, we will be able to recognize the thought when it happens and react in the new way. Eventually, the old thought will simply disappear.

I know from the practice of singing that we just can’t erase old programming, though. We really have to put new programming in its place. In singing, technique helps us with this. As we apply the elements of craft to what we are doing, the combination of awareness and technical application begins to free the voice. In addition, as we sing the different vowels, we are resonating. We feel good, hopefully, as we practice. Each sound that we sing, on various scales, is associated with healing, with energy, and in a sense is meditative.

I believe that any art form requires this approach. To be a great actor, you need to know all facets of the Self so you can bring one or more out as needed when performing, but you have to know where your light is. As a visual artist, you need to trust your instincts, and your hands to express, while understanding how to mix colours. As a writer you put things down on paper in a certain way, a way that reflects your thoughts and your dreams, but you have to know how to string words together so they make sense.

People say that being ‘commercial’ in the writing of music (or other artistic endeavors) is limiting. They say that when you produce commercial work that it is homogenized, cookie cutter, less valuable than non-commercial work. I say they both have their place. Non-commercial may be ‘uncrafted’, but its rawness can appeal. Commercial music can be too ‘mechanical’, but its textures can be interesting.

I hear the same non-commercial vs commercial discussion in singing. The raw, untrained voice is liked because of its earthiness but is sometimes limited in range. The trained, crafted voice is liked because of its strength and consistency, but may lack presence.

In my opinion the true voice reveals itself through an equal application of technique and authenticity. Being ‘yourself’ but striving to master your instrument of choice so the sounds or shapes or colours express meaning but can still be understood.

Your own voice is… inspiration, perspiration and craft practiced together ~

1 comment:

Kirk Mathew Gatzka said...


I found your blog on a search about songwriting. I am a Digital Visual Artist and Musician. I enjoyed your postings that I read. You seem very honest and insightful. Thanks for sharing in a personal way. I put most of my personal thoughts into my songs. My blog listed below, is about my art and music. Hope you visit and read some of my blog posts.

Well done!

Kirk Mathew Gatzka