Your Voice Matters
Tuesday, March 9, 2021 by Shannon Boyce | Uncategorized
Your Voice Matters by Shannon Boyce
Have you ever stopped to consider your voice and how important it is to everyday life? Whether with strangers or loved ones, your voice is what builds relationship. And there are very few professions you can do without using your voice.
Do you realize billions of dollars are spend every year on beauty and health products for body hygiene? Most people have some sort of daily routine for personal hygiene, yet how many people do you know who have a daily routine for vocal hygiene? Most people don’t think about their voices unless they are ill and lose their voice or become hoarse from yelling so much either at home from the stress of family life or out of excitement such as at a sporting event or concert. Voices are becoming lower and lower in their pitch range and more and more people have raspy, edgy, harsh, loud, pressed or chronically hoarse voices. And sadly, this is true not only for adults but children too.
This loss of vocal health is also spilling over into a lack of ability to voice ourselves as human beings. Have you ever noticed how defensive people are towards each other nowadays? When this happens the voice becomes very thin and seems to be right at the edge of one’s skin. There is a superficial pleading to the defensive voice that makes it shallow, tight, and difficult for others to listen to as opposed to the voice that comes from a calm and well-grounded place, which has strength, intelligence, and resilience at its core.
Our voices should be taken seriously, especially for Waldorf teachers in the classroom and for parents, as our voices radiate either a sense of well-being or lack of well-being. For the young child who imitates the world around him/her, it is especially important that the adults in his/her life seriously consider the quality of their voice. It is only the most healthy and natural voice that can penetrate the heart of the child. Therefore, you must ask yourself “Am I using my most healthy and natural voice or a fake unnatural voice?” This means that we as adults must wake up to the questions concerning our own vocal health and development. We must understand that our voices are a most precious and sensitive instrument.
“But, I just can’t sing, no one wants to hear ME sing”. For many people singing around other people feels really scary. You might be comfortable singing in the shower but that is as far as it goes. Or maybe you long to sing but were traumatized as a child and told to stop singing and just mouth the words. This is one of the worst things that can happen to a child. Everyone has a birthright to sing. As a Waldorf educator, perhaps your training lacked sufficient instruction in singing and you still feel this is a skill you must improve upon for your own well-being and for the sake of the well being of the children in your classroom. For parents, singing with your children can be such a joyful way to connect and bond to your child and perhaps you long to feel more confidence in your singing voice.
In today’s crazy, stressed out, fast-paced world, many people are looking for ways to find moments of peace through yoga, meditation or some other form of spiritual practice. Learning to sing with a free and open voice can awaken inner harmony. Therefore, I encourage you to consider attending one of the open singing retreats being offered this summer out of the impulse of “The School of Uncovering the Voice” founded by Valborg Werbeck Svärdström and endorsed by Rudolf Steiner as a singing training based in Anthroposophy.
Looking back over my 10 years of singing study out of this impulse, I can say it has not only been an incredible path towards vocal freedom but also primarily an extraordinary cathartic journey toward uncovering my selfhood. It has helped me in my roles as a voice teacher, a parent, a spouse, and a friend. I am more relaxed in how I can express myself to others. By attending one of the open singing retreats you will learn exercises that will connect and lead you to a right relationship with your physical voice as well as deepen your relationship to your own inner voice. You will come to know the worlds of tone and sound in a way that changes your inner and outer life. It will also change your personal relationships; people will want to come to listen to you as you begin to uncover the calm relaxed voice living inside of you. You will come to know the meditative, spiritual and healing power of the voice. Learning to be with your voice will connect you to the purest parts of yourself and guide you to develop your more realized self.