If our singing voice has been hiding for a lifetime, emerging can sometimes take an extended period of time to get adjusted to the new experience. Because our voice is not separate from us. It is connected to our sense of self, and its emerging doesn’t only effect the voice. It has an impact on our whole life, our sense of who we are in the world, and our capacity to re-create our lives.
This emergence doesn’t happen in only one moment. We have entered into a journey of reclaiming our voice, which takes its own time; so being patient with the process is very important to how things go. We clearly don’t want to re-experience the trauma of our first ‘shut-down’ by again exposing the fragile and vulnerable intonation of our voice to criticism from someone who isn’t conscious of our situation.
So - as was written in the segment on Emerging - being in a trusting atmosphere is essential at the beginning for gaining a new relationship with our singing voice.
To find a group of like-minded people who are also re-discovering the power and joy of singing, who are experiencing the pleasurable resonance of sharing their singing voices with each other, in songs either familiar or from different cultures, this is a highly recommended setting and situation that works for many, many people in the process of reclaiming their voices.
For those who find it too challenging to share their voice with other people, yet still feel the urge to emerge, find an acoustically resonant space or chamber (which can be as simple or mundane as one’s shower or car). Perhaps singing a song you love is a good place to start, but you may also find a helpful practice is making long, extended vowell sounds: “ah”, “ay”, “ee”, “oh”.
If you live in a city, maybe you find an underground passageway or tunnel- if in the countryside or forest, find a resonant cave. These can be fantastic spaces to begin experimenting with the sound of your voice.
Another resource to consider is using a mono-tone drone instrument to accompany your voice, giving the sense of ‘being with’ another sound without needing to be heard by another person. If you don’t play a guitar or keyboard, a simple and enjoyable approach is using a ‘shruti box’, somewhat like a harmonium without a keyboard.
By giving yourself permission to play with your voice - not for anyone else, just for you - you open the door to a new way of being with yourself. There is a playfulness in this opening which may remind you of other childhood memories which are quite joyful and free, perhaps remembering feelings you had before the shut-down occurred.
If you feel moved, begin writing down your experiences with your voice. Let these words simply flow, without editing. And, at some point, look again at these words as part of your story, the story of your life as told through your voice.
When in a quiet and safe place - either by yourself or with someone, or others, whom you have a sense of deep trust with - begin singing some of these words. If it helps, have a few simple chords on the guitar or piano to provide a musical bed beneath them, or use music tracks designed for this experience.
Take your time, allow the sound to come forth. If there is no melody, no worries. Remember, you aren’t trying to please anyone else. You are simply giving a chance for your story to be told, your song to come forth. Whatever happens, let it be. That’s all you need to do.
Sabrina, a participant in a recent seminar on vocal freedom, shared about a song that came through her:
This song is about giving myself permission to slow down and breathe and invite the healing into my heart. Music is a doorway. It invites the healing naturally so that I don’t have to try to heal, but the music lets me heal.
When I sing it feels like me - it feels like the song of me. And the song is coming through me, but (at the same time) it is me somehow.
I’ve never sung this song out in the world, in public. I’ve shared it with a few friends, which felt really nice. But I don’t perform. I just love to sing it.
There’s no way for you to know
How much you mean
C’mon, wrap my wings around your heart
Just take your time to breathe
Take your time
Lean on into me
Know that all, all is right
Just take your time to breathe
(Take Your Time by Sabrina from Beyond the Fear of Singing, 2019)