Here on the TakeLessons Blog, we talk a lot about singing tips and tricks for making your voice shine. And as you’re learning how to sing — especially if you’re working with a voice teacher — you’ve probably already learned how things like posture and breathing can affect your voice.
But how much do you actually know about how your instrument works? Understanding how your voice works is a big key to singing well, yet many vocalists never take the time to study it.
We recently connected with Elissa over at Voice Body Connection, who has been working on an online course designed to help you learn just that. Still not convinced? Here’s how Elissa explains it:
We start using our voice mere moments after we’re born. But here’s the thing… no one sits us down and hands us an instruction manual. There’s no explanation about how we should make sound, we just do it! A couple years from now we’ll start learning speech and language, and all that will include much more explanation. However it’s likely going to be years before we start any sort of vocal or singing lessons which will draw our attention to the quality of our sound (if ever, of course!). By that time we’ll have some pretty well engrained patterns and habits.
So here’s the problem with never having learned how our voice works: When something goes wrong with it, we don’t know how to fix it. If no one taught us how we produce sound in the first place, it’s very difficult to troubleshoot when we’re not able to make the sounds we want. We’ve got to understand what’s going on.
We think of our voice as something intangible. In fact we often use the word “voice” metaphorically. That way of thinking is lovely, but our voice is also something very concrete. It comes out of our body, and there are significant muscles and cartilage and bones and organs that contribute to our ability to make sound. It’s valuable to know what all of these are, which is why we go over them in our Spotlight on Anatomy blogs and in Vibrant Voice Technique training.
Think about it this way: if you’re a real car person, you’ve gotta learn what’s under the hood. It would be silly to grab a wrench and start messing around if you’ve done no research about how the car is put together…you might mess something up! By a similar token, we all know it’s foolish to start IKEA furniture together without following the (inscrutable) instructions. It’s useful to spend the time understanding how things work. After all, how we understand a thing informs how we use it.
Let’s repeat that, because it’s the big thesis:
How we understand a thing informs how we use it.
So, how does the voice work?
OK, so… how much do you know? Do you want to learn more about how the voice works? You can learn more about Elissa’s course here — and if you register before December 19th, you can even get a discount on the price.
Curious in the meantime? Here are some vocal health resources we like:
- 15 Amazing Facts You Never Knew About Your Voice [Infographic]
- Vocal Health Articles via Boston Singers’ Resource
- You and Your Voice via Lions Voice Clinic
- The National Center for Voice & Speech
Readers, what’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about your voice? Let us know by leaving a comment below!