Your Free Voice – Episode One
What does it mean to have a FREE voice?
RELEASED JUN 28, 2022
Welcome to episode one, of ‘Your Free Voice’!
In this episode, we’re going to consider the notion of what IS a FREE voice?
It has all kinds of connotations from the metaphorical to the literal, and we can look at it in terms of the mechanics of the voice, and we can look at it in terms of how much we feel able to speak our truth.
“Physical awareness and relaxation are the first steps in the work to be done on the voice. The mind and body must learn to cooperate in activating and releasing inner impulses and dissolving physical inhibitions. Actors must develop bodies that are sensitive and integrated rather than super controlled and muscular. They must educate the voice into the union of self and body. The voice communicates the inner world of the psyche to the outer world of attentive listeners, both on the stage and in life.”
In order to have a fully ‘free’ voice, and by that I’m going to say, a voice that is unencumbered by physical tension, doesn’t fatigue easily, recovers quickly from hard effort… to have a ‘free’ voice you need to take into account the spiritual, the psychological and the physical.
So in this podcast, I’m going attempt to bring those different approches togther.
I’m going to invite some super people on, to talk more about areas of vocal expression that they’re passionate about, and give you lots of actionable steps to try along the way, from meditations to journalling prompts, vocal exercises and re-imagining of old stories. I’m so glad you’re here with me.
Episode One: Journaling Prompts
1. How do you feel about speaking up or singing in public?
2. How easy is it for you to ‘color outside of the lines’ when you use your voice?
3. How does your voice feel after extended use?
4. If you could do anything with your voice, what would it be?
5. What do you think is stopping you from doing that right now?
Also, if you’re interested here is the link to the IAVMT
A Messy Transcript
] Hello, and welcome to episode one of Your Free Voice. In this episode, I wanted to talk a little bit about the idea of what is a free voice. Um, it has all kinds of connotations from the metaphorical to the literal, and we can look at it in terms of the mechanics of the voice. And we can look at it in terms of how much we feel able to speak our truth.
So it’s a massive topic. Actually. I’m gonna start off with a couple of little quotes just to kind of get us going. Kristin link later from her book, freeing, the natural voice says, and I’m just, I’m gonna read this bit here, says to free the voice is to free the person. And each person is indis mind and body.
Since physical processes generate the sound of the voice, the inner muscles of the body must be free to receive the sensitive impulses from the brain that creates speech that’s Kristen link [00:01:00] later for the natural voice. I’m gonna have a whole episode on Kristin link later, uh, later on. But I just wanted to introduce that concept to you that it’s the idea of being free of the physical tension, but also psychological limitations and creative limitations, depending on where you grow up in the world.
And there’s gonna be a certain set of cultural expectations of what’s appropriate and what isn’t appropriate and what isn’t appropriate gets put into shadow. It doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s uh, the, the union term for, for the stuff that isn’t supposed to be seen. So I don’t wanna get too deep into shadow, right.
Immediately in episode one, but say, for example, you grow up in a house full of athletes and athletic types, but you really want to write poetry. Your desire to write poetry might get pushed into shadow [00:02:00] because it’s not kind of an acceptable way to express yourself in. Environment now it doesn’t mean that writing poetry is a bad thing at all.
In fact it would probably be a wonderful thing, but it got pushed into shadow. Nonetheless. So our shadow, the side of us that is a buried side often has all kinds of treasure for us. I’m sure I will go into way more detail about that later, but I just wanna talk about the idea of what stops our voice from being free.
So often it’s either this. Feeling that we can’t speak our truth or something terrible will happen. There will be consequences that we won’t be able to, uh, bear or that we’ll put somebody else in danger by speaking our truth. Or that it’s socially inappropriate to speak our truth. And all of this kind of builds [00:03:00] layers of holding in the body, which manifests in the actual musculature of how we use our voice.
So it becomes a physical thing. Right. So it may start off as a psychological or a spiritual block or, or stool, and then it becomes physical. And so I think to work just physically with the voice, we’re kind of missing half of the story is. How you feel about your voice? What are the stories that you are carrying that tell you that you, you can’t speak up or you can’t be louder, you can’t be angry or you can’t be, you know, a myriad of other things.
So in order to have a fully free voice. And by that, I’m going to say a voice that is [00:04:00] unencumbered with physical tension, um, and doesn’t fatigue easily. That recovers quickly from, um, hard, uh, effort, uh, to have a free voice you need to take into account. The spiritual, the, the psychological and the physical, right.
So I’m gonna attempt to bring that together more in this podcast, I’m going to invite some super people on, uh, to talk more about it, but I’m just gonna give you this, uh, little passage from Kristen Linkletter here. Uh, she write. Physical awareness and relaxation are the first steps in the work to be done on the voice.
The mind and body must learn to cooperate in activating and releasing inner impulses and dissolving physical inhibitions. Actors must develop [00:05:00] bodies that are sensitive and integrated rather than super controlled and muscular. They must educate the voice into the union of self and body. The voice communicates the inner world of the psyche to the outer world of attentive listeners, both on the stage and in life.
I absolutely love that chunk there, and it actually leads me into the training that I did in the UK voice movement therapy training. I had been teaching group harmony singing workshops. When, when I was about, I think I was 19 or 20, when I led my first one, I rented a community, uh, like a, a community hall space.
And I, I sold tickets and I said, I’m gonna teach you some, uh, Bulgar part harmonies. And maybe, you know, like I was doing part harmony singing workshop, and I found. That [00:06:00] people would always cry. They would cry from a deep breathing exercise. They would cry when we hit a certain harmonic, uh, resonance, there would always be tears.
And at the age of 19, I totally understood that this was a real thing, and I felt completely ill-equipped to be able to deal with it, to be able to bring people through on that journey. . And so I actually stopped running workshops for a bit, and I went on this quest to find some training that would help me understand how the voice works with the psyche, with the soul.
And it took a little while. I think I was looking. for about eight years. And then I found Paul Newk’s training and voice movement therapy in the UK. And I signed up right away. Like it was like, oh my goodness. That is exactly [00:07:00] the thing that I need. It was, um, this combination of, uh, physical, psychological, practical, creative approach to the voice.
And for the first time it seemed like it was dealing with the whole person. And not just the larynx and I absolutely love that approach. And that’s where, you know, the core of my teaching has been ever since is in there. And I’ve just embellished and added onto that since then. But Alfred Wolfson, who was the inspiration for Paul Newk’s work, he also, um, inspired Roy Hart to create Roy har theater.
I’ll get more into all that later. I don’t wanna ramble on too much about that right now, but Alfred Wolfson, he said the voice is the muscle. Of the soul and that is just so lovely and it feels so true to me when [00:08:00] we feel repressed in our voice. When, when our vocal apparatus feels either physically limited or metaphorically, like we can’t speak up, it’s crushing.
Like if you’ve ever had that experience, it is like having. You know, somatically I’ve felt like my chest has been pressed on. Or I felt like I had some big lump in my throat. There’s a reason that that’s a thing that people say, I feel like there’s like a big lump in your throat or, um, I’ve had students talk about feeling like they have burning colds in their throat, or like they’ve swallowed something that they can’t, and this is all this kind of physical, uh, manifestation of feeling like your voice.
Isn’t free. So that’s what we are here to do. That’s what this podcast is going to be about [00:09:00] is about freeing the voice on all those levels from the deep, psychological place, as much as we can do in a pop podcast. I mean, I just want to help to give you some tools to think about your voice, maybe a little bit differently, and also practical things like understanding, um, How important it is to be physically engaged, to be physically warmed up before you sing or do a voiceover session or go on stage, you have to be physically warmed up and I’m gonna show you how to do all that as well.
But for this week, just to get us started, I want you to pull out a journal and answer these five questions. Okay, here we go. I’ll put a link to this in the show notes. If you wanna grab a PDF too, number one. How do you feel about speaking up or singing in public [00:10:00] number two? How easy is it for you to color outside of the lines when you use your voice?
Be creative, uh, experiment, make up funny voices improvise those kinds of things. So, number two, how easy is it for you to color outside of the lines when you use your voice number three, how does your voice feel after extended use? So giving a big presentation, reading an audio book, uh, video game session, um, teaching all day.
How does your voice feel after that? That’s number three, number four. If you could do anything with your voice, what would it be? And just anything don’t hold yourself back. Number five. What do you think is stopping you from doing that right now? Okay, brilliant. Now I’ll put those questions, like I said, in the show notes, uh, which you can also [00:11:00] email@example.com slash podcast.
And I’ll add a couple of links in there for the book and the IAV Mt. Which is the international association for voice movement therapy as well. Next episode, we’re gonna jump straight into warmups, how to create a great warmup for yourself. So there’ll be lots more, uh, dancing, moving, and stretching and less of.
Going blah, blah, blah. So that’s what next episode is gonna be like, and I hope to see you there. Okay. Bye.