Express Yourself!

Whether singing, speaking writing, it’s all voice. Work one, work all.

Let’s kick this one off with a popular analogy: the voice is like an onion.

Layers, layers, layers.

(Let me guess: you were expecting some Madonna reference? I went with Shrek — it’s on more in my home with my two kiddos than the Material Girl is.)

Here’s the coolest part: it is my belief that your voice, your whole voice, has three lovely layers (maybe more!): your speaking, singing and writing voice. Three layers of the same instrument. And with this post, I’d like to suggest something radical: Work one, work all.

(Really, Jill? If I work my writing voice my singing voice gets better?)

Kind of, yeah. But “better” is relative. Instead let’s use the word freer.

Before I dive into this concept, let me say, it’s undeniable that there are physiological things we need to work to gain the muscle memory and coordination for great singing, for example– we can’t just expect to be able to belt it out like Whitney because we write content on social media, but we can get curious and see if any of the super awesome skills are transferable to the other parts of our voice.

I’ve since learned on my journey that the more I speak (and by speak, I mean saying what’s actually on my mind) the freer my voice gets other areas, like in the recording booth. Similarly, I’ll notice less blocks in my writing voice when articulating a close-to-the-heart topic after, say, a great recording session or deep, soulful conversation with a loved one.

It’s in this noticing that the magic resides.

Here’s a few examples of how this works:

If you’re an excellent speaker, with a resonant full voice, you’re well on your way when it comes to your singing voice, in terms of resonance. All that’s needed, through self-reflection and repetition, is to retrain our thoughts to connect the dots between the two, and ultimately transfer the desired skills over. (Same thing if your singing voice is weaker in any way; we simply need to connect the awesome work you’ve done with your speaking voice and link that to what your brain perceives as your singing voice.)

If you’re an excellent singer, but lack presence in your speaking voice, again, the work’s largely been done. Our first job becomes connecting the two in your mind, and more often it’s a change of thinking that seals the deal.

And if your writing voice is on point and it’s easy for you to share your inner-most thoughts, then your speaking and singing voice will benefit from that. (Again, as long as we can connect it in the brain.)

Whether these analogies landed for you, the point is this: expression is expression. And if we start to think of the voice in this new way, we become more whole, fully expressive.

So here’s some questions to ponder: (this is that self-reflection, repetition bit)

Are you sharing your whole self in your craft (singing, speaking, writing)? What would happen if you did? Are there consequences?

On the flip side, what magic could you create? If you could drop these limiting stories, what would you say, sing, write?

When it comes to your voice (speaking, writing, singing), which seem to be the most free, and in what circumstance? How can you learn from this and build upon the others?

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