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HI, I'M JORGELINA
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Being able to set your voice free is something I get asked about a lot. It is possible to find your free voice, and desirable, however, it doesn’t come too easy for many of us.
So in this article, I will help you unveil the mystery of why it is so hard to set your voice free and how you can get started in the right direction.
Many people think that singing is natural. And it is. Or it should be. After all, singing happens in all cultures! And it is present in many rites and traditions around the world.
The problem with this preconception is that if we are unable to sing beautifully naturally, then something must be wrong with us. That’s one of the reasons why many people still think that you must be born for singing or otherwise you will never be able to learn. People still think this even though today we have vocal science that says otherwise.
This of course is not to say that there are not people with natural talent. Undeniably, some people seem to be born with a magic capacity to learn singing. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t train for it! There are different reasons why a person might have more ability to sing than other people. Some of them are:
Not all of us grew up in a context that was ideal for natural music development. This context plays a huge role in your singing. To that, we have to add that some of us have experienced trauma throughout our life. If you have been abused in any form, especially at a young age, your voice is likely going to be blocked. And that is not your fault and it doesn’t mean that you are just not talented enough, or that there is anything wrong with you. On the contrary, it means that your brain and body are functional enough to protect you.
What do I mean by this? Well, to understand how trauma of any kind is related to singing, we must observe the function of our vocal anatomy.
The larynx area has various functions in your body. The most important is, of course, the survival functions: it allows you to breathe and it closes to prevent food and other particles from entering your respiratory system. The larynx area is also where the voice is produced, but as you can imagine, it is not a survival function as we can live without singing or speaking.
Coming back to the main functions of the larynx: in order to prevent food from entering your respiratory system, the larynx has a lid called the epiglottis, that closes when you swallow. Remember that this is a protection mechanism, your body and brain want to keep you alive. It is “safer” for you to protect your lungs. So many times when you consciously or unconsciously perceive danger, your throat is going to close. This system gets triggered by your alarm system.
I am sure that you are familiar with the feeling of having a knot in your throat. Now you know where it comes from! Your brain doesn’t only perceive real danger, but it also perceives danger in everyday situations that we can’t avoid. For example, we are wired to be scared of rejection. In the (very) old days, being rejected from your tribe was truly life-threatening. Today, many years later, our brains still react to rejection in a similar way even if rejection means that the person you fancy doesn’t like you back! And, of course, if the reaction of your singing audience is not the one you wished for.
Do you see my point? Keeping your throat close means that your brain is protecting you. And quite a bit of our singing training has to do with training the brain to not react that way to different life situations.
And we have many tools for this. But the most important point is that you understand that finding it hard to sing is not something that happens to us because we are unlucky. We can, however, train ourselves to modify our vocal system, for it to be more functional for our own goals.
Training your voice up to a point in which you truly feel free takes time, but we can start today and hopefully start feeling a difference soon.
This exercise aims to get you in contact with the sensations in your throat. This is not an area that one can feel easy, but perhaps if I give you some intense examples you will feel what I mean:
If you spend some time practicing the above exercises, you will likely experience that your voice frees up a bit. And this comes from setting up your vocal instrument in a more functional way for singing. You are achieving this from the way you set up your posture and your breathing to communicate to your brain that it is safe to sing!
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