After many years of professional singing, as well as briefly teaching voice in a more traditional way, I began to sense that something was missing. Beyond the standard fare of technique and repertoire, I yearned for an elusive quality of expression. As well, my students seemed to be missing this elusive spark. We felt flat — disconnected from something deeper. Many if not most of us were haunted by memories of having been shamed for expressing ourselves authentically.
Eventually a common pattern emerged. I realized that most of our struggles were related to four major aspects of authentic self-expression: Power, Acceptance, Truth and Heart (PATH). Disconnection from, or confusion about, any of these four aspects leaves one feeling less than whole, unable to express oneself fully and authentically — both as a singer and as a human being.
While developing the PATH of Authentic Voice, I began by making room for what has been. Simply naming negatively impactful experiences associated with singing relieved some of the tension around vocal expression, often dissolving technical issues that had resisted technical solutions. We then cultivated a practice of exploring each of the four aspects relative to our current self-expression goals, both musical and non-musical.
On this path, we discovered our authentic voices and reclaimed our birthright to be unabashedly expressive!
The Four Aspects of Authentic Voice
Power — The more you’re in right relationship with power, the more you’re able to express in a way that is truly authentic. As you embark on the PATH of Authentic Voice, I will invite you to create a working definition of power for yourself. I’ll help you identify and release disempowering beliefs that block your full expression, and I’ll show you how to unlock the full power of your voice — not merely in volume but in all its dimensions.
Acceptance — The PATH of Authentic Voice is a journey that will be much more enjoyable if you accept where you are on the path at any given time. Without acceptance, you may get caught up in perfectionism, self-judgment, or anxiety about others’ judgments. Acceptance is the art of being at peace where you are, even as you reach for new horizons. Being present to what is happening in the moment allows your next greater expression to emerge with ease and delight.
Truth — Authentic expression requires an extraordinary ability to break through the barriers to deeper truths. My students are often surprised to discover that their relationship with truth is not what they thought it was. The million-and-one subtle ways we deceive ourselves and others is astounding. We lie to protect ourselves from judgment and rejection. We tell the truth when we’re secure in ourselves, know our inherent worth, and trust in others’ capacity to take responsibility for themselves. On the PATH of Authentic Voice you’ll develop the ability to know your truth and the courage to take a stand for it.
Heart — You speak or sing your truth most powerfully when your heart is wide open. To open your heart makes you vulnerable but not weak. Your willingness to be vulnerable signifies strength and courage. Your open-hearted expression is an act of love that creates profound connection. With your heart fully engaged, your voice becomes not merely interesting or entertaining but deeply moving and inspiring.
Whatever your purpose and level of experience, the PATH of Authentic Voice offers you a way to realize self-expression that is pure of heart, fiercely true, and radiantly alive.
I’d love to hear from you!
Photo by Barbara Paulsen, 2015.