I was struck by something I heard in @jameelajamils @i_weigh podcast last week -- Dr. Deepika Chopra was the guest and said something along the lines of: “who we think we should be is not the same as who we are.” As I'm working on self care right now, this really hit home.
This got me to thinking about the shoulds and should nots of voice teaching. What "shoulds" do our students bring to their lessons? And, what "should nots?" The problem with shoulds is that they limit us. They can (and do!) keep us from discovering what's possible.
How can I help my students let go of what they think they should (or should not) sound like and embrace their authentic and unique voices?
Along these same lines, how can we help them release their own expectations of what something should or shouldn’t feel like?
When we have expectations of what we think something is supposed to feel like we close ourselves off from the discovery of what that “thing” actually will feel like. This sounds so simple, AND, until you have the experience for yourself, you can’t understand what it’s going to feel like.
For example, sooo many students believe that because a high belt sounds powerful it should feel like you’re working really hard to make that sound. Now it definitely takes a lot of energy in the body to make and sustain high, powerful belts, however, it’s almost never the type of energy that students use to try to make those sounds. So much pushing and straining--it certainly doesn’t feel good and it’s not sustainable!
What I try to do is set up an atmosphere of safety and discovery. Let’s take some risks, make some ugly sounds, let our voices crack! We’re here to explore what these things feel like in your voice and body, and, to find YOUR voice. What does it feel like in your body? What does YOUR voice feel and sound like? And, let’s play with how to make those sounds feel easier and energized!
Here's my favorite part, when a student discovers they are actually capable of doing these things that seemed sooo difficult in a new way, they may start to ask, "what else can I do that I didn't think I could?" And that, THAT is my favorite part of teaching.