Nursery Magic is Very Strange and Wonderful: Singing your REAL voice

There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.  Elizabeth Lawrence

Teachers of singing will often tell you that they will help you “find your voice”. Good on them. It may sound cheap or glitzy, but that’s really the aim of the vocal technician at any level. (A voice coach, on the other hand, you will hire primarily to address your issues of style and musicality.)

So you’ve set out to find which voice? Whose voice? Rarely do teachers and coaches discuss exactly why singers should get in touch with their own “primitive” voices, the voices of their infancy, their voices stripped of filters, culture, and dialect.

If you have an extra moment now, please read this recent post by my teacher, Jean-Ronald LaFond…I can’t say it better than he does in his article Primal Voice and Civilized Music. Also, GEEK OUT! to the links at the end of this post.

Image by fmgbain via Flickr

To be a real singer you must sometimes be a child. (Insert tenor joke here) 😉

A baby has no governor on the sounds she makes, she simply obeys instinct. A young child will convince you that he can climb a tree and touch the moon. Children are not self-conscious of the magical world they enter when they play. They run with abandon, they make uncivilized sounds, they will accept any storyline. It’s only when we are older that we realize how strange and wonderful is childhood magic.

Jean-Etienne Liotard
Young Girl Singing Into A Mirror, by Jean-Etienne Liotard

Singers, sing with your REAL voice. Let loose primitive sounds. Invite clean, honest vowels to come out and play.  Be imaginative in the way you approach your character’s story. Love the child in you who can accept any sound you could make without judgement.

Read yesterday’s introductory post “SINGING FOR REAL” and come back tomorrow for “ACTING FOR REAL”

GEEK OUT! to these links and listen for operatic and musical theater sounds…

Sabine Kobongo and tribal singers from Andhra Pradesh India

Elementary School in Chittoor,AP,India. This s...
Image via Wikipedia

Children of Bharati

Roomful of Teeth projects


Yodeling meets throat singing

Roomful of Teeth and tUnE-yArDs

TED lecture

Claron McFaddon singing in the Stadsschouwburg...

Claron McFadden: Singing the primal mystery

4 thoughts on “Nursery Magic is Very Strange and Wonderful: Singing your REAL voice

Add yours

  1. For those who are in-search of self and who one is (including myself), I now often think that finding your voice is finding yourself, and all self is is games and possibility.

    We as singers especially, try to put ourselves in a box of “dramatic soprano” or “light lyric coloratura” and then adjust our voices to the description of that box. Nowadays, unfortunately, because of how the fach system works, boxing ourselves up is an easy thing to do. Too often the crucial step of finding the raw, natural, unique sound of an individual is skipped in the process of learning how to sing, and that leads to nothing but covering up of who we really are.

    The magic comes when kids play pretend games, they can be anything they want to be for that moment and they don’t care about it all. They are in the moment, in the now. We often forget that as adults, but all what happened was that one day we decided to play a longer pretend game, which led us to be who we are. Reality is, we can always create a new game to play, but after x amount of years out of practice creating new games and layers upon layers of one pretend game it’s not always easy to how a new game is created.

    I say be true to yourself, follow your gut and your natural raw sound, it’s beautiful and will lead you to you!


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