What is singing, part 2: Trained voices

My main resolution this year is to have a gentle start to the year. However, despite my intentions, my sense of anticipation has turned into outright excitement for all the singing plans I have for the year.

Winter lurgies aside, I’ve largely managed to sing my way through winter so far. All good! And right now, I’m thinking about all the lovely continuing professional development (CPD), composing, arranging and teaching I will be doing this year.

I want to develop as a singer, performer and teacher. But I often think about what it means to have a ‘trained’ voice. I believe everyone can sing. I’ve heard many a beautiful singer who haven’t had any formal lessons. I listen to the local folk singers who tell a story and captivate with just their own, solo voice and no accompaniment. I hear choirs of untrained singers move me to tears. I hear friends who have no training sing songs to me that touch me and I am captivated by their beautiful voices. I know a beautiful voice is a subjective thing: I love listening to many voices, all styles. Singing is singing. So why am I so keen on voice training?

Firstly I am constantly curious about how a particular sound is made - and I wanna make it! Secondly, the more I learn about different sounds the voice can make, whether formally or informally, the closer I feel I can get to knowing my own voice and what it can do. And I love passing that information on to people. So much of the way we use our voice is habitual. As I become aware I become of my voice, I discover more about the part the my whole body plays in creating sound. I can develop new, better habits, become aware of my breathing, how to use emotion to create different sounds and sing a variety of styles. So the more I discover, the better my singing feels. I think when I learn a more efficient way of doing whatever vocal feat I’m aiming to achieve, it feels more “right,” - “connected singing,” “singing without blockages.” - it’s hard to put into words, but if I can learn more about my voice, (which I have discovered means I will learn so much more about myself!) My enjoyment of singing increases. I am not aiming to sound “trained,” but neither do I want to miss out on something that increases my enjoyment and passion for singing. And I’m sure the right voice training can only be a good thing.

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