Voice Lessons & Song
I was recently discussing voice lessons with a good friend of mine, and was inspired in a way I couldn’t have anticipated. We talked about syllables and enunciation, and how a mere straightening of the spine or loosened jaw alters sound. Good singers project sound like no one’s business, if they have the heart for it. When these singers truly sing, they emanate life’s energy.
Their voices are power, passion, and pain. They put their soul into those notes, carrying a message greater than themselves. The greater message is a shared one we can all revel, commiserate, or relax on hearing. Considering music’s profound impact on the human being, I’m not surprised Tolkien used the flowing of music as the source of Middle Earth’s creation by Eru. Nor am I surprised that many origin myths begin with life’s creation in symphony and song. Even the vernacular term for our universe’s birth is aural, the Big Bang.
Hearing & Listening
Even those of us without the sense of hearing can still feel the divine hum of life. Some of my favorite songs are those composed by nature. The music of the world is wind in the trees. It’s birds taking off in flight. It’s ocean waves on a seashore. It’s rainfall on leaves. Although I’m blessed enough to hear these things, they can also be seen and felt. Pounding hearts and placid lakes have their own sounds. These, too, can be felt.
Hearing isn’t just in the physical perception of sound, especially when that sound is divine. Active listening requires that one do more than use your ears. You must look at the people and world around you to truly engage with it. Watch the facial expressions and body language of people you communicate with. The same as it was with feeling the sounds of world is the same as reading people.
You’re not merely listening to words but pitch, tone, and inflection. All of these details require effort, thus the ‘active’ part of listening.
Paying attention to others’ messages is critical for success in love and life. Imagine working on a team project with little to no communication, one that flops or flourishes. The last thing you’d want is to suffer from misplaced blame on a failed project, or not receive the credit for your effort on a successful one. The same goes for the teamwork in a marriage, friendship or family. Our bonds of love, voluntary or not, need communication to grow in depth and strength.
Take into consideration what I’ve said about listening and hearing, and the magic of songs. Think of the messages you send others, directly or indirectly. I don’t just mean DMs on Twitter or Instagram. I mean those lingering glances you give someone. I mean the burst of laughter signifying a well-timed joke. I won’t go on and on, for I think you get the gist.
What if someone’s patient and persistent, and tries to get your attention? If it’s urgent, they might raise their voice or shout. There may be a large amount of volume required to to get their message across. What if that message isn’t outside of you? If the song–a world-making, universal message–in your heart, you proclaim it and share it with the world. Would you ever dare to to dampen the song within you? I certainly hope not.
About those voice lessons. One thing my friend mentioned was the warning of the voice coach, “Don’t whisper when you’re sick.” Now, my friend also mentioned that whispering damages your vocal ability. This struck an unexpected chord within me, so of course I did some research. Not only was the voice coach correct, but whispering actually damages most people’s voices. Odds are, whispers have already caused you traumatic strain.
I already believed in the damage from whispers. Who hasn’t felt the pain of losing your voice as your vocal cords rasp for sound? But what about the other whispers? Think of secrets shared, lies told, and the shreds of doubt which whisper within our minds. If the majority of us are not hardwired to whisper, we clearly are’t meant to live in hushed tones. Then it hit me: Only God should whisper.
He does this in our hearts, guiding us quietly to leave room for our free will to express itself. Unfortunately, His quiet persistence is often and easily ignored. When we don’t listen to God, we miscommunicate with life. This creates a disconnect with everything we do, often resulting in us dampening life’s divine messages.