Living Vocally: Discovering Your Authentic Self Through Voice Work
When our voices are silenced, when we are not encouraged to take up space, and when our voices do not align with our true being, we may feel blocked from stepping into our full, authentic self expression. A pivotal part of our identity and our ability to live authentically in this world is our voice.
The voice is often an overlooked aspect of our identities, however, the voice is connected to our central nervous system, our emotions, and our thoughts. The sound of our voice creates speech, communication, words, expression, joy, and laughter. Our voices help us communicate with others. Our inner voice helps us connect with ourselves.
Voice exploration is self exploration. Since voice is so closely tied to our identities, we cannot separate our voices from ourselves. Authenticity may be explored through voice work and through self love and acceptance through many means of art and expression.
My journey to living vocally began with identifying the loss of my true voice and true self. It came with the courage of breaking free of what others perceived about me. When I began to release thoughts and beliefs that no longer served me, I began to see my true self being reflected back to me in my mirror of self love. My inner voice began to tell me thoughts filled with loving kindness. Through singing and voice work, I was able to find my voice, my confidence, and myself again.
Can you visualize yourself literally stepping into your true, authentic self expression? What do you see? Free of expectations, limiting beliefs, pressure? What would that look like for you?
I see power. I see passion. I see confidence. I see laughing. I see joy.
Our voices, our gender identities, and our pronouns, are as different as we are as people. This is your unique journey. No two people are exactly the same. There is no “one size fits all” voice, and our voice may change over time as our identity evolves.
Where and how do I start exploring my authentic voice?
Each vocal journey begins with self exploration: begin to journal about who you are at your core, without labels and expectations. If you could describe who you are at your essence, what words come to mind? These are your essence words. Your essence words describe your authentic self. For each of these words, what qualities might you expect to hear in your voice?
Begin to visualize your true, authentic self. Set an intention and goals for your vocal journey. Begin to visualize what you will see, hear, and feel when you are speaking or singing with your authentic voice.
Practice self love and loving kindness every step of the way, and know that your authentic voice is already inside of you.
You may begin to gently explore pitch by going “mmhmm” and seeing where your voice wants to take you. You can try a pitch glide on a “hum” or on an open vowel. Where do you feel the least amount of resistance in your voice? Where do you feel the least amount of tension? Which part of your pitch range makes you feel euphoria, happiness, confidence, bliss?
You may begin to explore body language, facial expression, tone of voice, and intonational patterns, and find what feels authentic for you.
Your voice and authenticity matters because you matter. You deserve to be seen and heard. You deserve to feel whole. The world is a better place with you in it, and you being your authentic self is a gift to those around you.
Wherever you are on this journey, I want to celebrate your true, beautiful self this pride month, and every month. I stand with you today and always.
Heather Gross, MS CCC-SLP is a voice therapist, vocologist, and singing voice teacher with an emphasis on working with the gender expansive community and professional voice users. Heather's practice primarily focuses on providing a safe and affirming space for her clients to explore their authentic selves through voice work. She has experience coaching professional voice users including Broadway actors, comedians, television and film actors, voice over artists, and professional singer-songwriters. With additional training in mindfulness and transformational life coaching, Heather provides holistic voice coaching, helping her clients create their authentic voice, in order to create their authentic lives.
MS, Speech Language Pathology, Columbia University
BA, Speech and Hearing Sciences, George Washington University
Certificate in Vocology, The National Center for Voice and Speech
Certificate in Transformational Coaching, Coaching Therapist Institute
Certificate in Yoga and Mindfulness Teaching
20+ years vocal performance experience
10+years of voice teaching experience
Owner of Live Vocally Virtual Voice Studio