What are you willing to do to get your voice healthy and keep it healthy?
I mean, REALLY.
And what is vocal health anyway?
First, and foremost, vocal health is about BUILDING THE INSTRUMENT correctly. This does not happen with wishful thinking or desire, this means investing in yourself on every level - learning HOW this instrument is put together, finding a teacher that knows how to build an instrument, dedicating yourself to regular lessons, developing vocabulary and knowledge about pedagogy and physicality, and then finding out what YOUR instrument needs and being prepared to COMMIT to that need.
This is easier said than done. Vocal health and voice development is not an easy fix, but rather a lifetime of dedication. There is nothing instant about this process. It demands a certain psyche - emotional and psychological - to truly commit to this journey. And it also requires a physicality that is capable to meet this work reliably.
Many singers deal with vocal issues along the journey - some more than others - but, again, are you willing to COMMIT to deal with them? Truly acknowledge them? Find out what they are, why they are, how they are - and what to do about it?
THIS IS KEY. Often, I see singers go into self-denial about what their voice needs, what it is BEGGING for. Self-denial vocally is a form of stress management of course, but if the issues are not addressed, it might be too late to recover from them.
How dedicated are you to discovering, developing, and CLAIMING YOUR VOICE? What are you willing to do?
Don't compare yourself to others - it's YOUR voice. Comparing is another way of deflecting the responsibility you need to address for your own path. It's too easy to say "well, so-and-so has never had to deal with any problems, why is it always me?" That is a cop-out. So-and-so has NOTHING to do with YOUR voice, YOU have everything to do with your voice. YOU AND YOU ALONE.
You have to come to some decisions about what you settle for and what you work toward. If you are settling, then that is yours. Settling is passive; if you talk about claiming your voice and never DO it, that is passive too...and if you decide that is all you can do, then claim THAT reality and deal with where you are. NOBODY can do it for you!
If you decide you truly want to commit to this journey - I mean, TRULY - then you have to realize what it will demand of you! And in that realization, you have to decide whether you have the emotional and psychological strength and determination to find out where it takes you and what you are made of; whether you have the physical stamina to meet the demands as best you can; and what you are willing to SACRIFICE to claim it ALL.
You cannot DO everything you might want to do when you are building your voice, or when you are repairing it. You have to make deliberate choices to allow for the best situation for your voice. You may need to take several months or more to discover the truth about your voice - what makes it work, how to build it, how to repair it. It might take longer than several months. Are you prepared to commit to that? Are you willing to find a teacher to really discover this? Are you prepared to turn down work for the sake of your vocal health? Are you willing to invest in the lessons, the time? Are you willing to put your vocal health FIRST??? Even if it means seeing a largyngologist regularly, taking TRUE vocal rest when needed, not trying to do everything, which in the end, might result in nothing?
NO ONE can answer this but YOU. THE FULL RESPONSIBILITY lies in YOU. Do you have the guts to find it? That is ultimately what it will take - guts, and passion and TRUE COMMITMENT - not talk and no walk. LIVE YOUR CRAFT. Or don't, and find out where else you could be. You only get one voice. That's it. If it's truly TRULY important to you to have it work for a lifetime, then is it asking too much to take the time to TRULY discover it and discover what it needs? The time for FULL DISCOVERY is not a sacrifice, but rather a TRUE investment. The sacrifice would be if you choose to not commit to it, and lose it. And you spend the rest of your life wondering "what if..."
Susan Eichhorn Young
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
If you liked this post, please share it or comment with your thoughts below!