I am my instrument. It's a big responsibility to care for the voice. And honestly, I feel there have been years that have slipped by when I scarcely sang, and engaged in a range of unhealthy or stressful behaviours that can leave a voice broken. These years reflect immaturity and a lack of emotional integration. But we are human, the voice is human. And these experiences of life offer value in other areas of growth and acceptance.
When I sing now, I hear in myself a compassionate and open sound. I also have much more patience. (Insert cricket sounds here.) This has been a vacant department in my Type A personality. Insistent, always in a hurry, I felt like my practice time was a workout session which would bring forth a lot of repetition and very little thoughtfulness. However this has slowly been changing for me as I engage in more meditation and in exercise, namely running. Feeling my muscles go through rigorous, but thoughtful training has brought fruitful rewards, new experiences, and a new appreciation for my vocal organ. Anything is possible with our amazing human body!
I have also spent some time on more peripheral approaches such as studying anatomy and acquiring very old singing instructional books from the greats like Manuel Garcia, Lamperti, Frederick Husler and Yvonne Rodd-Marling, and more modern authors like Starke, Peter T. Harrison, and the generous teachers and vocalists on social media that so willingly share their process and growth of the most sophisticated of instruments- the voice.
The development of the voice takes time, so be patient with your process. It's important to recognize singing as athletic first and foremost. After that we focus on the score, composers intent, and our personal interpretation. But there is so much subtlety within our bodies, within the tiniest muscle fibres in our vocal organ that can be used to benefit and colour the sound. Take your time in practice and enjoy the growth and process. Just like in training for a big race, the race itself is merely a coming together and celebration of all your training. So too in sharing our sound, we are engaged in a celebration of our effort and love of music.