Lately I've been rebuilding my voice. It's not that my voice "went away," or anything -- but the truth is, when you spend the majority of your time teaching online and making content, you don't tend to your voice with the diligence it deserves.
So I've been working almost daily with my favorite warmups and techniques, and it re-occurred to me just how important ALIGNMENT is.
An aligned voice feels and sounds good. A misaligned voice feels and sounds not-so-good.
But alignment is more than just physical. It is also emotional and mental.
Alignment also means: relaxing into where you are, warts and all.
Alignment on a physical level is straightforward. It means: your body is working as one unit, and it's producing sound in a straight, unobstructed vertical line.
If you tilt your chin too far forward, or your posture caves in, or you don't engage your pelvis to support your torso, your alignment suffers, and technique gets wonky.
When I'm not "activated" or "aligned" this manifests as tension -- or it feels like the breath doesn't have a clear vertical shaft through which to express itself.
But! There's so much more to it!
Alignment also describes your vocal (1) honesty, (2) realness, (3) comfort level with who you are and where you are in the process.
What do I mean by that?
It basically means: don't worry about your idiosyncrasies, and stop wishing your voice could be everything.
Stop. Wishing. Your. Voice. Could. Be. Everything!
You weren't born to be everything, and neither was your voice.
An aligned voice is beautifully unique, and beautifully you. It feels like a natural extension of who you are -- no hiding, nothing put-on.
For example: Lately I've kind of been struggling to sing bigger vowels near my passaggio (or break). I'm building up my muscle memory again, and I can get close -- but in general, I have limitations.
Namely, I have a freaking small mouth. I just do. This is an anatomical fact. Pile on years of jaw clenching and I encounter some struggles on the reg.
This therefore limits my articulation, and my ability to get the best mouth/palate shape -- so I have to be really deliberate about how I sing certain notes on certain vowels. I often have to vowel mod or adjust where I choose to "aim" the air.
In light of this, I could lament it -- or I could embrace it.
An un-aligned thought is: "ugh, my mouth is small."
An aligned thought is: "wow, this leads to some weird compensations, and actually makes my singing sound like ME."
This has been especially important for me to consider as I write and record my first album of original music (weeeeeee!). As I'm singing my own lyrics and interpreting them, there are inevitably challenging moments.
The challenging moments lead to interesting solutions -- and really creative, expressive vocals.
So stop freaking out if you have points of weakness, or if your voice isn't fully developed to what it "should" be (spoiler alert: there is no ultimate "should").
You can still enjoy the singing journey, even as you pursue a freer, more technically proficient destination!
I hope this anecdote about vocal "alignment" (physical, emotional, mental) serves you well.
Sending you encouraging thoughts and a gentle reminder to RELAX!! YOU'RE GREAT.