This is a cliché like the ones you hear on those ubiquitous TV talent shows, but I can’t remember a time when singing wasn’t part of my life. Although for me, that’s not strictly true – while I’ve been singing since I was quite wee, there were a few years of vocal wilderness around a decade ago. It started with a bad bout of bronchitis and progressed to surgery and vocal rehab. A combination of bad luck, stuck emotions and a lack of rest resulted in temporary disaster but would ultimately have a happy ending.
Singing and speaking are the main things I’ve always instinctively turned to in order to process my emotions and express who I am (not to mention how I made my money – supporting people mainly through talking). Being unable to really use these resources was both devastating and shame inducing. Who was I if not a singer and professional voice user, and what was I supposed to do with all these inconvenient feelings that had nowhere to go?
This is where I may get a little evangelical about the tools that helped me get back on track and that I now have a passion for sharing with others. The NHS took care of the physical aspect of repairing my vocal apparatus but I needed to address other factors and this is where I first encountered a psychological and body work approach to vocal coaching. At Noble House, I learned about vocal rehab, an understanding of trauma and conscious breath work. I knew it was the right place for me, and still my carefully crafted defence system fought this recovery process every step of the way… until it all started to fall into place. I made leaps and bounds as a singer and a human. I belted out impossibly cheesy songs in my bedroom until my flatmate and I had fits of emotional giggles about this new development. I talked about things I’d never talked about before and felt the improvements come thick and fast.
The obvious next step in this adventure was to start training as a practitioner. It’s been a long process and an eye opening one too. While this has been going on, I’ve continued with my job supporting young people through various challenges in their lives and later, managing a small team of wonderful people who do likewise. I’ve been, and continue to be involved in various bands and music projects. I believe that none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been encouraged by a friend to sort out my vocal problems. For most of us, our voices are one of the most important aspects of our identity and ability to participate in communities, to stand up to injustice and to express our feelings. I may be a little biased under the circumstances but I’d say that taking care of this aspect of self and being aware of how closely it’s connected to our emotional world and our health is of vital importance.
‘Tell your truth, find your voice, sing your song’ (Anon).