My daughter turns 10 today so in her honor, this post is dedicated to just a few of the voicing lessons she has taught me. I hope you find them useful as well.
- Tank up when you need to make big sounds. The beauty of a child’s body as they prepare to cry out is visceral and immediate. In those first few days of their life, I learned more about breathing than in the decade before.
- Your words have an impact. Speaking with a child especially my child has always seemed to me like speaking before a living mirror. You can see what you have created in real-time. This is wonderful and horrifying.
- Ask for what you need and expect it. This is a kid thing but surely all of us could stand to internalize it again maybe with a little adult polish.
- If your body is tight, dance it out. Children have little tolerance for the small physical discomforts we ignore. Mine has always used dance to make her body sound right.
- Have a Question. Be curious. Want to know more. Ask.
- There is security in silent breathing. Anyone with children can probably attest to the beauty inherent in hearing your child’s breathing — especially as they sleep. This is still my favorite meditation.
- Choose humor. Whenever possible find the joy in the room and share it.
- Everyone is welcome. The art of accepting everyone, at first glance, as worthy of invitation, conversation, and play. If not for my extrovert child, I would know far fewer of the exceptional people in my life.
- If you don’t know what to say yet, write it down or draw it out. Brilliant.
- Sing often and with others. The daily duets in my house are not just fun with the child but also a way to connect and commune with sound. It is a gift and I highly recommend it.
Happy Birthday, Dragon Child. Keep on roaring, mommy says you can.
Gina Razón is the principal voice specialist at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service voice and speech studio in Boston’s Back Bay. She has over 16 years of experience both as a teacher of voice and speech, and a voraciously curious voice user. Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker. For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.