Your Heart in Your Throat: The Anatomical Magic of Voice
I have almost infinite belief in the power of finding your voice.
It’s amazing to watch my students engage in vocal coaching for even a short period of time, and completely come out of their shells. Just through the act of learning to sing - or sing better - they end up with more self-awareness, loads more confidence, and even better overall health & wellness.
I’ve always felt there was something almost magical about voice.
Turns out, I was right!
We’ve already reviewed some of the biological elements of singing, but there’s a much larger picture to this unique art.
Have you ever noticed that when someone sings you can just tell what they’re feeling, how they’re thinking, and what’s going on for them? Singing is so evocative that it often makes us feel what the singer is feeling.
This seemingly magical phenomenon is actually a result of good old human anatomy.
The Anatomy of Voice
The neck and throat are pretty weird.
I mean, seriously: you have the brain, the epicentre of bodily control, on top of the neck. And then below it you have everything the brain’s responsible for. This one narrow, fragile pathway is the superhighway for all the lifelines of the body.
And you know what’s right smack in the middle of that highway? The larynx, aka the voice box, aka the place where singing comes from.
Essentially, because of its placement, the voice is able to encode information that’s being passed between the brain and the body. Our lifelines create footprints on our voice, and with those footprints we’re able to communicate our wants, needs, fears, joys and emotions.
This is what makes voice so telling of the physical, mental and emotional condition of the singer.
It’s also what makes something like singing a whole-body experience.
Taking Care of the Voice = Taking Care of the Whole Body
When someone comes to me for voice lessons, our work together is never isolated to just the larynx. Taking care of your voice is actually a full-body exercise.
Think about it - everything you’re thinking & feeling is imprinted on your voice as it moves on the lifelines between your brain and your body. If you want to have the greatest impact on your voice, you have to manage the whole picture, and pay attention to what’s going on from head to toe.
Physical conditioning, emotional maturity, and even spiritual work can be a part of maintaining a strong voice. Conversely, understanding how your voice works can have a huge impact on your overall health.
Part magic, part anatomy - the voice is what makes us beautifully, vulnerably and unmistakably human.