5 Ways to Instantly Reclaim Your Voice

singwithyoursoul

Your chops growing a little rusty? Been a while since you let out your best roar? When feeling detached from yourself, it can be tough to re-find center. And while there’s a time for stewing and a time for silence, there is too much power inherent in words for you to not share a few of your own.  Time to take back your voice and use it for good.

1. Come clean with yourself. Have you been completely honest with yourself as of late? Perhaps that metaphorical lump in your throat has to do with a personal wrestling match with a truth you would prefer to remain unsaid. When it looks like you’re the only one getting tired from those endless bouts, it may be time to sit down and bring the tough stuff to light. Ask yourself what has been a source of struggle and then listen. Refuse to censor yourself. The answer may be unexpected or a no-brainer. But the newfound clarity can help you decide how to proceed.

2. 10 Word Manifesto. You have ten words to describe yourself  – only. What would they be? Take a look at your list and see if you would like to swap out any for a new characteristic. While you cannot be all things for all people, you can certainly be the absolute best version of yourself. And you get to define what that is as often as you like.

3. Break your pattern. This one takes a healthy dose of love in the face of fear. There’s no shame in getting pulled into old habits, but thinking that negative habits are all that define you spurs self-doubt in even the toughest of folks. Speak to someone new, tell a friend something they would never guess about you, journal to your heart’s content. Remember to approach the “new” with graciousness, to thank it for the specks of fear it instills right before the breakthrough into the light.

4. Know that nothing is permanent. This includes success, disappointment, difficulty or ease. We are ever in a state of flux. Assume that everything in your life has the ability to change tomorrow – because in reality, it does.

5. Your soul is your best instrument. Discover what lights you up from head to toe and celebrate it. It’s undeniable that passion is the greatest force for true expression. Without it, the world is washed in multitudes of gray. Start small, keep your eyes open and notice when you feel pulled towards something – an artist, a place, a feeling, a future yet known. Ready, set, follow.

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What Goes Around Comes Around: Here We Go ‘Round the Song Cycle

Song cycle: a group of songs designed to be performed in a sequence as a single entity. As a rule, all of the songs are by the same composer and often use words from the same poet or lyricist.

The song cycle is one of my favorite mediums for witnessing a collection of musical work. A set of story songs is as satisfying as a tapas dinner. You get a taste of everything, you leave feeling like you learned something new. Without a libretto, the song cycle depends on the music to tie the show into a cohesive evening. This unity is often underlined by musical themes that weave their way back into the work.

But perhaps what’s most impressive is how lyrics are now thrust into the spotlight to stand on their own. There is no longer a text surrounding the work, or breaks between songs to help move one from the beginning of a story to its end. Lyrics must carry new weight.

Songs For A New World: abstract musical/theatrical song cycle with the central theme: “the moment of decision.”

Taste of what’s inside:

“God knows it’s easy to hide,
Easy to hide from the things that you feel 
And harder to blindly trust 
What you can’t understand 

God knows it’s easy to run,
Easy to run from the people you love 
And harder to stand and fight 
For the things you believe”
– I’d Give it All For You

Closer Than Ever:  A meditation on urban life through the lens of real individuals’ experiences with security, aging, mid-life crisis, second marriages, working couples, and unrequited love.

Taste of what’s inside:

“If I sing you are the music.
If I love you taught me how.
Every day your heart is beating
in the man that I am now.

If my ears are tuned to wander.
If when I reach the chords are there.
When there is joy in making music,
it’s a joy that we both share.”
– If I Sing

Myths and Hymns: Song cycle by Adam Guettel, based on Greek myth and lyrics found in an antique hymnal. It concerns the relationship of humans to gods, past and present.

Taste of what’s inside:

“I don’t know what I hunger for,
I don’t know why I feel the hunger more
And more with every passing day.
I don’t know from where the hunger springs,
But that it’s there and that it sings of someplace far away.”
– Saturn Returns

Even in these moments, do you notice the repetition? The words ground themselves: “God knows…”, “If…”, “I don’t know…”. These simple phrases reinforce the idea that a song does not need to be verbose to hit home. These song cycles are memorable because they feature honest human stories told simply, an utterly effective means of storytelling.

What’s your favorite way to hear a story?

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