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Communicating and Speaking Online: A "Singer" perspective...

Like many, I've spent much of the past year working and teaching online.

The need to switch work online meant that many of us have had to become very effective at online ways of communicating, and fast.

Who knew that trying to speak through a tiny laptop microphone, or a camera that falls off mid-meeting (while your 6-year old smashes something in the kitchen...ah thank goodness for mute), would put to test everything I knew about expressive, effective and purposeful voice use.

Meeting online, while fine for information transfer, skips the many nuanced ways that humans communicate - expressive voice skills that singers know very well (and can elevate our control of it when the need arises).

When we learn performance, for example, we develop facial expression, body language, pace and how to engage our listeners.

Add to that, we develop, improve and increase our awareness of tonal variation, our control of volume, pitch and resonance...the stuff that makes people listen.

Singers know how to change and control their voice to match the job at hand - whether it be to perform, to teach, to sing or to speak for a purpose or outcome.

If this is of interest, why not try the following simple tests to explore your own voice:

  • Explore pitch - Try a siren or vocal glide. Sound out the vowel "oo", then slide your voice upward (like a siren), and then back down.

  • Explore resonance by sounding out the same vowel "oo", and then alter how it sounds by changing the shape of your mouth. Notice what happens (and how you feel about it!).

  • Notice how you breathe when you speak (or sing). Is it quick, and reactive...or perhaps slow, and calm? Do you run out of air, or feel rushed?

  • Try applying pitch and resonance while speaking. Read this line out loud and apply changes to your pitch and resonance. Strange at first!

If this is of interest, seek out a Speech Pathologist or Spoken Voice Coach who specialises in this field to get started. Singing Lessons for this context focus on control, colour and add interest.

Singing, besides its many music and wellbeing related benefits, can enhance your awareness of vocal sound and voice control that can help develop your expression, tone/timbre (the quality of your vocal sound), pitch, tempo and pace, leading to more interesting ways to communicate over time and practice.

Dr. Veronica Stewart is our studio director, program researcher and lead voice trainer who has worked with singers, speakers, actors and fellow teaching professionals. For lessons with Vee, or any of our teachers, click here to book now or contact us for more information.

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