Your Voice Mirrors Your Emotions

Your voice mirrors how you feel.

Your voice reveals how you feel. It’s a pure reflection of your emotional state, and working with your voice can help you transform old luggage and lift your spirit.

Your voice communicates your emotions

You already know this. The moment you connect to a close friend by phone, you have an idea of his/her state of mind. Is she happy, content, worried, tired…? It’s all revealed in a split second in the voice.

Your voice connects your inner world with the outer world; it’s your channel of communication. That becomes very interesting when you start noticing how you’re using your voice. How do you speak? Is your voice hard or soft, does it have depth and lightness? Notice the subtle changes in your voice from day to day and even within the day. All depending on your mood and energy levels.

You can then begin to make small changes that will lead to good voice habits. If your voice is quite hard or high pitched, it could be beneficial to soften it. It goes both ways; if you can find a way to mellow, your voice will follow suit.

Use your voice to lift your spirit

I believe that working with your voice can change your life. It has certainly changed mine. You see, your voice will allow you to reconnect with your emotional state in a very pure way. When you become aware of how you truly feel, you can start working with your emotions. And from there, you can start lifting your spirit.

The thing is that no matter where you are on the “mood scale”, you can use your voice to make life lighter. If you’re working through heavier things, singing is an amazing tool for transformation.

Here are a few ways you can use your voice to grow:
  • If you’re feeling quite up and down (depending on what’s going on around you), use your voice as an anchor to ground you.
    Work in the lower area of your voice close to your speaking voice. You can sing or read a poem aloud… allow yourself to be creative and use your voice as it makes sense in the moment.
  • When feeling low, you can give yourself the gift of a song. That way, you’re letting yourself be with your feelings (instead of running away from them), and though it can seem like a painful place to go sometimes, this is also where magic happens.
    As the expression goes: Short term pain, long term gain.
    Being with your emotions can lead to acceptance, and acceptance can lead to transformation.
    Once your emotions/feelings/luggage is transformed, your consciousness grows. You evolve.
  • If you feel stressed out, your voice can get hard and high pitched. It’s hard on the voice and hard on the body to be in the red zone. See if you can stop your activities (no matter how important they may seem; there’s always more stuff that needs to be done), breathe a bit and hum your favourite song.
    Start by singing tiny tones and then sing with a bit more volume when you feel more calm. That way, you’ll allow your voice to naturally balance itself.
    Good news: It’s not possible to feel stressed out and sing at the same time.
  • Too overwhelmed to sing? That’s ok. Just breathe. And you can release a lot even by listening to good singers.
    Luciano Pavarotti is a good example of a singer who sings with a balanced voice and expresses emotions freely.
  • It’s also absolutely magical to sing when you are ecstatic with joy. Maybe something amazing happened in your life, maybe you’re in love, or maybe you’re completely high from singing! Enjoy this part of life and celebrate with a song that you love.

Your voice is full of “colours” that are unique to you, and everything that you ever needed to express yourself freely is already there.

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell 2020
© Photo by Sean O’Farrell

Feel free to leave questions / comments.

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Know Your Voice Type

Knowing your voice type gives you more vocal freedom.

It makes all the difference to know your voice type, both when you sing and speak. When you respect the acoustics of your body, your voice will feel at home.

Your voice is an instrument

Everytime you speak or sing, you are using an instrument, the voice. It’s unique to each person with different vibrations and “colours”, but overall the voice types fall into just three categories each for men and women.

Even if you don’t sing at all, knowing your voice type and working with it can be essential to making the most of your speaking voice. If you speak in a way that fully respects the acoustics of your body (I’ll tell you how in a moment!), your expression can be fully authentic – because you speak like you.

The three voice types

To understand the three voice types better, think of a violin, a cello and a contrabass.
The violin has strings on a small wooden box, and when you play the strings with a bow, the sound will be high pitched. The cello, having a larger box, will have a lower resonating sound, and the bass, being larger still, will sound low.
The voice is exactly the same.

Sopranos (f) and tenors (m) are the highest voices, mezzosopranos (f) and barytones (m) are the medium voices and contraltos (f) and basses (m) are the lowest voice types.
This is all because the sound of your voice will resonate according to how your body is built.

Imagine a violin sounding like a low bass. Or the other way around. It’s not good…! Not only because it’s hard work – and maybe even physically impossible – but because it’s not considering the acoustics of the instrument.

What’s your voice type?

The first clue to find out what voice type you have could be to see what kind of instruments you are attracted to. Are they low or high or somewhere in between? High pitched guitar or low bass? It can be within all kinds of music.
I have for example always had a strong connection with the cello, which is not strange as I’m a mezzosoprano!

You can also take a look at your body frame (when I say “frame”, it’s because we’re not regarding what sits on your frame here!) Is it slim, medium or compact?
I often see violin players who have slim wrists, which means they are sopranos playing a soprano instrument. What a beautiful connection!

Wheather you sing or not, you can start noticing how you use your voice. Where do you feel most comfortable speaking or singing? High or low or somewhere in between? Notice where your voice feels at home. And most importantly, honour your voice and the signals you are getting. If your voice gets tired when you’re speaking or singing, some adjustments are needed to maintain a healthy voice. A good voice teacher can help you with that.

Happy Singing – and speaking!

© Nína O’Farrell 2020
Photo by Simon Leonardo

Feel free to leave questions / comments.

Your Voice Is a Gift

Your voice is a special gift and it's ready to be used!

Singing is something we can all do at any time. It’s an amazing way to reconnect with ourselves, lift our vibration level and create waves of joy in and around us.

Cultivate your voice

We’re all carrying around this great instrument that’s just waiting to be of service.

The voice is the first instrument that ever existed, and it’s nice to think that our ancestors used their voices in their lives, their cultures. As a way of expressing, entertaining and tapping into something that goes far beyond time…

The good news is that to get started singing or to cultivate your voice, you don’t need any special qualities or lots of volume. You just need you!

A great way to start singing is to use your voice in everyday activities; washing the dishes becomes more fun when you sing one of your favourite songs.
Just look at how good children are at singing in all kinds of situations, and you’ll find plenty of inspiration there!

Singing is natural

The more you sing, the more natural it will feel. And the benefits of singing are many. It’s impossible to feel stressed out when you are singing; it creates an instant feeling of well-being and it’s an amazing way to reconnect with yourself.
When you are true to yourself – and your voice – you can express yourself authentically. What a powerful way to grow.

Singing can be like taking an inner shower, filling your body with tone vibrations that simply make you feel good.

So where do you begin? There’s great quality in keeping it simple when you sing. In fact, singing starts with the core of your voice, the tiniest tones, and from there you can do anything. Here’s an exercise to help you on your way:

Exercise: Tone meditation

Sit comfortably and take a few minutes noticing how you breathe. Just observe your breathing, there’s no need to change it.

As you tune into your body, relaxing more, your breathing might slow down. Let your body be heavy, relax your shoulders. There is nothing to carry right now. Relax your neck. Nothing to control. Just breathe.

Whenever you are ready, you can start humming tiny tones at the end of exhaling. Just like waves; breathe in, let go, and hum a tone as an extension of exhaling. Breathe in again, breathe out and hum a new tone. Continue like that.
The point is to follow your body’s breathing rhythm and add tones at the end of exhaling.
Let your focus be on making the tones as tiny as possible. It’s like threading a tiny needle.

The tones can be completely random – see if you can let go of any idea of a melody and if it feels comfortable you can include tones from all areas of your voice; high tones, middle tones and low tones.

This is the core of your voice.

Finish your meditation by taking a deep breath in and let go. One more deep breath in and let go. And one more deep breath in and let go.

Your voice is a gift. I encourage you to use it ♡

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell, 2020
Photo: Emiliano Arano

Feel free to leave questions / comments

Singing Is Healing

Singing can heal your heart.

Let singing be part of your everyday life and enjoy benefits such as well-being, inner peace and joy.

Transform your life

I started working with my voice almost 20 years ago. Yet, I’m still amazed how singing has an ability to transform. It can change your mood and instantly lift the vibrational level – starting with the small things that happen in everyday life, and the many small things then become part of the bigger picture that you shape your life with. And your life gets better. You grow.

Singing is also a profound way of healing the wounds that we all carry. Things that we’ve experienced, people that have hurt us, and the times when we’ve hurt other people. We can express this pain through singing, be with it, accept it and let it go.

That’s where empowerment begins. We stop being victims of our lives, and become captains on our own ships. Singing and empowerment are so closely linked together, because there is a direct link between our voices and our souls.

The good life

Our emotions and state of mind go up and down, it’s all part of being human. Life can be bussy some times. That’s okay. But if you find yourself getting worked up because there’s too much going on around you, it’s time for a break. Feeling stressed – as many people do these years – equals a low life quality.

What is success really? For me, it’s living the life that you want. To dream big and take small steps towards your dream but most of all to enjoy everyday life.

If you are overly bussy, singing can bring you back to centre, back to the place where you feel in balance. It’s impossible to feel stressed out when you sing.
You’ll give youself the strength to move on from where you are and make the changes in your life that need to be done. Weather it is to take full responsibility for your situation and enjoy the ride or to change your path.

Bring singing into your everyday life

So how can you use singing in your everyday life? Back to the small things, the small steps. I’ll give you some examples for inspiration:

  • Begin the day with a song. It will give you a good start of the day.
  • Bring a blanket into the garden (if you don’t have a garden, find a nice place in your home) and treat yourself to some singing. If you know some songs by heart, great, otherwise print out some songs that you really like and enjoy yourself.
  • If you live close to nature, get out there and sing. It doesn’t have to be anything big, even a bit of humming will create well-being in and around you.
  • If you feel worried or anxious, let your voice assist you to get back on track. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable sitting down and singing, but you can easily bring it into your daily activities by humming while you do the laundry or singing while you do the dishes. Bringing your home into order and singing is a great combination.
  • If you have or know any children, sing with them. There’s so much joy in that.

Here’s my idea for you: Sing every day for the next week, and see what a change it makes in your life. Sing alone, sing together, sing when you’re happy, sing when you’re sad. You will lift yourself up, and if any part of you needs space to heal, you’ll know. Celebrate with singing.

And when you do sing, see if you can just be happy with your voice and not worry about what it sounds like. The point is that you express yourself freely, and critisism is not needed in that process.
Bye bye, judgement.

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell 2020
Photo by Pixabay

Feel free to leave questions / comments.

Learn a Song by Heart

You’re just about to let loose in one of your favorite songs. But oops, the lyrics are gone! This blog gives you some tips to learn a song by heart.

The voice is a talking instrument

One of the great things about singing is that mind, body and soul are in full swing at the same time.
When you sing, you can express deep emotions and even transform them.

The words of a song give body and meaning to music. An added dimension.
You are carrying this great instrument that is the only instrument that has words! So you might as well give yourself the present of learning a few songs by heart – to be enjoyed by you and those around you for a long time to come.
There’s great freedom in that.

Tip #1: Whisper the lyrics

You can really connect with the lyrics when you let go of the melody for a while. Try reading the lyrics out loud and then whisper them. Notice the difference. Whisper quietly and listen to the words. You’re creating a deeper connection to the lyrics, and connecting the meaning of the words to yourself. This is a great foundation for expressing your song.

Tip #2: Break up the song

If learning a song by heart seems a bit overwhelming, commit yourself to learning just a little bit every day. E.g. Day one could be a good day to learn the chorus. Day two repeat the chorus and add verse 1. Day three repeat verse 1 and the chorus, add verse 2, and so on.

Pay extra attention to the small, less significant words (e.g. that/this, of/at etc.) – they need a bit more repetition.
Before you know it, you’ll know the song by heart!

Tip #3: Express the lyrics

Say the lyrics out loud as if you are talking to a friend.
Now, play with the words. If you’re an introvert, this is the part where you can challenge yourself.
Add a bit of drama, exaggerate the expression of the song (what exaggerate means to you will of course depend on your temper). E. g. if the lyrics have a sad theme, sense the sadness in your voice, if it’s a romantic song, create a romantic mood. Be melancholic, joyous, seductive… Whatever you feel the song calls for.
See if you can get a bit out of your comfort zone. If it feels a bit awkward or out of character, you’re doing well!

Tip #4: Write down the lyrics

If you are a visual person, you might learn the lyrics best by writing them down. This will also make the lyrics more personal for you as you see the words in your own writing. You will eventually express the song in a way that only you can do it.

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell 2020
Photo by Negative Space

Feel free to leave questions / comments.

Be Happy with Your Voice

Be bold and brave like the robin; sing!

It’s time to remove a few road blocks for those of you who think you can’t sing. The fact is that everyone can sing, and it can bring so much joy into your life.

You can sing

Yes, you can. Just like drawing or dancing, singing is something you can learn. I would even argue that we can all sing to start with, but then often our culture or surroundings tell us otherwise. Or we choose not to cultivate that side of ourselves. But that’s a pity, because singing can be an endless well to joy, self-growth, empowerment and transformation.

Children sing a lot and they love their voices. Growing up, some become too conscious about singing or in the very worst case someone tells them that they can’t sing. Children mirror their surroundings, so if they grow up seeing that singing is embarrasing, that’s what they’ll pick up.
Or they could start changing their voices to imitate popular singers (which often has nothing to do with actual singing anyway).

So if you have some challenges with singing, a first step for you could be to take a moment to reflect on your relationship to singing, what you or others or society have told you about your voice and move on from that.

We’re on a path to more empowerment, more joy to share with others. And that’s what singing is.

What if you’re out of tune?

From time to time, I meet people who say I love to sing, but I know I don’t sing in tune. My experience is mostly that the people who are out of tune don’t realise it! If you are a reflective person and good at listening, you are probably doing pretty well.

Maybe there are some tones that you find difficult, it could be higher notes that you don’t use so often. They can be pitch perfect if you dedicate a bit of time to train your ears and your voice response.

Exercise: Tune Your Voice
A way to start getting your voice in tune is to quietly hum a simple song. It could be a children’s song, or some other music that you are very familiar with.
Sing low (close to your speaking voice), keep your voice very light. Then hum the song again a bit higher.
Now you can play with humming the song, each time starting at different pitches, e. g. low, then high, then somewhere in between… Don’t control your voice. Even if some of the tones are missing, your vocal chords are still working. Listen to the song inside of your head and let your body do the work.
If you hear that some tones sound out of tune, dive into those pitches for a while until they are in tune with your song.

NB! Singing should always be comfortable; if it’s easy, it’s healthy.

Be more creative

Singing is so versatile, there is no limit to your development and how and where you can use your voice.

On the days that are governed by a slight restlesness, I find that singing is a great way to reconnect with my soul. Your voice is always with you. And you can sing while you do the dishes, or the classics: In the shower and the car. I used to sing in harmony with our old vacume cleaner…

If you are really looking to recharge your batteries, sing in nature. There is great healing in singing by a waterfall or the sea shore.

The most beautiful thing about my work as a singing teacher is to help people discover their natural voices. When you hear the core of a voice, it’s like listening to someone’s soul. That’s the ultimate joy.

When you sing with your natural voice, you sing like you. And your voice is there, ready to be of service.

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell 2020
Photo by Radovan Zierik

Feel free to leave questions / comments.