More like: “Authentic Voice”
When I was learning to sing, there was such an emphasis on having a “pretty voice.” Friends would compliment me on such a thing. Opera singers had “beautiful” voices. But how many “pretty” voices do you hear when you turn on the radio? What about some of your favorite songs? Are they sung with “pretty” sounds?
What makes a song great? What makes a singer great? Well, there are many elements that go into these successes, but I believe that one quality is consistent with greatness.
A singer’s job, really, is to tell a story. Through music. The music has to interest us, and so does the voice that tells it. And we are left with the story. If there is even a hint of fakeness, or inauthenticity, we sense it.
Of course, we don’t really want to hear caterwalling, either, or be knocked over the head with overwhelmingly unpleasant sounds. We also probably don’t *want* to see violence in movies, either, but if the unpleasantness serves the story, furthers the plot, and comes from the heart of the teller, we stay with them. There is a moving experience, and there is art.
As a teacher, I don’t necessarily teach students to be “pretty.” I help them to find their true, authentic voices, so they can be successful musical storytellers. This is what matters. I listen to the likes of Tom Petty, Adele, Prince, Aretha Franklin, or Alice in Chains not for their beauty, but for the power in their voices. Their passion. Their uniqueness. I also listen to Renee Fleming or Joan Sutherland — with their beautiful voices — for the same reason.
Do not strive to be pretty. Be real. (But if your sounds *are* pretty? Own them!)
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