How to Find Your Musical Voice

So you’re doing your normal thing driving to work or hanging out with friends, and music is playing in the background. You notice it back there, but you don’t really think much of it.

Suddenly a guitar solo begins and it catches your attention. “Hey I know that sound!” you think to yourself as you recognize Jimi Hendrix wailing the solo from “All Along the Watchtower”.

It’s very easy to recognize someone’s speaking voice. You can recognize your best friend’s voice over the phone or that guy from the annoyingly catchy jingle on TV.

Each person has a unique “sound” to their voice as well as a personality – in the form of phrases and inflection – to go with it. If you knew someone well enough, you might hear a phrase and say, “Oh, so and so would say that.”

Recognizing a musician is no different. Guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, George Benson, B. B. King, and Pat Metheny are instantly recognizable when you hear them play.

You don’t have to hear them speak with their mouths in order to recognize them. Ever wondered why that is? Whether or not you are hearing them talk or play, you are hearing their VOICE.

Think about when people talk politics, you may hear about a crowd or a person having a “voice”. They are talking about a stance, opinion, and attitude, right? Music is no different.

Your voice in music is your stance, opinion, and attitude in a musical context. Of course, we can also talk about tone and other characteristics, but we’ll save that for later.

A great guitar player speaks his mind through a guitar instead of his mouth.

Remember, instruments themselves do nothing.

Any instrument: a piano, saxophone, or harmonica is just a means to express oneself. They are simply different “voicings” of one’s voice.

Have you found your own voice?

Let’s say you’re in a music store when a guy picks up a bass and lays down a solid bass line.

Regardless of whether you like it or think it sucks, you feel a certain way about it. You could jump on any instrument in the whole store to add your two cents (musically, of course).

You don’t need to know how to play a single instrument to join the conversation.  All you need to do is feel something.

So where DO the pros get their voices from? They all originate from the same source: inside of each one of them.

You see, each person’s mind is like a radio transmitter that emits and receives signals. “Whaat?! MY MIND IS A RADIO TRANSMITTER?! Stay with me here.

Think back to the music store. When you actively listen (not just hear) to the guy’s bass line, you begin to receive a signal – kind of like a “station” being broadcast inside of you.

You don’t have to THINK of what to play, the station is already playing it!

Cool huh? Your job is just to tune in to it.

The pros are tuned into their stations, and have found their voices.

Have you? Leave a comment and let me know.

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