Transformational Voice as a System of Principles, Techniques and Methodologies
Transformational Voice is first and foremost a system (defined as a dynamic process with inputs, processing and output). This system is iterative. Every time one journeys through it, knowledge and skill deepen and become more embodied.
Transformational Voice Techniques come down to us through centuries of Italian Operatic tradition. They were passed to Founder Linda Brice by her Master Teachers, who included some of the greatest artists of their time.
Principles, Techniques and Methodologies are all inputs into the mind, body, heart and soul of the vocalist. The output is free and beautiful singing, clear, authentic and powerful speech, and the personal growth and transformation of consciousness that leads to living an authentic life, aligned with one’s true nature and purpose.
Our System is physical, metaphysical, and holistic. Vocalism utilizes the body as its vehicle to produce sound. It is therefore subject to the structure and physical condition of the body, as well as those physical laws that the body’s respiratory and phonation systems are aligned with.
As a metaphysical entity, the voice in some mysterious way perfectly mirrors the inner nature and temperament of the vocalist. Learning to read the reflection in the mirror of the voice thus becomes an unparalleled vehicle for inner personal growth, with the resultant rise in awareness of one’s true nature. This too is a system, and we call this technique “The Double Mirror.”
The Transformational Voice System is process- rather than product-driven. We believe that a beautiful voice is a by-product of a process of freeing the self; that the vocal journey is in actuality a journey of finding one’s authentic and true nature that is mirrored by the voice. This process raises one’s awareness of how the body aligns and attunes itself to the laws of physics that affect sound. It will also bring the vocalist into awareness of their fear, and enable them to develop skills that transcend this fear. Developing a healthier relationship with fear is one of the greatest benefits of study of the System!
The System is a synthesis of many approaches and disciplines—a fusion of the western singing tradition with eastern meditative practice. It is organically and generically spiritual but emphatically non-religious, enabling anyone of any religious tradition or affiliation to feel comfortable. The breath-based, meditative skills learned enable vocalists to speak or sing freely – and thus beautifully—and to transcend performance anxiety. The system is logical, sequential, learnable, and teachable.
The system is also generic, broad, and flexible. It can be applied to either the singing or speaking voice, for male or female vocalists, at any level of training or experience, for professionals or non-professionals, for people who feel they are talented or not, at any age, for any voice type, and applied to any style of singing. Anyone who studies the system will improve from where they started.
Because we acknowledge Source’s role within artistic process, and we are also process-oriented, our System is better suited to a private setting rather than a traditional college, university, or conservatory. We do not administer juries, require theses, or grant degrees in voice performance. We do not provide vocational training for the music business, but what we teach may enable a person to survive and even thrive in it. We are most interested in effecting change in vocalism as demonstrated by results. The results we’re interested in facilitating are a free, authentic and easily produced voice that is inherently beautiful, and that can perform in any style the vocalist desires.
Transformational Voice emanates from a deep philosophical basis. Those Principles form the matrix within which Transformational Voice lives. Some of these Principles are readily discernable from reading materials on this website. Of primary importance are these fundamental ones:
- Singing well is the birthright of every person.
- Everyone has an Authentic Voice, which emerges when one produces sound in alignment with physiology and in attunement to the physical laws that operate over breathing and phonation.
- Anything we hear in the voice of a musical person that is not beautiful is not a property of the Authentic Voice; it is instead the sound of muscular tension, which is a symptom of fear.
- Fear is the ever-present companion of the vocalist. It is food for the Inner Critic, which holds us hostage.
- The primary purpose of singing is spiritual, even for professionals. When we forget this, singing primarily for ego or money, we open ourselves up to the judgment of our Inner Critic and of others. We lose ourselves in the process. The result is suffering.
Transformational Voice Technique is itself a system with many sub-parts. At the highest level, we can describe the process as “The Cycle of Breath-Based Vocalization.”
The cycle provides a holistic A to Z path of vocal technique that is iterative in nature. The cycle covers every aspect of vocalism. However, we are never through learning. Each journey through the cycle deepens our awareness of the body/mind/heart/spirit interconnections; each iteration deepens our relationship with our Authentic Voice; each repetition expands our awareness of the way in which the vocal spiritual path leads us out of our suffering and misery and into an appreciation of the connection to Source that we feel in the moment we are vocalizing.
Our Methodologies are grounded in our Principles. They enable the Techniques to activate.
Because our vocal technique is viewed as a system upon which the singer “aligns and attunes,” all vocal problems are viewed as a lack of this alignment and attunement – NOT an inherent flaw of the singer or the singer’s voice! There are no vocal problems for which there is not an answer in our System. Singers find that this liberates them from shame, enables them to develop a healthy positive self-esteem around their singing, and also encourages curiosity and exploration. Although there is an answer for every problem, this does not mean that every problem a singer experiences is automatically solved. The singer themselves must bring qualities of openness, maturity, desire for change, passion, and commitment to the process. All change takes time.
Along with many strategies for solving specific vocal problems, our teaching methods include the Practice of Inquiry, as taught by Linda Brice’s teacher Rosalind Diamond, who herself is a teacher in The Ridhwan School. The Ridhwan School is the center of the teachings of AH Almaas, the author of some 28 books on mindfulness and spirituality. Inquiry is one of the central practices of The Ridhwan School. It is the practice of allowing questions to emerge from one’s curiosity, and then learning to recognize the answers as they arise in the field of awareness. Those answers often emerge from the body’s innate intelligence, and are experienced as physical sensations. This part of Inquiry is called “Embodied Sensing” and is central to our Methodologies within our holistic system.