Open Wide

Think Like a Woman, Act Like a Woman
March 12, 2012
A Change is Gonna Come
March 26, 2012

There is a very funny phenomenon that happens when people first start taking voice lessons. They have a tendency to try to sing with their mouths closed! It’s a very strange thing. The whole point of lessons is to open up the instrument and learn how to let the voice soar. You would think if someone is willing to invest the time and money to actually take singing lessons it would be natural to open up and sing.  However, I have seen the contrary many, many times in my own teaching and watching other singers in master classes. Why is this so?

First, people are NOT AWARE they are not opening their mouths fully. Often when one sings with a partially closed mouth the voice actually sounds quite large on the inside. The sad truth is, however, the sound is getting trapped inside the singer’s body, rumbling around inside their throat, their mouth and their ears. It is not being projected out. As a result, the sound from the outside is small and muffled.

Secondly, in spite of the fact the student has invested in lessons and thus shown a genuine interest in learning to sing, they are AFRAID to let their voice out. Again, I have seen it many times, especially in young singers. The first time they open their mouth and let their voice really rip, they instinctively recoil at the bigness of their own sound.

Finally, a reason some singers do not open their mouths when they sing is they do not have the strength or coordination built up in their bodies to support their sound fully. Therefore, they are forced to “hold on” to their sound. They do not have the support mechanism in place to sustain the opening and project out. It is a technical and structural issue.

As budding business owners we are trying to find and project our voices too. Our stage is the marketplace. However, both the singer and the entrepreneur are trying to reach and entice their target audience. Like the voice student, we would not be in business if we did not have a genuine desire to learn the ropes and succeed as an entrepreneurs. However, our initial attempts at “singing out” can also be stymied by our inability to open wide and project out.

As business owners we too are unaware we are working with our mouths closed. We think because we have great ideas, we are busy, or we talk to our friends and families about our visions for success we are working full-throttle, but we are not. Our voice is rumbling around inside of us. We are busy planning, plotting and organizing, but we are not fully opening up and exposing our sound to our audience. It is not only self-indulgent to keep your sound locked inside, it is also a form of masochism. You are denying others your full potential and you are denying your own self actualization.

You must open your mouth to be heard.

As brand innovators we too are scared by the bigness of our own voice. The first time we let a glimmer of its essence escape our lips we recoil. Can we say those things? Can we be that strong? What will people think if I really say what I think? Will I make a fool of myself? Am I saying too much, asking too much, AM I BEING TOO LOUD? We too shut down scared by the potential strength of our message. However, once you have had the powerful rush of knowing your voice you cannot un-know it. You must choose. Either you turn your back on your sound or you acknowledge why you came to the party in the first place. You did not sign up for entrepreneurship to be a sheep. You have a voice, so use it. 

You must open your mouth to be heard.

As beginning entrepreneurs we too struggle to keep our breath and energy strong enough to support our endeavors. Sometimes we do not have the right tools or infrastructure to propel our growth. Sometimes we do not know how to coordinate all the processes we need to create a steady flow in our business. Therefore, we get tense, we grab and strain and our businesses, our voices and our brands feels pinched. I’m going to let you in on a very big secret. Often when a singer opens up their mouth and keeps it open, their support mechanism is forced to kick in. It’s as if you have been a couch potato and your body has only needed a little bit of food to keep it going. Then you start exercising and your body naturally responds by demanding more calories and nourishment. As beginning entrepreneurs its easy to get overwhelmed and want to shut down, but if you stay open and set the intention of moving forward in spite of imperfect conditions, you start to understand what is needed and what to ask for and the universe starts to respond accordingly.

You must open your mouth to be heard.

Whether you are in business or on the stage, you are performing. Your voice must reach the back of the hall or the potential client. Audience members come to the theater expecting a unique experience. They expect to be wowed. However, even if you are Meryl Streep no one is going to care about your performance if they can’t hear you.