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November 26, 2012 / Amy Bradney-George

“I Am My Voice”

Everything I am is represented in my voice. Everything you are shines through when you speak. Our voices are the ultimate instrument. They express both the physical and emotional states that we experience.

But how often I actually LISTEN to my voice is another thing entirely. I’m not always aware of it, or how it serves me, and as an actor, writer, human being I want to be more aware of my voice.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to do a workshop with the wonderful David Coury, an international voice expert and teacher. David has worked with actors, singers, broadcasters, rappers and all kinds of other people around the world. He is also one of the most genuine people I have ever met.

After hearing him talk alongside acting coach Howard Fine (also his lifelong friend) earlier this month, then watching him work with actors at the Howard Fine Masterclass last weekend, I was both excited and nervous to participate yesterday.

The workshop – entitled “Transform Your Audition With Your Voice” – was run through the Howard Fine Studio Australia and the Equity Foundation. I think you could easily substitute “Audition” with “Life” in the title though, because what David teaches is not specific to just actors and singers, or to those situations unique to our work.

My lesson yesterday was about finding joy in moments, even when I am nervous or feel incredibly shy. “You were all born with the show gene,” David said to us at one stage, “but you were also born with the shy gene.” That resonated with me.

Often when I’m in a workshop I thrive on being in the space, on working with someone and growing and learning, even having people watch often drives me forward. Yesterday I stood in the space working with David and facing my fears. It was scary, and part of me wanted to rush through my monologue and run back to my seat. I didn’t though, because I’d said I wanted to find ways to avoid rushing, to take my time, so I did just that.

Saying it (aloud) meant committing to that lesson, which was both scary and empowering at the same time. It felt like I was up there for forever, facing fears and learning lessons, but I got so much out of every moment. I learnt that my “too much” is not nearly too much. I learnt that I can give myself permission to be bigger (to “be American” as David said, and I so get that). It’s fun and I learnt to find the joy even through the fear.

Maybe especially because of the fear, because it shows that I care. That’s what nerves are for me, and when I remind myself of that, I am free.

When you feel something, it shows in your voice. When you don’t feel something, it shows in your voice. Knowing who I am, then, is one of the most empowering things, because even if I don’t know what the next moment holds (and I never really do), I know myself and that is enough to leap forward freely.

Yesterday I sat in a room full of people who know who they are. They all had fears, they all had doubts, but they all had so much beauty in their passion and self awareness.

It feels strange to try and put into words the experience I had, like maybe they won’t do the experience justice, but it also feels important to give voice to it. We use our actual voices every day, and while I know how to speak, enunciate, project and sing, what I am learning is to trust my voice. Whatever I feel, wherever I am (emotionally and physically), my voice will tell that story. Maybe it will even change the story, by showing different sides of me. The possibilities are endless, and that is very exciting.


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