Do my words invite with exploration, or instruct with expectation? Words turn our intentions into actions–how can we use a trauma-informed lease to speak compassionately in the voice studio or clinic?
Instructing or demonstrating how sounds “should feel…,” or insisting that a particular task, technique, or song is “easy…”
We never make assumptions about how sensations feel in another person’s body. We prioritize what the singer feels above our own perception.
Assuming what “healthy” looks and sounds like in another person’s body, and that the language of “healthy singing” is always appropriate…
If a body-voice is habituated to protection, fear, hyper-vigilance, and constriction, words like “space,” “healthy,” or “relax” may seem foreign, scary, or unattainable. It is also necessary examine how Eurocentrism and colonialism influence our pedagogy, impacting how we decide what “healthy, balanced, beautiful” sounds like.
Making assumptions about vocal sounds, aesthetic preferences, or giving repertoire suggestions based solely on gender, race, culture, body, or sexuality…
Inviting the singer to explore song and sound choices
that feel authentic to their lived experience and limitless creative potential.
Suggesting that a particular body posture or breath is “incorrect” or “wrong” for singing… Consider:
How trauma may live in and impact the body-voice–perhaps the student is choosing a position that makes them feel safe in this moment. Is there a way to invite the singer to explore new movements without invalidating their present moment? All voices, all bodies sing from wholeness and contain innate capacity for creativity and evolution.
Give yourself grace. There is no “arrival” at being trauma-informed. We simply hold a compassionate space for messy things.