INTERVIEW about The Muse’s Voice Workshop from Design Your Delicious Life:
What does it mean to ‘sing from the inside out’?
Our voices are actually the tiniest part of our song. The tip of the iceburg. What’s going on below the water? What lifts your voice up? What holds your voice back?
Most vocal workshops teach form: breathing, tone, articulation, harmony, phrasing and so on. Using healthy form is essential, and good form enables strong singing, but form itself is only ten percent of singing! Ninety percent of the power behind the voice is mental and emotional alignment.
Saying YES to your own sound, trusting your form, and leaning into your song with self-acceptance is ‘singing from the inside out’.
You are the only person on the planet who can sing with your voice. No other voice is just like yours. The sound you make and what you think of it is secondary. Your job is to express, not to judge. Do you own your own voice? Do you love it? Do you love it even when it doesn’t do what you want it to do?
Why is singing so vulnerable?
The voice is the most intimate instrument. The muscles of the vocal folds are like a bridge between the conscious and the unconscious mind, because they’re made of smooth muscle – the kind of muscle that is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. Most smooth muscle in your body operates without your conscious control. The smooth muscle of the vocal folds are unique because we activate them with our conscious minds.
The voice is extremely responsive to tension and fear, responsive to our unconscious emotional patterns. Our vocal folds can’t help but express tension from limiting beliefs based on old stories. Likewise, the vocal folds are extremely responsive to expressing total freedom and joy, when we support and accept our sound / ourselves!
The voice is a mirror to self acceptance, a mirror to personal growth and love. Opening the voice is a metaphor for loving yourself and claiming your power as an expressive being.
What happens below the surface of our voices?
Most of us hold ourselves back from our full expression. We filter our connection with creativity. We say NO to ourselves overzealously and unconsciously. We respond to the inner critic and ignore the Muse. We respond automatically and reactively to old stories that limit us. We agree to judge ourselves against others, and agree to hide our own power because it’s easier than facing judgment for expressing who we are and what we want, feel, or think.
The Muse is our primary, unfiltered creative response. She’s awake in everyone, and yet sometimes her voice hides behind much louder aspects of self. She’s like a playful child in you, who needs a field of permission in which to play. The Muse needs YES, yes, and more yes! Most of us have given her more NO than is useful.
Still, there is a place for NO this field of permission. NO is like the fence that keeps the Muse from running into traffic. The fence has a purpose, just like the field has a purpose. For example, saying YES to every note on the scale at once creates cacophony! The limit of scale says YES to various tones and NO to others. This creates a field of play for the Muse to expand into, and actually enhances creativity by giving it a container.
The Muse’s Voice is about singing with YES. It’s also about recognizing the NO, and seeing the gift hiding there.
Who is Dawna McLennan and what credentials does she have?
The Muse’s Voice Workshop is a bridge between two of Dawna McLennan’s passions. McLennan is both a singer-songwriter and a coach, with a passion for transformational creativity. Her current passion is Byron Katie’s process ‘The Work.’ She’s studying to be a certified facilitator of the Work, has trained in Co-Active Coaching with The Coaches Training Institute in Vancouver BC in 2011, and studied Strategic Intervention with Robbins-Madanes Training in 2015.
“The Muse’s Voice Workshop comes out of my own lived experience. I used to be afraid to sing. Actually I was petrified to be heard singing freely, even though I craved to share it. I sang only when I was totally alone. I didn’t begin singing publicly until I was in my thirties.
Even speaking to new people or in groups, I judged myself so harshly! I’d hold back, silence myself and blush, then cut myself up after. I didn’t believe I had anything important to say. But I wanted to share the passion and connection singing gives me, and I wanted to express my truth freely, like with close friends and family.
When I decided I would sing – must sing – for others even through the fear, I had amazing empowering experiences where I saw the gift that my singing can give others, that everyone’s authentic voice can give others. I’d see people get tears in their eyes, see them light up and be inspired. They’d be touched. And that fuelled me to keep reaching past my limits and share more.
I waded through oceans of self-silencing, crippling fear. Stormy oceans ! I sang even when I hated hearing my own voice. Sang and played when my voice or hands shook. Put myself out. Played my harp and sang on the sidewalk, just to get over it. Sometimes I still have to get those old waders on. Or a snorkel. Or diving gear! The voice is a vehicle of transformation, it’s an ever-changing expression of presence. Vitality is found in that uncomfortable edge, that place of growth, that interface between you and the stories that don’t serve you.
I choose to align with the Muse, to align with YES. When resistance arises in me, I witness and learn. I listen beyond the ‘NO’ claims of the inner critic to find the gifts hiding there. Within our challenges lie our greatest gifts.
This is what we explore in The Muse’s Voice Workshop. The tools I share in the Muse’s Voice Workshop rise out of my lived experience. I’m not here as a singing teacher or expert. I’m a facilitator, a coach, a student of the Muse. ” ~ Dawna McLennan
What will we do in the Muse’s Voice Workshop?
The Muse’s Voice Workshop is a participatory workshop. It’s not a lecture. We’ll breathe, we’ll sing, we’ll move, we’ll hear each other. We’ll learn tools, try them out, connect and talk and support each other. We’ll trust and listen to ourselves. And sing! You can sing as much as you’re comfortable singing, be silent when it serves you to be silent. We’ll sing new songs, simple songs, improv songs. Harmonies welcome and encouraged.
The first half of the Muse’s Voice Workshop focuses on singing with YES. What does it feel like to sing with YES? Can we do it? What are we thinking about when we sing with YES? What happens here? Have you ever been frustrated that sometimes you can sing with freedom, and other times you’re stuck, held back, and can’t find the same freedom? How would you like to find that free place of YES whenever you want it?
In the Muse’s Voice Workshop, you’ll make a literal map to your own place of YES so you can find it again whenever you want. You’ll find exactly what it takes for you to sing with YES, even if you don’t think you have ever sung with YES.
The second half of the Muse’s Voice Workshop focuses on recognizing the Witness, and noticing the hurtful or limiting ways we’ve been saying NO to ourselves and the Muse. The Witness enables us to watch what’s happening without judgment. The Witness is like the bodyguard of the Muse, a superpower in the face of judgment.
What have you been saying to yourself that limits your voice or your creativity? What story have you used to hold your self back? Is there a gift there? What has NO given you?
“Within your greatest challenges lie your creates gifts. Beyond the obstacle lies opportunity” ~ Brodie Whitney (http://www.facingdragons.com)
What will The Muse’s Voice Workshop give me?
The Muse’s Voice Workshop creates a space for transformation. A space of transformation invites change but doesn’t force it. Only you can choose. Everything we do in a space of transformation can be like a metaphor. Something as simple as breathing can become a metaphor for dismantling old armour.
The actions we take in The Muse’s Voice are like pebbles thrown in a still pond, and the ripples can spread through your coming days and weeks in profound ways. The songs we sing are designed to reflect the doorways of transformation that we walk through on the path of the Muse. You have a choice to walk up to the edge of your own limits and make a new choice to see yourself, your voice, and your power in a new way.
We’ll learn tools to deepen the ways we say YES to our voices and YES to the Muse. We’ll expand our limits. We’ll recognize ways we’ve said NO to our voices and NO to the Muse. We’ll look for the gifts there. We’ll witness our true voices as they move unfiltered within us.
Look out at a starry night sky. What do you see? Somethings and nothings, objects and space. The night sky is a mirror to our own cellular structure. We are mostly space. What happens when you sing from formlessness, from spaciousness, from accepting that the voice you have is as unique as the light each star emits?
Just like the stars can’t help but shine with their own light, we can’t help but ring out with our own sound, our only sound. Sing with the voice that only you can make.
The Muse’s Voice Workshop: Sing From the Inside Out.