This week’s post features one of my favorite Voice Alchemy techniques, Voice Painting.
This technique answers the two part question, “How does color theory work in raising our awareness of the physical effect our voice has on others, emotionally, mentally and physically? and “How can we use this strategically, to be invited to the table, be heard by decision makers, be asked for a second interview or, in this case, the theatrical call back, and most importantly, get the gig?”
I will use it as an example of how our singing heroine achieved her goal and got invited to her first call back, but it is just as effective in helping business people get meetings and contracts that would normally be lost to a competitor.
In music and in business the end goal is the same. Present our best so we get the job; whether that’s singing, speaking or selling checking accounts. In my career, I’ve done all three!
Voice Painting is a visualization practice which combines the use of sensory (feeling) words and color. Why color? Color theory works. Color is a symbol as much as words are. Color adjectives are often used to suggest emotional states or mood qualities held by nouns (people, places and/or things). Emotional states can also be induced by color and/or sensory words. Color and sensory words work because they bypass the thinking portion of the brain and get right to the feeling part.
Your voice is a physical characteristic. Others can be turned off, or on, based solely on the feeling your voice imparts.
Readers following my page may be familiar with the musical term “tone color”. Tone color describes the quality of one’s instrument or voice. In music, we describe voices as light, bright, ethereal, dark, seductive, full bodied, warm. One would think we were discussing fine wine.
My process allows the singer/speaker to use the personal meaning of a color to activate the associated emotions and create the desired physical sound which, in turn, cultivates a commensurate response in the listener. If you were in my Autumn: Season of Harmony class, we had a lesson on the power of mirror neurons in the brain, and how they elicit a given emotional response between speaker/singer and audience. Fascinating stuff for the scientifically inclined!
The objective is to create an anchor/trigger mechanism for the voice’s emotional expression through use of color.
When we meet our heroine, Janie, she wants desperately to be chosen for a major supporting role in her high school musical. In the past, Janie she has never progressed to the second round of having a call back audition. Her odds of being cast are equal to a snowball’s chance in summer.
I should mention that Janie suffers from acute performance anxiety, and while she has no trouble speaking her mind to me, or speaking up in school, her voice shrinks when she sings. Together, we imagined projecting her singing voice from my studio to her house on the other side of town, to a friend down the block, we even visualized being in the theater and singing to the people in the cheap seats! This would work momentarily, but we needed to find a long term solution.
First, I asked Janie to close her eyes and imagine how she wanted to feel when she was on stage auditioning. She said she wanted to feel confident. For homework, I asked her to spend the next week thinking about feeling confident and to see if she could come up with a color that expressed that feeling.
The next week, Janie told me that she chose the color orange to represent confidence. I then instructed her to sing her audition song with her eyes closed while imagining the color orange. Orange was taking up space around her, she was in a bubble of orange. This worked!
She was able to sustain her projection by envisioning orange while singing. We then moved on to doing this with her eyes open, and for the first time she was able to retain the level of control needed to project clearly without needing constant corrections.
From here, we moved into studying the song lyrics from an emotional point of view labeling our music with colors. By attaching the color visualization changes to the phrases she was able to communicate the needed emotional intensity, and inflection necessary, to tell the story and also maintain a level of projection that would carry to the back of a theater.
I’d like to say that she got the part, but that wouldn’t be true. The truth is she got through the first audition wonderfully. She was able to present herself in her best light at last! This impressed the director, as it would impress a client or a supervisor, division head or other executive in the business world. She made it through the first round and was invited back for the second round!!! She was thrilled! I was thrilled for her.
This was a major victory even though she didn’t get the part she wanted. Our plan is to continue voice painting our way to the next opportunity.
Make no mistake, your voice is a physical characteristic.
It takes up space just like the rest of your body. This type of space is called audio space and it connects with listeners even more than eye contact.
Your business/career success is just as dependent upon your physical voice as it is on your visual branding and fashion sense. Like a visual, your audience will tune you out, turn you off, and try to escape from your meeting as quickly as possible if they aren’t able to connect with the sound of your voice.
If you’re interested in finding out more, join my email list and receive access to some free video tips or my Facebook Community and learn to use the elements of music and timings of nature to bring out the true colors of your voice.