Cracking Up

It’s a well known fact that the majority of people would actually rather face the grave than stand in front of a crowd and try to convey an idea or sing a song with sweaty palms, blushing cheeks, and the infamous cracking voice.

After talking to a voice teacher I learned, however, that the cracking voice is actually the sign of something incredible making its way to the surface. Its our most beautiful voice pushing through. You see, our authentic voice is produced by air flowing through a long, complicated tunnel that starts at the pit of our bellies, goes over our larynx, passes our vocal cords and finally comes out our nose and mouth. When that tunnel is fully open, our true voice has the space to make its way through. The problem is that 99% of the time we walk around utterly terrified of one another for one reason or another and our muscles tense up, blocking the flow of air through the tunnel. Sometimes you can feel the butterflies in the pit of your stomach that knot up our tunnel. Other times tense muscles in our neck block out our voice. Sometimes something as simple as our stand-off nature becomes detectable in our pitch. No matter where the tension is in the flow, the result is the same: suppressed, muffled voices posing as safe placeholders for true selves. Fear literally puts barriers in the way of our most clear voice.

When a singer or a speaker stands up on stage and their voice cracks, it is like a hiccup being pushed out of the way of the air flow. Somewhere, tension and nerves have caused their tunnel to tighten and that cracked voice is in fact victory pushing its way through. It doesn’t usually feel victorious when people laugh at the crack up. But the crack is actually fear being pushed aside so that one’s greatest voice has a place to shine. Its the tense moment right before a person gives up their nerves, tensions, and expectations and relaxes enough to simply be themselves.

Next time I hear a singer’s voice crack, I’ll applaud in my heart. In fact, I hope my own life can become filled with crack ups. Opportunities for cracking up only come when you live your life out loud, standing in front of your fears and pushing through them. Its only in allowing myself to crack up, that the beauty inside can make room in the world to be heard.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Dre said,

    I love this!! very deep way to think about it. Most people call it a mess up but I like the way you put it!!


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