Podcast – Episode 4: How does YOUR VOICE work?

Written by Ségolène

August 27, 2020

Whether you’re a speaker, performer, singer, podcaster, coach… as long as you have a voice, make daily use of it, and are hoping to connect to its full potential, give yourself the gift of Vocal knowledge. It holds the key to achieving presence, resonance and confidence.

Before diving in any vocal work, I think it’s essential to look at your vocal foundations,
your instrument.
Because voicing and playing music is the same thing. You’re just playing with different strings.

A voice is a sound.
A sound is air.
To be precise it’s air vibrating.
At first almost inaudible, it travels through your body to seek resonance. It takes a mix of anatomical knowledge, breath work and vocal experience to fully master your instrument, and
play the tune that allows you to be and feel heard.
To connect to your audience, and your truth.

In order to produce a sound, we push out the air stored in our lungs up a pipe called the “trachea” or “windpipe”. 

If you place your hands at the front of your throat, you’ll be able to find it easily;
it’s the biggest pipe in the throat. Have a feel around with your fingers, you’ll be
able to sense some ridges. The one lying roughly in the middle of your throat, slightly bigger and rather more solid than the others: that’s your “vibrating chamber” also known as “voice box”.

The sound you make comes from the vibrations of your two vocal chords, attached to that cartilage, and the space they echo in. Depending on where it is sent, it could have more body and resonance, adopt a different tessitura, pitch…

Voice researchers thus discovered the different voices accessible to you:

The Head Voice: where most of the vibrations travel through the upper throat and the skull. Think of a higher pitched voice, or in the singing realm, of a soprano or a tenor.

The Mixed Voice: which could be your regular speaking voice. Medium volume, medium pitch, vibrations going through the back of the neck and lower skull, the throat and the upper chest. If you’re a mezzo or an alto, you’re likely to be using this in-between voice, more gentle than our third voice…

The Chest voice: beaming, booming, loud, powerful. How come? Well, when you’re using your chest voice, you are sending the vibrations to the ribcage, the back, the belly. Areas of the body with a lot more space, than in the head or the throat. In the art of singing, the chest voice is helpful to reach a deeper voice – think baritone and bass – but also to belt and be loud.

When working on opening your voice and being heard, we work on shifting the resonance of your vocal vibration to the different Voices, to see:

  • which one suits you best naturally,
  • if you have enough space for the sound to echo in,
  • how you can be louder playing with your chest and mixed voice
  • making sure you’re always comfortable voicing at all levels and being heard.

Now that you know your voice is made of 100% air, and considering how our breath gets affected by our physical and emotional state, the pressures our bodies and minds are under…

Doesn’t it make sense, IF you have a voice AND want to give it power, confidence and resonance, IF you want to BE HEARD, to take time to include a breath practice to your day?

To learn how to fuel your own sound through breathing?

If breath is what’s holding your Voice back in life, work and art, then it’s silly, isn’t it!

It’s something you do every day without knowing!

It’s on auto-pilot most of the time!

Breath practice will have you also understand the connection between breath, brains, body and emotions. Enhance your ability to connect to those, you’ll therefore enhance your ability to connect with your audience through your speech. Connect to your truth. Connect to your voice.


Here’s a little breath flow for you. A simple flow you can practice at home, or when you’re out walking:

If you’re doing this lying down: make yourself comfortable but please do not cross your legs.

If you’re sitting down: rest your back against a wall or the back of your chair, both feet flat on the floor, and again do not cross your legs.

Place your right hand on your stomach. Your left hand on your heart.

First round:

Inhale through the nose for 5, sending the air to the belly. Your right hand will rise, your left hand shouldn’t move at all.
Hold your breath for 5, before exhaling through the mouth for 5.


Time to shift our focus to that left hand and ribcage. Same rhythm, but now your right hand is the one staying steady, and your left one rising with your chest.

Inhale through the nose for 5, sending the air to the chest. Your left hand will rise, your right hand and belly stay still.
Hold your breath for 5, before exhaling through the mouth for 5.


And now lastly, a longer breath:
Inhale for 5 through the belly, then carry on with the same inhale, slowly, for another 5 through the chest.
Hold your breath for 5.
Exhale slowly through the mouth, emptying the air from the chest for 5, and carrying on with the air in the belly on 5.


That’s 5min of your day well spent.

You can do it before going to sleep, if you’re feeling stressed during the day, before a call, a meeting, when you’re out on a walk in nature…


Tell me, where do you like to breathe?