The Chambered Nautilus and Voice Work

As I worked on the construction of my teaching website Teri DeSario Voice Works with web designer Rich Mendoza, I searched for a metaphor or an emblem to represent my teaching philosophy.  I was drawn to depictions of golden and logarithmic spirals, mostly evident in nature:  from the centers of sunflowers, fiddle heads in unfoldment, the spiral growth of leaves on a stem to swirling galaxies, spiral staircases, weather systems – even the spiral form of the cochlea in the inner ear which has so much to do with vocal production!  Rich presented a version of the home page, the background as a treated photo of a chambered nautilus shell I had sent him.  I knew immediately we had found my emblem. 

In considering the significance of spirals, I reflected upon my own life and recognized that even in my childhood the Seed of my voice – my True Voice – was full of the promise of a particular potential, in talent but also in the similarity of life lessons I would later repeatably be given. I recognized that as I learned, grew in knowledge and understanding, gained clarity and acquired ability, I constantly spiraled around that Seed center, moving outward and inward– outward into the world, but also inward ever again to the center in order to remember who I really am. 

Who I really am, who anyone really is, I like to call in my teaching the True Voice.  We are born with it or perhaps even more daring to suggest, as it individually expressed. That is the wonder of how a voice is like a fingerprint, unrepeatable! 

To the Chambered Nautilus Shell and Voice Work:    

Imagine that the Seed of the True Voice exists as the essence and source of our yet unfolded voices, small yet perfectly formed, full of the promise of realized potential. 

In the first hour of work with people, the True Voice always shows itself, whether audibly or not.  No matter how inexperienced or how layered the True Voice is with persona and achievement, the client and I both recognize it the moment we hear it.  Even people who believe themselves to be tone deaf also recognize that they have problems meeting a pitch.  I always ask them how they could know this if they didn’t somehow “hear” the Ideal or the True Voice.  The moment of recognition of the True Voice is always accompanied by joy, a sense of authenticity, freedom and empowerment.  For some it is felt to be an encounter with the sacred or numinous.  

With each new phase of growth in Voice Work, the True Voice becomes more substantial, stronger, and is experienced by the singer and the listener more often and longer: it transcends but also includes the previous form, both in the quality of sound, power, resonance, and affect.  As our growth spirals inward and outward around the Center, we never lose connection to our source.  Therefore the True Voice may always be regarded as the full unique expression of the essence of our sound wherever we are in our development.   Our creative and vocal goals are not somewhere in the future, but may be fully recognized and expressed in every phase of growth.  

The mollusk in spiraling growth creates an outer skeleton in the form of a magnificent shell.  The True Voice creates the magnificent architecture of our unique sound which then informs the whole of our creative lives.