Nobody is born with a … might have guessed it, the word was Talent! A person acquiring a talent knows what it takes to have gotten there. It is a combination of many factors. The environment to learn and when the learning started. In many cases, with heritage a child gets introduced to a skill very early on and we know there are many child prodigies who come from a lineage. Then there are those who just had the vision to pursue what they wanted and kept at it. If you follow Indian Hindustani music, you might have heard the name – Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. He ran away from home against the wishes of his parents when he was very young. In both cases, the desire to do what one wants to should be there. There is no point in feeding someone who isn’t hungry. Part of the environment is the support one gets in pursuing what one wants. We have heard of so many cases where parents stopped working so that they could focus on their children. Today’s news about a Bengali child who got a perfect score in SAT in all three tests is a great example.  Environment apart, there is hard-work or also called Sadhana – the practice itself. Hours and hours of effort and years and years of practice makes talent come easy, so to speak.  Besides these two, there is God’s grace and luck. The world is full of gifted people who fade away or don’t even make it to the stage. Lady Luck surely has a say in exposing the gifts of talent.

Anyway, I was reading ‘Freeing the natural voice’ by Kristin Linklater. Kristin is one of the best known teachers of voice production for actors in the world of actor training. The book is a classic since first published in 1976.  She makes a great point right in the first few lines of the introduction – ‘The basic assumption of the work is that everyone possesses a voice capable of expressing, through a two- to four-octave natural pitch range, whatever gamut of emotion, complexity of mood, and subtlety of thought he or she experiences’.  Another assumption is ‘…that the tensions acquired through living in this world,…..,often diminish the efficiency of the natural voice to the point of distorted communication. Hence her approach is to remove the blockages among other aiding factors. She goes on to write that perfect communication demands from the actor a balanced quartet of emotion, intellect, body and voice. All four are required and no one part can compensate with its strength the weakness of another. She states two maxims that underlie all work on the voice:

– Blocked emotions are the fundamental obstacle to a free voice

– Muddy thinking is the fundamental obstacle to clear articulation.


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