Green Shirt Studio

Ask A Professional: Freeing The Natural Voice

Ask A Professional: Freeing The Natural Voice

Green Shirt instructor and leader of our Voice and Speech Program Aram Monisoff is a Designated Linklater Voice teacher that works with students to help them find relaxation, a deeper awareness of their breath, and connect to the natural expressiveness of their voice. 

Linklater voice is described as a technique that, “takes you through a series of step-by-step practical exercises that include relaxation, awareness of breathing, the experience of voice vibrating in the body, how to open the throat, the development of resonance and range, and the articulating activity of lips and tongue. As you awaken your voice consciousness you will discover the expressive potential of the human voice and release your own eloquence.” 

Aram studied with Kristin Linklater to become a designated teacher of her technique in 2017 and teaches voice with us here at Green Shirt as well as DePaul University and Columbia College. 

He sat down with us to talk about what freeing the natural voice looks like and why it’s important. 


Q: So Aram, why does our voice need freeing? Why are our voices not already free?

“Often, the tension we experience is an accumulation of what others think your voice should be.”


As we grow up, through both positive and negative reinforcement, our voice is shaped by the opinions of the people around us. While our voice may have been full of excitement and joy calling out to our friends on the playground in elementary school, sometimes young men get influenced to be more macho and unnaturally drop their voice while women are often called to match their voice to what is thought to be more feminine. This usually begins around 7 or 8 and then again with puberty. The result of all of these outside influences is physical tension that gets in the way of truly expressing how we feel.


Q: So why is it important to free our voice?

“The voice is the conduit for your feelings.”


While we experience emotions deep down in our gut, the voice is how we let our feelings out. Often, when the stakes are raised in a scene and an actor starts to feel emotion, their feelings come up but are blocked by a “traffic jam” of tension in their head and neck. This tension is often made up of what others have said throughout our lives, about how our voice should or shouldn’t sound. 

But in the absence of tension, our voice is free to let those feelings out and be an authentic representation of who we are in that moment. 


Q: What does that look like? Our voices being an authentic representation of who we are? 

“So much of the voice work is about embracing vulnerability.” 


One of the biggest challenges for any actor is stepping into their ability to be vulnerable. The Meisner work at Green Shirt helps actors connect to their innate and deeper impulses, the primary impulse.  Instead of trying to control what’s happening, or to project what we think our audience wants to see, we can instead take that mask off and reveal who we really are. 

Freeing the natural voice has the same goal.  By getting rid of the “road blocks” that we’ve accumulated over the years we are able to express who we really are. 


Q: Is this kind of voice work a theater thing? Do you think it applies primarily to stage actors?

“True vulnerability should look the same no matter what medium you’re performing on.”


Linklater worked with film, TV, and theater actors.

If you’re being fully expressive from your emotional core, everything should be relaxed whether you’re on a stage for 2500 or performing in front of a camera. Both call for authentic, human expression. Some mediums just require your voice to travel further. 


Q: What’re a few benefits you’ve seen your students experience through dedication to the Linklater work? 

“Your expressive range is much larger than you think.”


Linklater believed that everyone, no matter who you are, has the ability to express themselves through their voice in a four octave range.

Embracing the full power of your voice will give you a much larger range of possible roles you can play as well as how you express yourself in everyday life. 


We hope you have the opportunity to free your natural voice through the Linklater voice work with us here at Green Shirt!