On Feeling Like You’ve Lost Your Voice

In the heat of the political events last weekend (marches, inaugurations, things like that), I heard a woman say,

“I’ve lost my voice. I feel like I’ve got no voice.”

She said these words over and over and over.  It felt like a punch in the gut, because those words mean something to me as a voice teacher and fellow human being.  And, I wanted to help. But she wasn’t asking for help.  She was entrenched in this feeling, this idea.  She was holding onto the statement “I’ve lost my voice” for dear life.

“Wow,” I thought. “Her voice works just fine, but she doesn’t FEEL like she has a voice.  Is there even a difference?  Maybe not!  Maybe it’s the same thing in a way.”

This beautiful woman with a perfectly healthy speaking voice feels . . . unheard, lost, and helpless in the political tumult of our current zeitgeist.  Her voice was physically intact, but she didn’t feel like she could speak up, or that maybe anyone cared what she had to say.

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Muscle Specificity, Exercise Science, and Jazz

“Specificity refers to the concept that strength training must be designed
to appropriately target the specific muscle or muscle group with the intended skill or task.”
(pg. 246, The Vocal Athlete, 2014)

On the heels of presenting at the Jazz Educators Network conference in New Orleans two weeks ago, I’d like to share some ideas about using jazz to train voices.

My presentation was called “Functional Voice Training Through Jazz Literature and Style,” and it outlined the benefits of using jazz rep and style as a training modality for commercial (or contemporary) singers.

Think: jazz lit and style as tools in the pedagogy toolbox.

In the 11+ plus years I taught university level jazz voice lessons, it (eventually) became obvious that jazz was good for voices.  I could use it to get a barely functioning voice to work like a charm, and even if a student wasn’t swimming in musical talent, a semester or two of jazz voice lessons could help him/her get control of pitch, range, harmonic awareness, rhythm, and basic levels of phrasing.  Jazz helped vocal function based issues.

Jazz is replete with opportunities for teaching, at least in my opinion.  And I don’t think we’ve even begun to plumb its depths as a vocal training tool.

So, let’s begin, shall we?

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I Have a Dream and So Do You

One day, your dream will become someone else’s reality.
One day, your dream will open up a door so big that thousands of people from all across the world will walk through your dream.
~Lisa Nichols

Today we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He catapulted the dream of unity and love onto the world stage in modern day, super hero fashion.  He was a super hero, but he was also human.

Which gives me pause to stop.  And dig deeper.  And dream bigger than I did even yesterday.

If he could dream on a grand scale, and have the guts to share those dreams with the world, then so can we.

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