What is The Voice Connection?
The short answer is that the voice connection is a meeting place of voice teaching and the study of body-mind-emotions. Understanding how the body, mind and emotions use, support, and mediate the voice.
The long answer is long.
The voice connection is a study and technique that I developed to help singers to connect to their voices in a way of developing the whole being.
Not just the technicalities of singing and not only speaking of just the voice, but the whole being. The body, the heart, the thoughts, the emotions, the sexuality of singing if you like. (Now there’s a title!)
The kundalini energy has been a fascination of mine for 20 years and it has helped me to understand how the flow of energy in the body is used by the voice, or, alternatively the other way around. That’s a whole other question for another time.
It’s also the study of psychology and how the mind uses or usurps the voice. The study of the brain and what the brain does with vibration and what it can light up in the brain and body.
It’s the study of the nervous system and how nerves, anxiety and trauma affect the voice, it’s flow, resonance and clarity, or even the simple fact of having a voice.
It’s also about spirituality and what it means to surrender and allow something greater to take over the wheel, your voice and animate you in full creative expression.
It’s also about how we do one thing we do everything and that our voices are the carrier, the messenger and the medium for everything in life and is affected by everything. I like to say the voice is a barometer for our inner weather, it tells us what is occurring on the inside by the sound of the voice.
Why did you start teaching the Voice Connection?
I started teaching over 20 years ago and I taught private lessons first. I was an active singer in the business and needed another job so I thought it would be a good idea. Extra income. Little did I know how far I would travel with it and how much it would teach me about myself. I’m still a student of the voice and always will be.
As I began to learn how disconnected I really was from my voice, even though I was singing professionally, I started to explore new ways and techniques to sing. When you have to find ways to sing for a living you figure out things pretty quickly and a lot of trial and error.
As I learned about my own disconnection I began to attract students who told me about their own disconnection and they just kept coming to see me. My students were my teachers pointing the way to where I needed to go to help myself and them.
Singers who had a lot of training to people with no training came to see me. The singers had grown apathetic towards regular voice lessons and the lack of compassion and understanding that they said their teachers had.
Not unlike the old boys club the old teachers club is the same, with a ‘stand-off ish’ attitude and huge disconnection in themselves voice teachers didn’t seem to have another way to offer those who needed something more.
So they started coming to me to breathe, feel, be heard and accepted. Their voices began to open as they communicated more and more of what they were really feeling. Of course it’s not just that, it is all of what I said above; the technical, physical, spiritual and mental voices.
And so as I opened and grew they grew, word by word, note by note the voice and voices began to thaw out and flow with more and more energy.
So when did you teach your first group class?
I began teaching classes about 5 years after teaching privately and called the classes ‘Singing Your Heart Home’. This title turned into Express Yourself a year later and then 10 years later into The Voice Connection. And before that it was called The Authentic Voice.
Was there anyone that influenced you towards this direction of teaching?
A while after I began doing the group classes I came across a teacher by the name of Chloe Goodchild and went to Hollyhock to do a workshop with her. This changed everything. She not only taught me a great deal about the connection of the voice to the body but also validated where I was heading. We began a great friendship and still are friends to this day. Her work is called the Naked Voice and she is a world leader in the field of voice and spirituality.
I have had some great voice teachers. They really began with Sheri Somerville who started me off teaching and took me under her wing, I am such gratitude to her. Later was Elsie Hepburn who was hugely impactful in a technical manner but also had a way with handling the emotions that was refreshing. I studied in Germany with a couple of amazing teachers. It seemed to always be the same though, the other studies of psychology, spirituality were separate and kept away from singing . The Voice Connection is where all of these come together for the development of the whole being.
How has your worked changed from 20 years ago to today?
It hasn’t really changed, it has grown and expanded as I have. My language and understanding of my own embodiment has changed the most. As I have dropped down into my body through many layers of pain, disconnection and trauma I have walked through many doors into other layers of myself. It has been an extremely valuable journey and one that continues today. As the layers continue to fall off my voice is fuller and more connected.
I would also say that there are more singing teachers like myself who have had to change their approach to accommodate the growing need for connection in the world of voice and life. No longer can we just operate singers like machines, they, we, are human beings and need to be met in this way first. The voice is the medium that is expressed from the human heart and soul. This has to be addressed in the right order. Human first, voice second. In order for the vessel, the instrument of the body to properly hold the voice we must contact the instrument holder. The human being.
I have more tools, more training and more understanding of myself and others. The trainings of Integrative Body Psychotherapy, the study of the chakras as well an in-depth study of voice dialogue (the psychology of the Selves), have added an immense amount to my teaching and understanding of how the voice works.
Being a voice teacher is no small thing if you are really going to help people uncover their voices and discover the immense beauty that is underneath all the defences and blocks. That is the real work, the uncovering.
Do you see yourself continuing to teach in the future?
I love teaching the voice. I love to help people connect with their voice, their spirit, their energy and body, it’s the most beautiful thing to see and hear a voice waking up.
I need and want to teach and I don’t see myself stopping for a long time. I would like to move into teaching in different areas of the world. I have taught in Mexico, Maui, Costa Rica and parts of Western Canada. I would also like to do more lecturing to teachers or anyone who would like to learn about the coming together of the worlds of voice and yoga, or, voice and spirituality, or even the voice, the chakras and kundalini energy.
It continues to fascinate me. The nervous system, the vagus nerve, the brain and vibration and the working of the vocal folds. This amazing system of magic that produces pure sound and vibration that open hearts and minds.
I also see myself doing more recordings and moving into teaching larger groups of people to create soundscapes with the beautiful songs I write. The experience of singing in a large group of people in a conscious way is a world of excitement. I plan on heading in that direction.