Simply Authentic…Your Soul Voice is Calling. Five Quick Tips to Empower Your Speaking Confidence: Welcome to the Playground

Simply Authentic…Your Soul Voice is Calling. Five Quick Tips to Empower Your Speaking Confidence: Welcome to the Playground

Five Quick Tips to Empower Your Speaking Confidence: Welcome to the Playground

Dear Friend,

Have you ever been featured on a radio show, TV, or podcast?

Do you want to be?

I’ve had several such opportunities lately, and it’s a lot of fun!

If you don’t have a theatre or performing background, however, it can be nerve-wracking, at least the first time.

I interview people regularly, for my blog and for TV Toastmasters. I’m also interviewed, most recently by Paula Vail www.wellnessinspired.com.

Paula’s podcast interview with me aired this last Tuesday, August 7, on Seattle’s KKNW1150 am. You can see the 26-minute video version on the station’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXHAJDiik1U&list=PLU_fj7dCXSCVD7pi6Rey4MeTRhwNnAN6q.

I know how precious your time is, so I’ll give you five top highlights of the program:

1) Breathe with a relaxed belly and ribs out; don’t clench your abdomen.

2) Have your body straight, with good posture.

3) Speak with resonance (pretend like you’re a little nasal – use the whole area inside your head, not pushing your voice back into your throat; this helps you avoid that low, ‘gravelly’ sound.)

4) Speak in your authentic pitch range (this can be more challenging than you think!)

5) Feel something while you’re speaking – that way, your audience will, too. This is called “emotional espressivity.”

These tools are actually very simple. The hard part can be breaking years of bad conditioning.

The inner voice (what you’ve been taught about yourself and have told yourself over the years) and the body, our physical vocal instrument expressing our outer voice, are closely entwined.

When you start working with your voice, you will transform. As you transform, so will your voice.

If you take the time to watch the whole video, notice I did a couple of things “wrong.” And that’s okay! You’ll be okay if you do things “wrong,” too. What did you notice? What are you afraid of doing “wrong?”

Let me know on the blog!

Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)

Laura

Simply Authentic…Your Soul Voice is Calling. What Happens When You Learn You’re an Opera Singer

Simply Authentic…Your Soul Voice is Calling. What Happens When You Learn You’re an Opera Singer

What Happens When You Learn You’re an Opera Singer

I host a monthly TV show on TV Toastmasters, and this particular episode is too great not to share. I interviewed Lenny Gotter, who – after starting vocal training – learned he’s a Dramatic Tenor opera singer.

Find your voice – change your life. Seriously!

Our portion of the show starts at 13.40 and the program is about 13 minutes long. Take a look/listen, and share your response or any questions on the blog!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJUZX6HIeww

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

The voice lesson affected me in ways I never imagined. I feel so much more inspired now. Thank you! -Lennon R.

In only a few lessons with Laura, my voice quality improved tremendously, both for singing and speaking. I’m noticing more resonance, clarity, and range. Laura has a great ear, and her teaching and coaching style feels safe, friendly and professional. She is supportive and stretches me. Her acting, singing, and speaking backgrounds blend beautifully to support presence and confidence in her students, as well. I’m excited to continue studying with her, and highly recommend her if you want to improve your voice. -Cricket W.

Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)

Laura

Simply Authentic…Your Soul Voice is Calling. Urban Cowboy

Simply Authentic…Your Soul Voice is Calling. Urban Cowboy

Urban Cowboy

I watched the movie Urban Cowboy (1980, John Travolta and Debra Winger) free on demand recently. Okay, fine, I’m old enough to have seen it when it first came out. But it had been so long I remembered almost nothing of the film, other than some pretty fine country music. If you like that kind of thing. Which I do, from time to time.

I can’t say I recommend the movie. Domestic violence, other kinds of violence, cheating on your partner, and I can’t – for the life of me – figure out why anyone would want to ride a bull. I’ll ask my friend, Dan, as he used to be a bull rider.

Yet one line from the movie struck me. Bud (Travolta) and Sissy (Winger) were watching a rodeo with convicts let out from prison riding the bulls. Bud said that convicts make the best bull riders. Sissy wondered why. Bud said it’s because they’re not afraid of being hurt. That they’re just going back to prison to convalesce anyway.

This is how it is with many of our dreams in life and sharing our voices. We don’t – because we’re afraid of being hurt.

Dan Meyer and I went to school together in South Dakota from kindergarten through high school graduation and have remained in touch ever since. While he no longer rides bulls, Dan is still very involved with the rodeo where he now lives in Idaho. In fact, he’ll soon be traveling to the National High School Rodeo Finals in Rock Springs, WY.

Why do people ride bulls? Dan says, “It’s the adrenaline rush. It’s like why people jump out of airplanes. Sheer adrenaline. And then you challenge yourself with the next one. Every bull is different; every bull is going to move differently than the last one. It all boils down to how you can compensate for each movement.”

I asked Dan just one other question: “How does it feel when you’re done with a bull ride?”

He responded, “An over-the-top satisfaction, knowing you went one on one with something bigger and better than you.”

Maybe public vocal performance and bull-riding aren’t that different after all.

When the spotlights are on the stage and you’re waiting for your cue, adrenaline courses through your body. Every song, every speech…each audience…is different. You’re going one on one with your fears. And, when it’s over, and you know you’ve done it (regardless of whether you “won” or “lost”, performed “better” or “worse”) the satisfaction is real and ready. You have more experience under your saddle cinch and are ready for the next challenge.

What if we were to act like a convict let out of prison for one day – and ride our own personal bull, whatever that might mean, without fear of being hurt?

Interesting to think about, huh?

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Supportive, fun, safe…and immediately applicable tools and skills. -Barbara M.

Laura truly connects with her audience. She makes people feel comfortable and safe to be vulnerable and find their authentic voice. Thank you. -Angela P.

In only a few lessons with Laura, my voice quality improved tremendously, both for singing and speaking. I’m noticing more resonance, clarity, and range. Laura has a great ear, and her teaching and coaching style feels safe, friendly and professional. She is supportive and stretches me. Her acting, singing, and speaking backgrounds blend beautifully to support presence and confidence in her students, as well. I’m excited to continue studying with her, and highly recommend her if you want to improve your voice. -Cricket W.

Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)

Laura

Simply Authentic…Your Soul Voice is Calling. I Laughed My Ass Off at Safeway: What Do Bob Denver and Erik Estrada Have in Common?

Simply Authentic…Your Soul Voice is Calling. I Laughed My Ass Off at Safeway: What Do Bob Denver and Erik Estrada Have in Common?

I Laughed My Ass Off at Safeway: What Do Bob Denver and Erik Estrada Have in Common?

I was just thinking yesterday that I haven’t laughed enough recently. Maybe that thought is what set in motion the events of today.

The average adult laughs 15 times a day; the average child, more than 400 times. –Martha Beck https://marthabeck.com/

I don’t like going to the dentist, but my teeth and gums were long overdue for a cleaning. So, I mustered up my courage, and my debit card, to head to the dental clinic. This new hygienist was great, and she had gorgeous eyes, kind of like Emily Blunt’s, but her light irises – surrounded by perfect, dark circles – were more hazel than blue. I complimented her on her eyes. And mid-way through the cleaning, I complimented her on her work as well. And then again at the end.

See, I’m really picky about how people work on my teeth. I can barely tolerate having them scraped so opt for the water jet method instead. And I always need a bite block.  If you start scraping and don’t give me the block, I’ll walk out the door and skip my cleaning for another year, think of doing dangerous things to your pointy nose with that scraper, and start asking my friends for dentist referrals.

But this hygienist was fantastic. She got the job done well, quickly, with the block, gave me the sucking tube at appropriate times, and I only dribbled on my chin once.

What does this have to do with speaking or singing, you may ask? Keep reading; I’ll explain.

Once my teeth were clean, I realized how dirty my car was. So, I drove it to Kaady Car Wash and spent a whole eight dollars letting it proceed through the soapy water and automatic brushing, no scraping required, with access to the vacuum hoses for the interior included. What a deal!

Next up, dinner groceries – homemade pizza with Trader Joe’s pizza dough. Some items on my grocery list couldn’t be found at Trader Joe’s, so I went to the Safeway in-between the car wash and Trader Joe’s first. I was on a time frame, as I had two business calls, one at 3:00, and another at 4:00.

The check-out line at Safeway was thankfully short. Enough so I could hear the conversation between the checker and the customer ahead of me. The checker said she wanted to go to the island where Gilligan’s Island was filmed. (Younger readers who may be scratching your head, baffled, just Google Gilligan’s Island – it probably still shows on Nick at Nite.) The checker said it was an actual island somewhere in the Hawaiian Islands, and that you could charter a tour to see it. She thought that sounded like so much fun.

I said it sounded like a lot of fun to me, too, and started singing the theme song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8jhb5NnADM. The checker laughed. I told her I figured I’d be singing the theme song the whole way there if I went to the island.  As she was checking out my groceries, we kept talking about Gilligan’s Island, and how many of the cast members might still be alive. Or not. The checker had a huge crush on Bob Denver – she thought he was just the hottest and the cutest. I shrugged and said Erik Estrada of CHiPs was my big crush, and not so casually mentioned that I met him in person when I was 34. The checker said, “Yeah, he was handsome, but I always thought he had really big teeth.” I giggled, and said, “He does have big teeth…but his big teeth never bothered me…not one… single…tiny…little…bit.”

I can’t explain why this struck us both as so funny, but it did. Our raucous laughter was probably heard in the produce department. I know the guy behind me in line – likely 50-something, about the same age as me and the checker – heard it. I turned to him and said, “And this poor gentleman…”

Man: How did this all start, exactly?

Me: She was talking about how you can go on a tour to see the island where Gilligan’s Island was filmed.

Checker: And she started singing the theme song.

Man: How do you best go from, say, Oahu to Kawaii? Wouldn’t you want to fly?

Checker: I’m sure you can fly, but I want to take a slow boat.

Man: A three-hour cruise.

Me: Don’t forget all your evening gowns and your money!

Man: By the way, I was a Mary Ann guy, not a Ginger guy.

Me: My favorite episode was the one when “The Mosquitos” visited the island, and the gals formed a singing group. Remember that one? I could sing those songs, too, but I won’t bore you.

Man: I’ve always wondered why people could get to the island, but the castaways could never get off.

I left Safeway uplifted.  I saw a woman with two young children, one a baby in her arms, as I pulled out of the parking lot. She held a cardboard sign: “Please help us get a hotel room and food.” I rolled down the window, while pulling out my billfold, and handed her three one-dollar bills. “Thank you,” she said. “God bless you.”

Having read, from someone who’s been there, done that, I knew there was a very good chance I had just fed this woman’s meth addiction and her children, if they were her children, would go hungry that night. But I felt so full of joy, gratitude, and love for humanity that I happily handed over the bills. I had laughed so hard just a few minutes previously.

Then I went to Trader Joe’s, and purchased pizza dough, power greens for my daily smoothie, and two fresh red bell peppers. On my way in, I saw a woman who could have been a sister (physical similarities) to the one I’d given the three bucks to, but this woman had one young child in a stroller, as she was holding a cardboard sign.

Suddenly, I wasn’t filled with so much joy and love for humanity anymore. I pictured the woman surreptitiously calling her cohort with her brand-new Samsung Galaxy 59 Plus asking, “How much have you raked in so far?”

The Clackamas County Sherriff’s car was in the parking lot as I departed…two men in uniform approached the woman with the child in the stroller.

Do I regret giving the three dollars? No. As Wayne Dyer used to say, what I give to people is between me and God. What they do with it is between them and God.

It started to rain after I got back home and unloaded my groceries. My newly cleaned car wasn’t so clean anymore. I decided to laugh about it.

I was in a humorous and joyful state during both business calls.

Then, I sat down and started writing this. I keep laughing while I’m writing.

When we first start bringing our inner authentic voices out into the world, it can seem oh-so-serious. Our inner critic sits on our shoulder and whispers in the ear how badly we suck.

My voice teacher has a name for her critic. I’ll name mine… Carla. Carla is my critic. I can listen to her for a while, then bring her on board for laughter and playfulness. We can play and laugh together, now, can’t we, Carla?

Bring laughter into your vocal practice at every turn.

And check out Dorothy Rosby’s humorous blog here: https://dorothyrosby.com/.

If you found this post helpful, please spread the love and pass it along to a friend!

The voice lesson affected me in ways I never imagined. I feel so much more inspired now. Thank you! -Lennon R.

In only a few lessons with Laura, my voice quality improved tremendously, both for singing and speaking. I’m noticing more resonance, clarity, and range. Laura has a great ear, and her teaching and coaching style feels safe, friendly and professional. She is supportive and stretches me. Her acting, singing, and speaking backgrounds blend beautifully to support presence and confidence in her students, as well. I’m excited to continue studying with her, and highly recommend her if you want to improve your voice. -Cricket W.

Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)

Laura

Simply Authentic…Your Soul Voice is Calling. My Soup Pot Has a Story (in Three Parts)

Simply Authentic…Your Soul Voice is Calling. My Soup Pot Has a Story (in Three Parts)

My Soup Pot Has a Story (in Three Parts)

I invited three people over for dinner. My voice teacher and mentor, Linda, the founder of Transformational Voice®. Her partner, Frans, builder of pipe organs and sound healer. Richard, Transformational Voice® accompanist, musicianship teacher and pianist extraordinaire. One of Linda’s students is a professional opera singer. Another is Grammy-nominated. Richard once played piano at the White House, when Bill Clinton claimed the Oval Office. Frans continues a rich tradition of pipe organ building, as practiced for centuries in his country of origin: the Netherlands.

Yes, quite an illustrious gathering at our dinner party that evening! I didn’t really think about it until the next day, because we were just enjoying each other’s company and the meal. I love these people, and we loved the food.

The soup pot I used for that dinner has a story, too. I claimed it from my wasbund (was-husband), as we were divorcing in 2006. Jeff had never really used the big ol’ stock pot, and he gave me permission to take it.

Part 1: During our marriage, I once used this pot as a cleansing and healing element, creating a “green fire” in it. I don’t recall the book that gave me this tip, but the basics are: 1) Line the pot with foil 2) Fill it with two cups Epsom salt 3) Add enough rubbing alcohol so the salt is fully covered.

Make sure there is a protective plate under the pot (preferably in the middle of a large floor) and keep it away from anything which might catch fire.

Ask your higher guidance to cleanse away anything that is negative or holding you back. You can write these things down on a piece of paper and put them into the mix. Then, light the fire.

It’s helpful to drum or vocalize while the fire is burning out – about 10-15 minutes.

This is a wonderful energy-clearing exercise.

Part 2: After my divorce, while living at Neff Park Lane, I made a big batch of turkey soup with leftover turkey from a holiday dinner. I was in a hurry and on my cell phone at the same time, grabbed the pot to stir, and the whole thing crashed to the floor, dousing me with hot soup, leaving a dent in the pot.

That was quite a mess to clean up. I wasn’t burned, threw my drenched pants away, salvaged about a third of the soup, and kept the dented pot.

Part 3: I invited Linda, Frans, and Richard for dinner. The menu was fresh green salads, beef burgundy with al dente noodles, and toasted parmesan bread. Our guests brought delicious filled cream puffs for dessert.

The beef burgundy turned out beautifully, and the meal was devoured. The company and conversation were as good, maybe better, than the meal. The beef burgundy was cooked in the dented pot.

Our voices have stories, too. Perhaps in some places we need cleansing, to understand where we might be dented, or to embrace our deliciousness.

Here’s the Beef Burgundy Recipe: (Photo by Dana Fontaine: https://www.danafontaine.com)

Beef Burgundy:

-6 oz. bacon, cut in pieces

-3 lb. lean stewing meat, cut in cubes

-1 sliced carrot (I use more)

-I sliced small onion

-1 tsp. salt

-1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sautéed in butter (I don’t like mushrooms, so leave them out)

-1/4 tsp pepper

-2 TBSP flour

-3 C burgundy/pinot noir wine

-2-3 C beef broth

-1 TBSP tomato paste

-2 cloves mashed garlic

Sauté bacon in oil and remove to large baking pan. Sauté beef chunks, brown all sides and add to dish. Sauté carrot and onion, add to dish. Sprinkle in flour and toss ingredients to coat. Bake at 450 for 4 minutes. Stir and bake 4 minutes more. Remove from oven and add wine, beef broth, tomato paste, garlic and seasoning. Bring to a simmer on the stove. If you like mushrooms, add them here. Cover, return to oven and bake at 325 for 3-4 hours.

Serve over al dente egg noodles (my choice) or wild rice.

If you found this post helpful, please spread the love and pass it along to a friend!

In only a few lessons with Laura, my voice quality improved tremendously, both for singing and speaking. I’m noticing more resonance, clarity, and range. Laura has a great ear, and her teaching and coaching style feels safe, friendly and professional. She is supportive and stretches me. Her acting, singing, and speaking backgrounds blend beautifully to support presence and confidence in her students, as well. I’m excited to continue studying with her, and highly recommend her if you want to improve your voice. -Cricket W.

Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)

Laura

Simply Authentic…Your Soul Voice is Calling. Peace Valley School

Simply Authentic…Your Soul Voice is Calling. Peace Valley School

Peace Valley School

Molly was winded and sweaty when I first met her in person. The sheep had gotten out. Molly was beautiful and glowing in jeans, a T-shirt, and casual cardigan thrown over, having helped wrangle the sheep back in. I wouldn’t have known she was winded and sweaty if she hadn’t told me.

This was my first in-person introduction to Molly Lord-Garrettson, Head of Peace Valley School, on five acres of beautiful land just outside Lafayette, Oregon, with sheep, chickens, a big garden, and a school dog and cat. I met the dog, Mariposa (Spanish for Butterfly; she was rescued from Baja, Mexico), before I met Molly.

Molly taught in traditional school systems, and abroad, for 15 years – focusing on subjects like Social Studies. One assignment she has right now is to fix an old globe and update it with recent countries, like South Sudan.

She is married to Nathan Garrettson and has a five-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Grace.

Molly decided to branch out and create her own school because, “Education hasn’t changed, although our culture and our children have. While public schools’ intention was originally developed to Americanize citizens, the new trend has been to prepare them for the work force. A lack of funding, plus an economic downturn, has removed even taxes from the main stream public academic curriculum.” These events leave educators like Molly perplexed. She says, “We teach humans, not robots. We need to help them operate in the world of relationships, laundry, home-cooked food, and community.” Molly adds, “The rest matters, too, but if I meet a man who can take the derivative but can’t take a pie out of the oven on time, I’m worried.”

Students create their own curriculum in this school, within parameters. I saw an Amish yarn winder that would be used for creations with local fiber. Two students playing chess. A young gal who plays the ukulele. Mari, the dog, coming and going. The kitchen, where students make their own meals – on a budget. They go grocery shopping every week with a budget of $100. If they’re able to save on the organic, healthy groceries, they get to have an adventure – like getting air zip-lining, or at the closest trampoline park in Salem, Oregon.

The school’s mission is:

At Peace Valley School we encourage all learners to make education real. To do this, we learn by working together on real-world projects to solve universal problems. By practicing healthy communication to solve a common problem through inquiry, we can garner a sense of responsibility instead of entitlement. We can become perpetual learners with the courage and life-skills that entails. We can discover who we are and help each other grow. We can be the change we want to see in the world.

While writing this blog, I’m smack dab in the middle of teaching Peace Valley School’s first music class! What an honor! Join me for a live Facebook feed at the school Friday shortly after 1:30 PM PST.

Please also join me in supporting Peace Valley School. http://peacevalleyschool.org/

I came away with a much better understanding of how to do, and effectively use, belly breathing to speak confidently, efficiently and effectively. -Caroline M.

Laura is a skilled teacher and observer of her students. -Anita E.

Supportive, fun, safe…and immediately applicable tools and skills. -Barbara M.

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)

Laura