Family Health Issues and a Video to Rock Your Speech

Watertown, SD

Dear Friend,

I’ve just returned from an unexpected trip after my father was hospitalized for congestive heart failure. He’s been dealing with this for a while, along with multiple other surgeries and health issues, but this time his heart went into AFib https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/atrial-fibrillation/what-is-atrial-fibrillation-afib-or-af while he was driving. My Dad’s a tough old bird. He braked in time. My mother, who is dealing with dementia symptoms and not doing all that well herself physically, managed to drive to the emergency room with Dad coaching her as best he could. She hadn’t driven in about four years. She got them there safely.  

I canceled every voice and piano lesson for just over a week and got on a plane.

Dad had his 85th birthday in the hospital in Watertown, South Dakota, and two days later he, me and Mom had Thanksgiving dinner there. It was surprisingly good, especially on Dad’s low sodium diet.

Dad is out of the hospital now with a heart functioning at around 35% capacity, perhaps less. After medications to calm his racing heart didn’t work, an electric shock treatment got his ticker ticking regularly again.

Yet it’s only a matter of time, and we all know this. We all know this with our own lives, our voices. Mom is no longer able to take care of herself, and Dad can no longer be her caretaker. Even looking into the options is challenging. Painful. Difficult.

My parents have been married for over 56 years.

I will write their love story in an upcoming post.

For now, check out one of my most-viewed videos to help you rock your next speech. Thank you for reading, for being a friend, student, client.

Five Tips to Give Your Speeches Vocal Variety: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zd6fKLlop08&t=20s

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

Love Your Voice and Voice Your Love,

Laura

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

You Can’t Learn to be a Great Vocalist in One Hour a Week (Or, You Can’t Check Your Vocal Technique at the Door)

It happens every week. Often several times a week. I’ll have been working with a voice student at Lake Music for half an hour. She’s singing on the breath, with resonance, has good onsets, and we’ve worked out pitch and enunciation issues. I mention a couple things to work on over the coming week, open the door, and say “Great job; see you next week!”

The student’s mom, or dad, greets her warmly, saying, “Hi, Honey! Hope you had a great lesson. Let’s get home and start dinner; how does spaghetti sound?”, sounding just like this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abjdsJAIUf4, in vocal fry.

It’s a little like what I imagine a healthy eating coach would go through if she had to drop her clients off at the McDonalds drive-through after each session.

So, I’ve started talking to the parents and inviting them in to take part in lessons as often as I can. I describe what each student is working on and what healthy and effective vocal technique means. I let them know I want to take this training into public and private schools.

I explain what I’m telling you right now: Even if you rehearse the breathing and other vocal techniques for at least a few minutes daily and regularly attend lessons…then slip into vocal fry in your everyday conversations…the technique won’t get into muscle memory.

Once healthy and effective vocal technique gets into muscle memory, it becomes second nature and you don’t even have to think about it anymore.

My students who’ve gotten to that point consistently tell me they get compliments on their voices. People hear them better. Sometimes it’s just a simple question, like “What is different about you? You seem more confident or something…”

I’m not sure when I went from being “just” a voice teacher to a champion for the healthy, authentic voice of the American public, but somehow it’s happened.

Please let me know who I should contact in your favorite school or organization.

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

Love Your Voice and Voice Your Love,

Laura

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

Performance Anxiety is a Real Thing

Mary Ann Coggins Kaza, Donnell Plumlee, Laura Handke

I’ve been teaching at Lake Music, not just in my home studio, since last August. Lake Music’s second recital this year was Saturday, October 26th. Seven of my students, four voice and three piano students, had originally signed up to perform.

Now, the word “perform” is a bit of a stretch for a recital. This is not an audition or professional production, just an opportunity to stretch and show off what you’ve learned so far with supportive family members and friends in the audience.

Yet it can feel like a performance, as I remember from my childhood piano recitals and early vocal performances in church and school. And…not that long ago…when I auditioned for a musical for the first time in 20 years.

It can be freakin’ terrifying…especially sharing your voice in a solo singing performance. For me, having not jumped out of an airplane, or been diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness, solo singing is the scariest thing I’ve done. Perhaps even scarier than leaving a job when I had no money in the bank because I knew I needed to complete my vocal training with the Transformational Voice® Training Institute, and I was forced to make a choice.

Lina Chang

How crazy is this? That the thought of singing in front of other people can wreak so much mental havoc we might as well be about to cross a railroad track in front of an oncoming train. Can you see the headlight? Hear that whistle blowng? Feel all that fog rolling up and around? I sure can. (Hmm…do I watch too many movies? Maybe I’ve sung Folsom Prison Blues one too many times.)

The fear of public speaking (without even adding singing to the mix) is consistently – in study after study, year after year – in the top three fears of most people, along with death and height-related fears, like falling or crashing in a plane. I read somewhere that certain insects/bugs are close in the mix as well.

Allow me to laugh about this for a minute. God, please make sure the flight attendant doesn’t hand me a glass of tomato juice with a spider on it, while he forces me to give a speech as the plane is crashing.

Okay, that wasn’t very funny. I tried.

Because solo singing (not speaking so much) has been one of my big fears, I can relate.

I’m getting over it, and so can you. It starts in the brain, impacts the body, and you can re-reprogram the brain.

Two of my voice students backed out of the recital because they were afraid of performing. And they were two of my strongest students, in different ways. Another spaced it because of competing family priorities. The one who did get up and sing sounded fantastic and empowered herself. I was so proud of Chloe. (By the way, I made a mistake while accompanying her on the piano to Scarborough Fair; I wasn’t perfect!)

I asked Chloe if she felt good about her singing afterwards, and she did. Her family was there supporting her with a bunch of congratulatory orange/peach colored roses, taking family photos.

Chloe Baker

Performance anxiety will lessen once you perform, in a safe environment, just a few times. And I happen to have this very cool MP3 file (I didn’t create it) that helped lessen my performance anxiety.

Yet it all starts with the breath…being able to breathe with a relaxed core so your belly goes out when you inhale, and your breath is carrying the sound of your beautiful voice.

If you’re fearful about speaking or singing in public, know it’s natural and there are ways you can move forward and express your inner voice in the outer world.

Karma Bradley and Mark Kellogg
Shelly Zhuge
Donn Skrivanek

Love Your Voice and Voice Your Love,

Laura

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.)

Workshop Magic

As much as I love teaching private voice students…and I do thrill as my individual students grow and excel…there is something magical about group workshops.

For when two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. -Matthew 18:20, the Bible, English Translations

This Bible quote is, of course, credited to Jesus of Nazareth.

Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, expounded on the value of master mind groups, which he defined thus: The coordination of knowledge and effort, of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony. (I, personally, often use the term wish-weaving interchangeably with masterminding.)

Is it possible the disciples were Jesus Christ’s mastermind/wish-weaver group? I think so.

I’ve led, or been a part of, way too many wish-weaving circles and voice classes to ignore the potency of this group dynamic. People learn more quickly. Ideas are generated and exchanged for more facile solutions. Sometimes lasting connections are formed in the built-in community.

Jesus and Napoleon were onto something.

If you’d like to celebrate your authentic voice in this kind of collaborative community, come to Four Vocal Superpowers Most Pros Don’t Know November 2nd.

Register by emailing info@laurahandke.com.

If you’re in the neighborhood, know you’re also invited to Lake Music’s recital at Lakewood Theatre this coming Saturday, October 26th, from 1:00-4:00! Several of yours truly’s voice and piano students will be showing off their talent and skills.

In the meantime, love your voice and voice your love,

Laura

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

Within the first couple of lessons with vocal coach Laura Handke, I learned to use my voice in a more powerful way using the breathing and resonance techniques she teaches. She is always pleasant and upbeat, which helps me to relax as I learn.  I would recommend her to anyone who wants to take their vocal expression to the next level. Thank you, Laura! –Mary Jo H.  

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

What is Vocal Fry and How Can You Avoid It?

One seemingly normal Friday afternoon (insert your favorite movie trailer narrator here) an insidious, ravenous siege swept the nation.

Within minutes, everyone was croaking, choking and barely able to…

Will you please complete that sentence after watching this video about Vocal Fry?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abjdsJAIUf4

Do you want to commit to the amazing authentic voice already within you?

Here’s a great way to do it!

Four Vocal Superpowers Most Pros Don’t Know

Learn to:

  • Harness the power of the Breath to create maximum vocal impact without weakening your voice or your throat getting hoarse.
  • Avoid harsh Onsets, which can cause damage to the vocal cords. (Internationally renowned pop singer, Adele, had to have vocal cord surgery due to this issue, not once, but twice.)
  • Create vocal Resonance, so your voice carries to the back of room without a microphone, and without pushing or straining your voice.
  • Speak in your natural, authentic Pitch to avert vocal fry.

November 2, Saturday, 1:00-4:00 pm In Partnership with Brenda Bryan and The Speakers Club

Swaha Studios

1235 SE Division St. Ste. 107

Portland, OR 97202

Register by emailing info@laurahandke.com.

In the meantime, love your voice and voice your love,

Laura

Please spread the love and pass this 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 with her, and highly recommend her if you want to improve your voice. –Cricket W., MD

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