A Few Minutes a Day with Johnny Cash

American country singer Johnny Cash (1932 – 2003) sits with an acoustic guitar in a still from the film, ‘Road To Nashville,’ directed by Will Zenz, 1966. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A Few Minutes a Day with Johnny Cash

Just a few minutes a day with your instrument can make the difference between becoming your best vocalist/musician or not.

My voice students have been coming along by leaps and bounds, and I sing every day – I’m always warming up and demonstrating with my students. Right now, my students, including piano students, are between the ages of 6 and 77. Korean, African American, Caucasian, young girls, middle-aged men…I could not have imagined this kind of diversity and joy when I left Corporate America and the cubicle environment in 2014.

What a blessing!

And yet of course I have a different set of struggles as a teacher and entrepreneur.

Perhaps you have personal experience with the struggle I’ll discuss today. Even though I sing virtually every day, I still suffer from performance anxiety when I sing solo in public. Not when I teach or speak, but when I sing.

This isn’t an easy thing for a voice teacher to admit.

I’m making steps to walk through this fear and become a competent public solo singer…updates will be coming!

In the meantime, I want to acknowledge dearly departed Johnny Cash, one of my favorite country singers. I learned to sing Folsom Prison Blues with my now-husband playing the guitar. One of the first times we practiced the song, I felt Johnny in the room with us. I mentioned it to George, and he did, too.

I have a two-pronged theory about why Folsom Prison Blues seems to be the only song I can sing well in public when I’m nervous and my body tenses. Here’s a clip of me singing the song last May at the Lake Music Recital. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow6fAsgYzeI

One: This song is all in my first and low, full second register – I’m belting the blues and my larynx doesn’t tilt as it would if I went into light second register. So, I have plenty of breath, resonance, and a relatively stable larynx that will operate fairly well even when I have performance anxiety and tension in my body. That’s the physical part.

Two: The emotional/spiritual part, and connection with the composer on the other side. I call goosebumps angelbumps. When I felt Johnny in the room with us during those early rehearsals, my arms and legs were covered with angelbumps. Somehow, I feel I’m being supported by Johnny Cash every time I sing this song.

You want to hear something spooky? The very night after I wrote the above, I watched the movie The Soloist on television. (I highly recommend it.) Jamie Foxx’s sensitive, riveting, soul-stirring performance as mentally ill, homeless musical genus Nathaniel Ayers knocked my socks off.

In one moving scene, journalist Steve Lopez (played by the wonderful Robert Downey, Jr.) takes Ayers to hear a symphony rehearse Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3.

As the music closes, Ayers whispers, “He’s in the room.”

“Who is?” Lopez asks.

“Beethoven.”

I get angelbumps just remembering. And I’ll remember this as I rehearse other songs in my first register by Carole King, Stevie Nicks and Mary Chapin Carpenter – all of whom are alive and well on planet Earth.

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.)

Wishweaving and Designing Your Destiny with Lisa Marie Platske

Wishweavers Circle 2020: a Mastermind Experience is beginning! I’m excited for our first meeting with women who’ve recently accomplished such things as opening a new store and writing a one-woman-play.

There are many ways to reach our dreams and define our goals. My friend and colleague, Lisa Marie Platske, has found a unique way to help you take your bold and daring vision for making a bigger difference in the world, and fully using your gifts, talents and experiences into firm possibility this year.

No, it’s not crazy. Lisa knows from experience, as do I, with the right vision and support, anything is possible in 2020.

Lisa has extended a generous special offer because of our connection! How cool is that?

You can find the details here: https://designyourdestinylive.com/SpecialOffer

For just $297 a ticket, you can bring a friend for free; that’s $1697 off the ticket price. If you’re near Manhattan Beach, California (or want to be) the weekend of January 23rd-25th, jump on board to Design Your Destiny with Lisa Marie Platske.

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.)

The Power of a Wishweavers Circle (aka Mastermind Group)

Long before I became a Certified Transformational Voice® Teacher, I learned how the Mastermind process (described by Napoleon Hill, author of the classic Think and Grow Rich, as “The coordination of knowledge and effort, of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony”) can transform lives. I call a Mastermind group a Wishweavers Circle.

My first group of this kind was so successful I wrote a book, Six Degrees to Your Dreams, to teach others how to have the same experience.   https://www.iuniverse.com/BookStore/BookDetails/101438-SIX-DEGREES-TO-YOUR-DREAMS

Anyone with a desire to move forward with their dreams and goals can benefit from a Wishweavers Circle. Voice teachers like me who are dealing with aging parents in another state, entrepreneurs, employees who are feeling frustrated and would like to make a change. Retirees with wisdom to share and a desire for community.

I’ve been invited to several Mastermind groups that charge a fee, and the one I won a raffle for was awesome. All the same, in my experience, exchanging of money isn’t necessary, or even necessarily helpful. The right people tend to come together at the right time.

Are you interested in being part of a Wishweavers Circle in the new year?

Here’s how it would look:

*Meet twice a month via Zoom for possibly an hour, depending on number of members and availability.

*Each member has an equal amount of time to share an update, successes, challenges, and absorb feedback and resources from other members.

*Close with accountability commitments for forward movement.

*No fee, but weekly updates are expected.

*Facebook group optional.

If this sounds good to you, email info@laurahandke.com and say YES to Wishweavers 2020. There are two of us now…six to eight more Wishweavers are welcome.

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.)

A Holiday Tribute to Raymond, South Dakota

Happy Holidays, Friend.

Living Room

How are you celebrating?

I celebrate Christmas, and I celebrate my friends and people from all faith backgrounds who celebrate other holidays.

Growing up on a farm in South Dakota, I found each Christmas – with a huge extended family – magical.  Now that my parents are both failing in health, I appreciate those childhood Christmas memories, always at our home on the farm, even more.

Here’s a video in tribute to my home town of Raymond, South Dakota. It’s not very professional, yet it’s fun. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0X9XKmolNc&feature=youtu.be

I wish you a beautiful holiday season with dreams coming true, immense love, and voicing your dreams like never before.

The world needs your authentic truth spoken in your authentic voice.

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.)

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.)