The Memories are in Your Muscles

What is your favorite way to exercise?

I grew up walking in the country, riding horses and my bike, and have always loved to dance. Yoga is wonderful. I’ve worked out in gyms, but always felt like I had to drag myself there. These days it’s mostly walking outside in nature and yoga stretches. I live in a neighborhood filled with friendly peacocks and plenty of friendly people who walk with their friendly dogs. I know the names of more dogs than I do humans.

But recently, a blue tooth speaker fell on my right foot and I needed to stop walking for a while to let the injury heal. I’m surprised by how much damage this one little speaker was able to cause.

So, I pulled out an old exercise album (yes, an actual vinyl) that I bought my senior year of college, rather than researching the thousands upon thousands of online options. Joannie Greggains’ “Total Shape-Up” is a perfectly good calisthenic and aerobic routine working all the major muscle groups…why reinvent the wheel, right?

Well, not only was I shocked by how good the workout felt the first time I pulled out the album (I took it slow, only doing parts), but how much my body remembered how to do it!

When I was finishing my studies at South Dakota State University, my roommate and I did that routine in our apartment probably two or three times a week for a year, or a year and a half. 35 years ago!  Truly, I was stunned.

I’m a voice teacher and my husband is a massage therapist, so we both have experienced and understand how traumatic memories are stored in the tissue of the body. But the good ones are, too! Including vocal technique. If there’s anything you’d like to improve about your voice, know that with repetition, your body will eventually know what to do instinctively, and remember.

Now I wonder what my body will do if I pull out the old clarinet that is still in the South Dakota farm house where I grew up. I’m going to buy a reed and bring it home with me when we visit my family this summer. I’ll keep you posted!

Thanks for keeping me in your inbox and on your read list.

Celebrating MANY VOICES: One World! Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/ Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & 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.)

When Something Simply Must Be Expressed: How Abella Found Her Voice

You’re a speaker. A coach or group facilitator. A singer. You love, love, love your work. Nothing is missing in your life. (Except perhaps social interaction during a verrrry long year of isolation thanks to a global pandemic.) Then…BAM! It hits. The idea that rocks your world.

Has anything like that happened to you?

It’s what happened to me when I met Abella.

It started out so innocently. I just wanted to pass along the basics of healthy and effective vocal technique, in an interesting and affordable manner, in a time when people couldn’t get together much in person.

Since vocal training became my primary passion and work in the world, I’ve gotten onto a bit of a soap box, I admit it. Far too many public speakers speak in vocal fry, without even knowing what it is (and it can be so easy to fix!) Children should be taught healthy and effective vocal technique in schools. Famous speakers don’t know why they’re hoarse at the end of the day. Excuse me, but this is ridiculous! And…I’ll step down off my soap box now.

I was on a mission to educate, to inspire, to inform. Oh, I was all ready. So pumped. Ready or not, here I come!

And then I spoke to some of my students. And my world was rocked.

It was Emmett who first suggested I use a story to illustrate the vocal technique principles. A fable. A myth. Anything but a “How to Vocalize for Dummies” type format. And that’s how it all it started.

Ideas started coming to me on my Godwalks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNSqwV7nBOI&t=15s before I put pen to paper. (Well, fingers to keyboard.) And when Abella came in, she came in like a flood of inspiration. I know this happens to other artists all the time, but – for me – it was the first time I’d experienced that kind of inspiration as a fiction writer.

As I wrote these 34 pages, I saw everything through Abella’s eyes, heard through her ears, and smelled through her nose. I experienced what she experienced. I knew she had curly brown hair and bright brown eyes. I knew her horse was her best friend when she was age nine, like mine was for me at the same age. And that she had been devastated and lost her voice. And that she would get it back at the end of the story. I saw her canopy bed with the yellow fabric draped above her when she woke up in the morning. She took me on the journey with her, and I will never forget it.

MANY VOICES: One World is a phrase running through me now, since following Abella through her journey to her authentic voice. To me, the phrase means everyone on this planet has a unique, authentic voice and something important to say. No matter where you were born or into what circumstances. Whatever your skin color, cultural background, belief system or orientation may be. Our many voices share the same world. Let’s celebrate them together.

One way you can help do that is to purchase your personal e-Book with accompanying vocal training videos https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/ for the staggering price of what you would pay for a venti mocha frappuccino. If you like the book, write a positive review (all five star reviews so far!) and tell your friends about it.

That, my friends, is how we start a Many Voices: One World movement. Come join me on the journey!

Thank you for the article! I really enjoyed the lab today and also realized that my voice and confidence have improved since starting a few months ago! Thank you! – Sidra N.

Thanks for keeping me in your inbox and on your read list.

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

Love Your Voice & 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 Special Celebrity Birthday

I’m writing this post on March 16th, a Tuesday, even though my newsletter won’t go out until Friday morning. Why? Because March 16th just happens to be a very special celebrity birthday to me.

So, this post has nothing to do with vocal training, but it does with having your dreams come true! (Like leaving the corporate world of workers’ compensation insurance and becoming a voice teacher was a dream come true!)

If you’re a few years younger than me, or a few years older, you will probably remember the name Erik Estrada. Either way, read on to hear about how a long-held dream finally came true when I was 33 years old. Happy 72nd Birthday, Erik Estrada! https://laurahandke.com/happy-63rd-birthday-erik-estrada/

Thanks for keeping me in your inbox and on your read list.

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

Love Your Voice & 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.)

Do You Have Talent?

Talent.

What is it, exactly?

Do you have talent? Do I?

Dictionary.com says talent is a natural aptitude or skill.  

My voice teacher says talent equals passion.

I recently re-watched the 1998 movie Punchline (about standup comedy) starring Sally Field, Tom Hanks, John Goodman and a whole slew of other talented actors. A line in the movie goes something like, “Whatever your night job is, I hope it’s something you have a talent for.”

I’d love to hear your definition of the word ‘talent’ – please post a comment on the blog! In the meantime, here are a few conclusions I’m coming to, based on my personal experience.  

I wasn’t a natural born actress. It seems I’ve always been more comfortable on stage than most people, maybe had “stage presence”, but that doesn’t mean I was a skilled (“good”) actress or singer. I needed to learn technique. After something like 14 acting class terms with Jo Dodge, I finally felt I had started becoming a proficient actress. I didn’t get serious about vocal training until I met Linda Brice in my 40’s and have no question I will be learning about my voice and singing for the rest of my life on Planet Earth.

For many years, I was too self-conscious to let loose. I had to learn to be okay with risking making a fool of myself. When two people with limited acting skills are doing a scene together, it can be like watching paint dry for the audience. But when one is skilled and the other not, the more skilled one can make choices.

Here are two examples from when I was an acting student, before becoming a voice and acting teacher:

When less skilled, I got paired up with the experienced and brilliant Robert Herzog for an improv scene wherein we were driving on a mountain road, he nearly drove the car over a cliff, and we had to figure out a way to get out of the car before it dove to its death, taking us with it. After we had our rough sketch of the improv together, he tricked me! Or changed his mind, one or the other. He had said, “I don’t think this one will work. Let’s let other people go.” And then volunteered us anyway! I was so stinking scared. But the minute I sat down in my “car seat” and “my husband” was fiddling with the radio and starting to sing, I fell right in line with him. I walked out of the Pentacle Theatre that day with a bruised knee from my fall to the floor, but it was one of the most effective and memorable improvs I’ve ever done. Robert carried me along.

When I was more skilled, I got paired up with a young, inexperienced actress whose character was my teenage daughter, having just gotten a swastika tattoo. The more angry I became, the less engaged my acting partner became, basically just a talking head. But when I became truly sad in my heart, started to cry and tried explaining to her what that symbol stood for, the actress became emotionally grounded and asked, “Mom, why are you crying?” That was the best moment in the scene. It was believable; for that moment I was able to carry her along.

Perhaps talent, along with natural aptitude, is the ability to be emotionally present and expressive. To learn the needed skills to be a conduit of the creativity that wants to express through you. And you cannot be afraid of making a fool of yourself, even though it may be super scary! Feel the fear and do it anyway.

I’ve not been a huge Adam Sandler fan in the past. But when I saw another old movie recently, Mixed Nuts, with Steve Martin, Madeline Kahn, and another whole slew of talented actors…there Sandler is wearing a Venetian Gondolier type costume while making up and singing ridiculous songs on his ukulele. In no way was Adam Sandler afraid of making a fool of himself. And that’s exactly why it worked.

You can see me doing some of the same playing an older woman named Patty in Chapel Theatre’s production of Shine Strong the Moon. In this short 10-minute play, rehearsed and produced in just three weeks, I had to learn to use a walker on stage. I’m playing the last survivor in an assisted living facility where every other resident has died from the COVID virus.

I won’t see the recorded, edited show until you do, and don’t have the release schedule yet for the March 5-7 run. You can get your $20 tickets for all 11 plays here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chapel-theatre-play-festival-tickets-138640648913

If you like the show, give us a vote, will ya?

Thanks for keeping me in your inbox and on your read list.

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

Love Your Voice & 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 Bow Knows & Shine Strong the Moon

I’m feeling humbled by what Chris Jones of The Bow Knows Video Production & Voice-Over https://chrisjonesmedia.com/ had to say after our recent video interview.

So, I’m humbly sharing his words as posted on LinkedIn. I’ve learned it’s not just okay – it’s important – for all of us to own our genius. To embrace our ability to inspire others. To acknowledge that we know a thing or two that will help other people live their best lives and most fully express their authentic voices in the world. Chris’ words and the link to our 20-minute interview is below.

Right now, I’m thigh-deep in rehearsals for Chapel Theatre’s production of Shine Strong the Moon. I am so very grateful for my acting partner, Marychris, and director, Aiyana. In just six short pages of script, I’ve found Patty (while Doris from The Owl and the Pussycat comes close) to be the most challenging character I’ve played to date. We are recording the show live at Chapel Theatre (in a COVID-safe environment, of course) on Sunday!!! Wow!!!

Get your tickets here! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chapel-theatre-play-festival-tickets-138640648913

And now from Chris Jones: Personal fulfillment​ is something you and I, and everyone, strive for.

My guest, Transformational Voice® Teacher, Masterminder, Singer, and Author,  Laura Handke, from Lake Oswego, Oregon, knows how to achieve that.

She gets into Transformational Voice teaching methods, and her 
Mastermind​ Process.

This was a great interview. Laura is full of spirit, energy, and expert knowledge of her craft.

We had fun, and many ‘knowledge bombs’ were dropped!

Here’s the Full Presentation!
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxFXk-W6Qa8

Thanks for keeping me in your inbox and on your read list.

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

Love Your Voice & 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.)

I Warmly Invite You…

Your local Transformational Voice® Teacher has been in an activity flurry as of late. I can “blame” (thank, actually) my Licensed Massage Therapist husband for part of the flurry. He’s turning one room in the house into a massage room, so we’ve been decluttering and rearranging like crazy. I tend to live lean as it is, but there was plenty of paperwork in my office to get rid of. I even bought a shredder so I could get rid of old tax documents. Me, a shredder! It feels SO good to streamline and downsize “junk.” Next will be the hall closet. I warmly invite you to join me and do the same in your own home. Just one drawer is always a good place to start.

If your vocal technique needs a little brush up, or you’d like to dip your toe into the pool of your inner authentic voice, I warmly invite you to join me for the next Saturday Voice Lab: Vocal Improv & Technique February 6th. We have fun while we’re learning and growing and using our voices. Register here: https://laurahandke.com/

I’m thrilled to announce I’ve been cast in another show (that’s two castings in two back-to-back auditions – happy me!) I LOVE the concept of the Chapel Theatre Winter Play Festival: This play festival will showcase local writers and their short plays by matching them up with directors and actors to carry out their work. Playwrights will submit their short plays to be considered while local directors and actors audition to take part in the festival. Chapel Theatre Co will connect the plays with actors and directors and allow two weeks to rehearse before presenting the finished product.

Seriously, how cool is that?! I’ve been cast as Patty in Kathleen Tomko’s 15-minute play, Shine Strong the Moon, with castmate, Marychris Mass, directed by Aiyana Cunningham. Here’s the director’s play synopsis: Lonely Patty, one of the last ones still breathing in an assisted living home, reminiscences with the spirit of her dear friend and soulmate. Amidst their usual sardonic interplay they leave us feeling that if we just look up at the moon, they will be sharing it with us. I warmly invite you to check out this website where you can find out more:  https://chapeltheatremilwaukie.com/2020/12/01/chapel-theatre-co-play-festival/

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

Love Your Voice & 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.)