Body, Mind, Emotion and Spirit in Your Voice

Here is my reality as a voice teacher, singer and speaker. I can’t speak for other voice teachers or singers, only for myself.

Singing solo in public scares me. It scares me a lot. So much so that – while I can sing in the shower, or in lessons, easily and effortlessly, sounding great – even rehearsing for an online karaoke performance can make me nervous.

As I have become more committed to my own vocal practice, with my teacher, Linda Brice, it’s become all the more clear how singing to the best of your ability means a mind/body/spirit/emotional connection.

I got away from my own vocal training for a while. I wasn’t singing enough. Who would hire a life coach who didn’t keep up her own personal coaching practice? You shouldn’t pay for a vocal coach who doesn’t consistently keep up her own vocal practice. What I’ve found since getting back to my own vocal training is remarkable.

Being post-menopausal, but still having hot flashes, my voice is lowered. Hormones dramatically impact the voice. I am probably a mezzo-soprano now. Think Bette Midler. Adele. Tori Amos.

And…Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul…who likely had spinto soprano qualities as well…at least according to Google.

In my last lesson with my teacher, Linda, she likened my voice to Aretha’s. Which was interesting, because I had just watched the movie Michael and had gotten the sheet music for Chain of Fools. The song is featured in one scene in the movie. Aretha and I happen to have similar voice types – bold, brassy, and…loud. My technique isn’t what Aretha’s was…but I’m improving and she’s become my muse.

When I even rehearse for the next online karaoke, knowing someone is going to hear this, I get nervous. I can feel my abdomen clenching. It’s Aretha, for heaven’s sake, the Queen of Soul! How can I even begin to pay honor to her and the song writers?

I’ve started to understand that I can breathe. Relax all of the muscles in my body. Let go of outcomes. And connect with the musicians who made this amazing song possible in the first place.

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.)

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, New Year’s Blessings!

As this bizarre and challenging year is coming to a close, I send you and your loved ones very warmest wishes and blessings for 2021.

If you are friends with a holistic coach, actor, speaker, or burgeoning singer who would love a body/mind/spirit approach to vocal training, please pass this message along. My free 30-minute vocal consultation could be the key to begin unlocking their authentic voice.

In the meantime, do you like to cook? I hope so, because my gift to you this holiday season is recipes for my Christmas day menu. Enjoy…and feel free to sing and dance in the kitchen!

Great, Tasty & Easy Breakfast/Brunch Idea

Toast bagel halves (plain, onion, everything, cheese, anything savory). Spread with whipped cream cheese.

Add diced tomatoes and diced green olives with pimentos.

Top with freshly ground black pepper and perhaps chopped fresh basil.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

-6 sliced (3 halved) chicken breasts

-Melted butter

-About a half pound thinly sliced ham (I like Black Forest, or whatever’s on sale)

-About a half pound sliced cheese (I like provolone)

-An egg or two, beaten with a bit of olive oil

-Bread crumbs (I like Italian style) with a bit of paprika

Pound chicken breast pieces (cover with plastic wrap for less splatter – I use a meat hammer.) One at a time, brush the inside of each chicken piece with melted butter, add ham and cheese, and roll it up, securing with toothpicks. After all of the pieces are rolled up and secured with toothpicks, dip each in the egg mixture, and then coat with the breadcrumbs. (Yes, this can be a little tricky with the toothpicks stuck in, but you can do it!) Place in pan and bake, uncovered, at 375 F for about a half hour. Serve with bearnaise sauce (I use a packet) and Uncle Ben’s original Long Grain & Wild Rice.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Toss Brussel sprouts with olive oil and freshly ground salt and pepper. Roast in oven, uncovered, at 400 F for approximately 35-40 minutes.

Steamed Broccoli

Get water boiling in a sauce pan and turn down the heat. Consider putting a lemon wedge in the water before boiling. Put broccoli or broccolini pieces in a steamer tray and put in the sauce pan. Cover. Steam for around five minutes until broccoli is tender, but still bright green.

Butterscotch Pudding (Betty Crocker) with Whipped Cream

-2/3 C packed brown sugar

-2 TBSP cornstarch

-1/8 tsp salt

-2 C milk

-2 egg yolks, slightly beaten

-2 TBSP butter, softened

-1 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in 2-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir at least half of the hot mixture gradually into egg yolks; stir into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into dessert dishes; refrigerate.

For whipped cream (so much better homemade) just get yourself some heavy whipping cream and sugar and vanilla to your taste. Your electric mixer does all the work for you – mix until you have the consistency you want. Then put a dollop on top of your homemade pudding. Yum.

Again…sending you and yours all best blessings in 2021.

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.)

Recording & Rehearsing!

Hello from Lake Oswego! It’s been a departure from the norm for me recently outside of regular voice lessons and preparing for new vocal training classes in the new year.

I’m pleased to have been asked to be a guest on CallumConnects Micro-Podcast, your daily dose of wholesome entrepreneurial inspiration.

Callum says, “Hear from many different entrepreneurs in just 5 minutes what hurdles they have faced, how they overcame them, and what their key learning is. Be inspired, subscribe, leave a comment, go and change the world!”

You can take a 4 minute, 16 second listen to my contribution here! https://callumconnects.libsyn.com/laura-handke-entrepreneur

Rehearsals for Mask & Mirror’s radio production of A Christmas Carol have been a blast – great director and cast – and I merrily invite you to listen in (on a donation basis) beginning December 18th – details here! https://www.maskandmirror.com/

If you know of an organization or school who needs the Four Vocal Superpowers Most Pros Don’t Know in 2021, email me at info@laurahandke.com. The entire workshop can be done via Zoom. Until then, I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season as much as possible in these days of COVID-19. Do something special for yourself. Put up decorations that make you happy. Put on music and sing while you’re cooking or baking. Do the same while stretching your body or doing yoga. Weather permitting, get outside and walk in nature. Season’s Greetings.

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 Christmas Carol: A Radio Production by Mask & Mirror Community Theatre

Friends, students, and readers,

I’m tickled pink to have been cast in Mask & Mirror’s radio production of A Christmas Carol!

Oh, the acting bug had been biting hard again – it’s been two years since I was last on stage (you can read about my experience in Das Kaspar Theatre here: https://laurahandke.com/simply-authentic-your-soul-voice-is-calling-theatre-feels-like-home/) other than playing piano for Mask & Mirror’s wonderful production of Rabbit Hole last summer. “The Stage”, of course, looks very different now, thanks to COVID-19. The director, Daniel Hobbs, and all of we cast and crew members are working from home via Zoom. Performances (pre-recorded) begin December 18, 2020. You can read all about it here: https://www.maskandmirror.com/.

We’ve only just begun the rehearsal process, but I’m so excited already!

Das Kaspar was a huge stretch for me as an actress for many reasons. The dialog, subject matter, my first staged reading, playing drunk and falling off a barstool, ultimately dying on stage.

A Christmas Carol is a huge stretch for many other reasons. Dickens’ classic is one of the most beloved (including by me) Christmas stories of all time, re-written for radio by the director. The audience can’t see us; only hear us. I’ve been cast in three different small roles which require three different distinct voices. This is my first experience with voice-only acting, and I can’t even get together in person with my director and cast-mates!

Bah! Humbug!!

Just kidding.

I’m super excited about the show and invite you to join us for performances. We are all volunteers and the show is a gift to our audience. Yet I hope you will give a generous donation to support the theatre. We can all use more creative expression and uplifting entertainment in these challenging times. https://www.maskandmirror.com/

Whether you have on your holiday table “the bestest goose that ever was”, like Tiny Tim, a lasagna, like I’m making, or a turkey or tofurky, I wish you and yours a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. God bless us, everyone.

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.)

Holiday Cooking Ideas

The holidays are going to be very different this year for a lot of people, thanks to COVID-19. George and I have decided it will be just us and Linn-Linn the kitten celebrating here. I still want to put up decorations and make nice meals, though; it will help me feel more festive. I’ve been thinking about simple menu ideas and we’ll likely be having an Italian-themed Thanksgiving dinner with Great Aunt Martha’s lasagna recipe; for Christmas, perhaps chicken cordon bleu with bearnaise sauce, wild rice and vegetables. (We like turkey; we just like other things better.)

If your household is like ours and you want to celebrate the holidays with tasty food, but on a smaller scale, this year, here are some cooking ideas for you.

Steamed broccoli: Get the water boiling before you turn down the heat, put the steamer dish loaded with the vegetables in the pan, and cover. Remove broccoli from the pan while still crisp and deep green in color, not more than 5 or 6 minutes.

Roasted chicken: This is the best way I’ve found so far to bake consistently flavorful and juicy whole chicken. (It might work well with other birds; I haven’t tried.) The night before you cook, or several hours in advance, rinse out and dry the bird. Loosen the skin as much as you can without tearing it. (If it does tear, no big deal.)

-In a small bowl, mix about 1/3 C olive oil (depending on size of the bird) with seasonings of your choice such as: salt, pepper, seasoned salt, unflavored meat tenderizer, garlic powder, tarragon, sage, poultry seasoning, thyme, basil, oregano. Also have your favorite paprika nearby. Mix together well; the mixture should be fairly thick.

-Start with the chicken breast-side up and generously brush the oil/seasoning mixture under and over the skin. Sprinkle generously with paprika and brush more to distribute. Then put the chicken breast-side down in the roasting pan and repeat the process on the back and sides of the bird. Stuff the cavity with large pieces of chopped celery and lemon. Fresh tarragon leaves are good too. Keep in the frig to marinate for several hours and bring to room temperature at least one hour before roasting in the oven, covered, at 350 for about an hour. Let sit before carving and serving.

Baked mashed potatoes: If you love mashed potatoes and gravy, but want a make-ahead dish, this is it. Boil and drain your potatoes (I keep the skins on.) Mash potatoes with dairy ingredients you have on hand (no milk, maybe a hint of cream) such as butter, sour cream, grated cheese, cream cheese and seasonings such as parsley, dill weed, garlic powder, chives, salt, pepper, seasoned salt. Spread into a pan and bake until warmed through and lightly browned on top – about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the temperature of your oven.

And, here’s a great crock pot stuffing recipe I previously posted: https://laurahandke.com/simply-authentic-your-soul-voice-is-calling-two-terrific-recipes/.

Remember to sing while you’re in the kitchen!

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.)

An Interview with The Boston Imposters

I was fortunate to meet Maire Clement, and consequently her now husband and music-making partner, Davey Harrison, in the fall of 2017. That was when I began going through Linda Brice’s Transformational Voice® Teacher Apprenticeship Training Program for the second time, this time as assistant teacher.

I love the people, their music, the way this couple approaches life, and am thrilled to present this 34-minute interview, which closes with a rousing rendition of “The Quarantine Blues”.

You can find The Boston Imposters here: https://www.thebostonimposters.com/.  Go on and support their music-making now, will ya?!

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.)