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.)

Toby’s Online Karaoke

Students, friends and colleagues, here’s a reminder the next Saturday Morning Voice Lab: Vocal Improv & Technique is January 23rd, 10:30 – Noon. For beginners and those who want a brush up! Register here: https://laurahandke.com/

How ironic that I was preparing my first open mic in the Portland area right before COVID started hitting hard here, just under a year ago now.

Since then, my performing outlet has been Toby Loftus’ Online Karaoke Circle.

Toby’s unique blend – love of music, strong technology background, and understanding of human nature – make him the perfect person to create a safe online space for people to practice their skills. And…you don’t have to sing! Some people play instrumental solos. Some just come to the party to watch, listen and applaud. One night I tried out the voices I was working on for a radio show version of A Christmas Carol.

You can enjoy my 19-minute vlog interview with Toby here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEGYjTt0kRc

How to do online karaoke parties: https://howtodoonlinekaraoke.wordpress.com/

Toby’s blog with recent press: https://blatantcalm.home.blog/2021/01/01/spreading-the-news-about-online-karaoke/

Keep singing with me in these days of COVID!

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.)

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.)