Who is this work for?
For anyone who longs to find their voice (or connect more deeply with the voice they already found), whatever that means to you.
What has brought previous clients to you?
- After a promotion, a young professional received feedback that her soft, unassuming mannerisms were ineffective with her mostly male staff. She had great ideas, hence the promotion, but no one was listening because of how she shared her thoughts. We worked on making grounded, authoritative sounds while remaining authentic.
- A hobbyist songwriter wanted to explore the edges of his voice and discovered his joy of singing in his pure boyish falsetto.
- A middle school choir director came seeking a simple, memorable way to explore different tones with her 6-8th grade choirs.
- An improv troupe wanted to deepen their range of expression in the shows they perform.
Is this for singers? What if I don’t sing?
Though we often use singing as a coaching tool, the work encompasses all of the ways you express through your voice—speaking, sound, and singing. The amount of people who are actually tone deaf is significantly less than the amount of people who believe, usually because of a message received at a young age, they can’t sing. The Full Voice™ Institute holds that singing is our birthright, that singing is part of being human. Most clients are invited to harness singing—at least in the car or shower—as a part of their overall vocal growth.
What is the Full Voice™ Institute?
In 2016 I completed a year-long certification process with the Full Voice™ Institute, founded by Barbara McAfee, a prominent Minneapolis singer, songleader and voice coach. The vocal development tradition she inherited began when a WWI medic, Alfred Wolfson, a singer before the war began, tried to heal from living in the trenches and to re-find the voice he had. Over the years he realized his vocal problems were based not on his physical condition but on his psyche. To his amazement, when he vocalized like the wounded soldiers, wailing and moaning, he became more able to process his trauma.
His own healing behind him, Wolfson traveled around post-war Europe teaching and guiding other actors and singers into a deeper, more raw connection with their voice, exploring the connection of psyche and voice. One of Wolfson’s students founded the Roy Hart Institute, a center “dedicated to vocal research and its application in life and art.” Barbara, my teacher, is a fourth generation teacher of this work. I have also studied with her teacher, Saule Ryan, who has been teaching at the Roy Hart Institute for decades.
What did you get out of this work?
Participating in the 2016 Full Voice™ cohort helped me deeply know my own worth as a human being. I worked on making big, deep, grounded sounds because they were uncomfortable, because I was the accommodating older child, rarely standing my own ground. I opened my Earth voice up. I sang the word “home” in my lowest voice as the cohort hummed in support. I cried, grieving the loss of my home and making space for new stabilizing forces to enter my life, making space for me to say “no” and mean it, to confidently name my longings and desires. In the words of Barbara’s teacher Kristin, “to free the voice is to free the person.”
Today the Full Voice™ framework helps me bring a depth of expression to my original music. It empowers me to communicate with purpose in day-to-day interactions. The experience also opened me up to oral tradition singing, a way of being in community that inspires and motivates me, that I believe is presently manifesting a more beautiful world.