My Songwriting Journey

This past year I’ve been writing more songs  . . .

I’d written songs before that covered universal themes of love, love LOST and social justice. They felt honest . . . and safe enough because I knew the themes were understood and felt and expressed by many people.

During this newer phase of writing, however, my initial themes felt more vulnerable . . . or at least in contrast to the identity I had created as a vocalist.  I wrote about seeing and feeling imbalance in the world and within myself, about the loneliness and isolation of only letting the world see one side of myself, about the challenge of being a woman in this world. . . . essentially, this was the antithesis of my comfort zone.  

But it felt GOOD, almost cathartic to give these feelings a voice. 

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Been Gone A While and Transformation

I’ve been gone a while.

This could be metaphorical and the time much longer.

At the beginning of 2016, I entered into what for me felt like ‘the great humbling’ - a health crisis that swept over me and brought in any peripheral psychological and emotional challenges that had been stagnant in the corners of my being. . . . .

Initially, I spent a good amount of time researching ‘what was wrong with me’.  I can see that that’s a question I’ve been silently asking for years - not just about my physical body.  I spent a lot of time and energy learning about auto-immunity, the endocrine system, trauma, and nutrition on the intellectual level. 

My focus and energy has now changed to what is right with me - more specifically, what is my capacity for love and creativity in the world and how can I expand that, share that?  How can self acceptance and nurturing complete the healing cycle for me?  What else, beyond the science, will create balance and alignment for my body and mind? . . . .

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When the Journey Takes a Detour

In a talk given by Tara Brach I heard an old adage - ‘a truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour.’

This struck me deeply - as the less mindful, less patient side of me would most easily default to thinking - ‘For the love of GOD, why do I keep getting SIDETRACKED?!’  (Hello there, drama queen :).

My body and my relationship with it has become a profound detour.  Upon reflection, it has been trying to communicate with me for 25 years.  I am learning now to listen. . . . .

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Find YOUR Path

There’s no ONE path.  There’s just YOUR path.  Find YOUR path.

I’ve been paying attention to how we find satisfaction, reach goals and fulfill our dreams in different areas of life - artistic expression, personal relationships, physical and mental health, exercise, spirituality. . . . .

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Balancing Goals with Feelings of Satisfaciton

As the new year begins, I've been reflecting upon ways to maintain a sense of growth and progress while balancing a sense of satisfaction with where I am right now. It's a tough one. . . particularly in our culture.

One part of me yearns to feel a sense of ease, wholeness, balance, peace. It even fantasizes sometimes about dropping all projects to just BE. (shhh . . . don't tell the other half of me)

Another part of me is passionate about growth, learning, exploring, improving, and moving forward.

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Singing and Life Lessons - Vocal Nodes to Vocal Strength Ep.7

I was asked to share more of my own journey with singing, so here we go!  Travels, trials, tribulations, break down and recovery.  Navigating different genres and our capacity for limitless growth and increased confidence with singing. . . .

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ReNew - ReSet - ReCommit

In order to sustain a creative life, I've found it paramount to focus on the ability to:

  • ReNew - Replenishing energy - what fills me physically, emotionally, spiritually - what keeps me full of life and able to have the energy to give in my teaching practice, in performance, and when I work on arranging or songwriting
  • ReSet - Every opportunity I take to practice mindfulness - being in the here and now - is progress. I'm no enlightened monk. I try to remember to do it as many times a day as I'm able.  I fumble often. But I get a chance to 'refresh the page' as many times as I need. When I remind voice students to heighten their body awareness for sensations of vibration, pressure, tension . . . I receive the gentle reminder myself.
  • ReCommit - It's too easy for me to convince myself that I should quit something I've started when the going gets tough - when my persistence and patience are tested, when I have to increase my knowledge and skill level, when I have to face a fear that's 'protecting me'. This holds true for creative projects as well as personal goals. What I now see as part of the process is the need to recommit to or reaffirm the initial value of that new endeavor. 
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Do You REALLY Celebrate Success?

Do you celebrate achievements or are you the check, let's move on type?

I listened to Jared Robbins describe two types of people as a guest on a podcast recently.  He claimed that the first type were very black and white. They set goals. When they achieve them they think, 'OK - fine.  What's next?' When they don't achieve them, they generate a lot of self blame. The OTHER type of people, he says, celebrate every little measure of progress. . . .

 "What? That's a thing?! You can celebrate all 'achievements' - great and small?" I saw for the first time clearly that I fall squarely within the first camp. . . . . 

This small shift coupled with my gratitude journal has seriously upgraded my level of enjoyment of my own life. . . . And it has been here all along. ;)

Life is good.  Let's celebrate.

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Retrain Your Brain - Be Who You Choose to Be

We are what we think.

Furthermore, we can train our minds to focus on the kinds of thoughts we find most beneficial. And we can choose the thoughts we have about any given experience.  ( ?!@#$?)

This is not to say that all experiences are positive or feel good.  That isn't life. Life is real and beautiful and messy and challenging.

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Are You Getting in Your Own Way? Stop it.

Have you ever gotten a tiny glimpse of what is standing between you and your goals or dreams and recognized that it was YOU?  

I have.  It’s awkward, no painful, no embarrassing . . . BUT oh so informative and potentially empowering.

This weekend I got another taste if this fine lesson. . . .  

The biggest culprits of inhibited growth for singers seem to be negative self talk and a fixed mindset.

Game changer.

 

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What's Your Passion?

I’ve always envied those who’ve know what their passion is. My brother knew he wanted to be a doctor when he was a young boy and he is now a successful doctor.  My husband knew that he wanted to be a guitarist at the age of 11 after hearing a recording of Paco de Lucia, he’s now a successful musician and music educator.  But, I've always had a plethora of interests. . . . . . . . 

  • CONNECTING WITH OTHERS THROUGH SONG
  • EXPRESSING THE DEPTH OF HUMAN EMOTION THROUGH SONG
  • WITNESSING OTHERS REALIZE THEIR TRUE POTENTIAL

THAT’S what I am passionate about.  I’m still a singer, a vocal coach, and a piano teacher . . . I’m just more in tune now with how I fit into the world. Helping and connecting with others is front and center.

What do you feel passionate about?

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Perfectionism - Enemy of Growth

I consider myself a recovering perfectionist. And the story goes like this. . . . Once upon a time there was a girl. Her name was Little Miss Perfect.  She chided, teased and judged - a lot.  Anything that did not fit into her imagined world of perfection was devalued and discarded . . . . until one day she looked around and realized that she was ALL ALONE - because NOTHING and NO ONE is perfect. 

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Technique Isn't Everything

vocal technique is not everything.  It can turn into something to hide behind.  There is a balance between technical mastery and stylistic expression.  A clear, resonant tone has its place. It’s a strong place.  However, there are textures and tambres in voices that really speak to us as human beings.  We use the voice to express the full array of human emotion . . . and that’s not always ‘pretty’ - thank goodness.

 When exploring the possibilities of your voice, I encourage you to do so with a sense of openness and curiosity.  There is a place for us all to find freedom within a form.

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