Voice Lessons – From Humming to No Shame!

Backstage is, needless to say, a great resource for actors, and once again, they have posted an article with which I’m in complete agreement: http://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/acting-teachers/why-voice-lessons-are-not-just-singers/

I took years of voice lessons from a young age and continued to minor in ‘voice concentration’ in college at the Jordan College of Fine Arts.

It’s funny to think of where I began in terms of singing.  When I think of my first lesson (maybe 12 years old?), in the room at the top of the tower of the Hollywood United Methodist Church, right in the heart of Hollywood, you’d think because of the location, it was all glitz and glam.  Instead, there I was, insisting I would ONLY HUM my entire lesson.

No glitz to be found. Glam?  Nada.  Just nerves with the constant confusion as to why I was putting myself through this.  I knew I should be there, as my heart was telling me so.  But I would only hum.  My mouth wouldn’t open.

My poor instructor (Rich, if I recall his name), was so patient with me, playing away at the piano, just trying to get me to open my damn mouth.  Looking back, why the heck would I have a voice lesson if I didn’t have the nerve to try to actually sing???

Long story already too long, I eventually opened my mouth and sang sang sang.  I even ended up singing the National Athem at the LA Tennis Open for three years in a row.

My name in lights at the LA Tennis Open

name in lights

Whether I’m on stage performing, on camera, or behind a mic either singing or doing voice-over work, I know that my vocal training has contributed to a better performance, period.  In terms of vo’s, there have been a few things I have had to sort-of redirect in some of the vocal (singing) training I have had, as voice over is definitely a different ballgame.  But overall, taking voice lessons over the years has added to the richness of my vocal tone, has allowed me to lose the break in my voice between chest and head voice, and taught me how to go from the nervous, insecure little girl who would only hum her first voice lesson to the confident, strong woman I am today.

As I was told by a room full of producers the night before a commercial shoot, when I stood in front of them all, trying on different bathing suits (having had a kid a year before!), “You have no shame!”

Here’s the Ocean City commercial, where I had to wear the bathing suit. The cover-up robe was perfect: Ocean City Commercial “Thank you, Rodney!”

When they said I had no shame, they were right.  I do not.  And I thank, among other things, my years of vocal training.

I am grateful for the experience those lessons have provided me, and for this reason, I share my stories and the Backstage article.

It also makes me think I should sign up for more lessons.  It’s been a while.  Hummmmmm….

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