We are so excited to announce it is our first birthday. Yes, it is one year since we launched our very first episode of A Voice and Beyond and to celebrate this exciting milestone, we would like to share some brilliant highlights from our interview rounds, where our internationally acclaimed voice teachers and music artists offer their pearls of wisdom from lessons they have learned throughout their own personal and professional experiences in the music industry, in the teaching studio and beyond.

Each guest shares with us their empowering words of advice, as they speak candidly about their own journeys of self-discovery, self-care and self-awareness. It is through these lessons, we can all learn and grow, reconnect with our most authentic selves, and discover our voices in song as well as life, so we too can empower others, including our students.

It has been a real joy spending time with all my guests and I am truly grateful for their contribution to the show. We hope that you enjoy part two of our two-part birthday celebrations.

Don’t miss Part I of our birthday celebrations, check it out.

In this episode

0:01 – Introduction to our Birthday Celebration of Voices

1:44 – Donna Cameron from Episode 4

9:53 – Petra Raspel Borzinski from Episode 46

13:48 – Sarah Marshall from Episode 33

19:41 – Emma Ferris from Episode 23

23:53 – Duncan Rock from Episode 29

27:24 – Elina Winnel from Episode 37

31:11 – Chris Johnson from Episode 15

35:05 – Dr Nidhi Krishnan from Episode 30

37:43 – Grace Ng Ee Wern from Episode 40

40:18 – Peter Edwards from Episode 39

44:50 – Julie-Anne Whitfield from Episode 25

50:09 – Jen Haddix from Episode 49

53:51 – Heidi Moss Erickson from Episode 35

59:48 – Evan Dunn from Episode 52

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Dr Marisa Lee Naismith is excited to announce the release of her new book “Singing Contemporary Commercial Music Styles: A Pedagogical Framework” published by Compton Publications UK. Marisa offers this book as a starting point and as CCM markets continue to evolve, she encourages that we, as a voice community, continue to evolve, debate and communally add to this framework.

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Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:03

We are so excited to announce it is our first birthday. Yes, it is. One year since we launched our very first episode of voice and beyond. And to celebrate this exciting milestone, we would like to share some brilliant highlights from our interview rounds, where our internationally acclaimed voice teachers and to professional health practitioners offer their pearls of wisdom regarding self care, and personal development from a mental, physical and emotional standpoint.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:42

Each one of our guests shares their empowering words of advice, as they to speak candidly about their own journeys of self discovery, self care, and self awareness. It is through these lessons, we can all learn and grow, lead a healthier, more purposeful life, reconnect with our most authentic selves, and discover our voices in song as well as in life. So we too can empower others, including our students. It has been a real joy spending time with all my guests. And I’m truly grateful for their contribution to the show, we hope that you enjoy part two of our two part birthday celebrations. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:44

In episode four, titled How To Break free from stress and anxiety, Donna Cameron, who is a registered psychologist, dives deep into describing the symptoms and warning signs of stress and anxiety, and the physical, mental and emotional changes that occur in our bodies. When we are experiencing those conditions. We share a part of the episode where Donna offers an insight into the impact of COVID-19 on mental health in our society, and shares some practical strategies that we the voice teaching community can implement to deal with these issues within the studio. Let’s hear what Donna has to say. When we’re in a one on one situation with our students. We can see what’s going on. And we’re not psychologists. And sometimes they want to speak to us we build that trust in that rapport. How do we deal with that?

Donna Cameron  02:52

So that line you just said there is really the golden line? It’s the giving advice part. So when a kid or anyone comes to you with a problem we put on our head, and we kind of think, Oh, I’ve got a duty now to fix this problem. Yeah, but that’s us talking on this head level. And you’ve got that child in there for what? So half an hour, 45 minutes or an hour, like half an hour or an hour? Yeah, yep. And then they go off. And you now don’t see them potentially for what another week? Exactly. So if you’ve tried to in your limited time that you’ve got any way where you know, you’ve got to also get through all of these things, because you know, the parents potentially going to go How was your lesson today? And what did you do? And we try and problem solve, then that’s not going to potentially fix the problem, because you don’t have enough time. And then you’re not going to know if it did fix a problem. And that’s the stuff you guys take home. So you take home that oh, yeah, what did I tell them? Did I help them enough? And how are they do I need to check in? And so you’ve taken that problem on yourself? Yeah, what we need to understand is, a lot of the times when people are struggling, they’re not ready or even want problem solving. And this is again, kind of separating the two hubs of the head and the problem solving and this emotional hub. If you guys can just notice that a student is just in a little bit of pain. And if you can just let them talk and validate their emotions in that moment. And that’s as simple as just going. You know, that sounds really crappy. I can see that that really would make you angry. Oh, yeah, that’s a really horrible situation for you to be going through. Like, that would make me sad as well. I can see why you’re sad. Is there anything? What can we do for sad today? Like, do we sing a sad song? Or do we do something like about that emotion today? If that kid’s really angry, let’s do something really angry. Let’s scream it out. Blah, blah, blah. If you guys can do that, then what should happen as well as you will see the kids will release some of their emotion in that half an hour or hour. When they leave, they’ll be a bit more positive. Yeah, and you guys then shouldn’t take it on board so much, because first of all, you feel like you’ve helped and second of all, you’ve understood your limitations. You’re not then going home and it’s not running through your head all night.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:59

You Yeah, no, that’s great advice, because we’re told that we should not talk to the student about their problems. So you as someone that’s in that medical field, you’re saying, It’s okay, to a certain point to acknowledge what’s going on, don’t take it on board. But just by using song, to release a little bit of what’s going on. That’s fantastic advice. So for the rest of us?

Donna Cameron  05:29

you guys afterwards as well, then if something has hit a nerve in you, again, you release that emotion on your way home as well. So then if that means you need to have a bit of a teary moment about this talk, you’re going through something or that’s triggered you about something from your childhood, or you’re really pissed off at the friggin system for this allowing to happen, yeah, then you do it as well, you scream and yell and put some music on and like get it out as well. And that will then mean you can go home and kind of take that hat off and then release it. So yeah, we’ve got to teach them how to release it. But then you’ve got to do it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  06:00

What are some strategies that you would recommend, or our teaching community, things that you would advise for helping with anxiety, because there are a lot of teachers that have really struggled, a lot of teachers have lost their jobs, a lot of them haven’t had that interaction with their students for so many months. And we’re teaching online.

Donna Cameron  06:25

So basically, we break it into almost three things that our little emotional hub needs to be able to release. The first one is pretty self explanatory. And it’s that physical release, okay, I call it a physical outlet, because a lot of people I meet seem to be allergic to the word exercise. So I,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  06:44

I’m hearing you, I call it movement.

Donna Cameron  06:47

Oh, well, there we go. So that’s your physical outlet. So you have to do something and it purely and it’s not for endorphins, or blah, blah, blah, it purely is stuffs happened in your working week, in or even just in life generally, and it needs to be exerted out. So what goes in has to come out, right, that’s the first. And most people I really think you do need at least sort of three times a week, it could be even just you know, 15 minutes to half an hour. But it has to be something physical, and stress cuts really selfish, it can’t be that walk to the supermarket, or because that’s going to the supermarket. So that’s a no brainer, I live my life very much that I know, we’re just a normal week, how much I need for my outlets. And that is pretty much it’s four times a week of doing something physical. That’s just normal stuff, right? That’s just work, kids, relationships, all of that fun stuff that we love, but it causes us just generalised stress. If a bigger event pops into my world, then I increase that. So almost do something then daily, but I’ll reduce the intensity. So if I usually run, I’ll know now that I’m going through a bit of a bigger stressor. So I’m not going to run because that might burn me out more. So but I’ll walk and I’ll do that then every day until that stressor passes. So it’s really trying to keep yourself in reserves to be able to cope in the big things pop in. So that’s kind of item number one. The second thing everyone needs to be doing is that downtime. So this is what we call kind of like our battery charging time. So you can even do you know, sometimes during the week on flat out as well. And a lot of you know, take you this is what we do, right? If you’re busy during the week, you don’t have a lot of time to yourself. So that might just be you know, a longer shower on those nights. Just a hot shower, I turn off the lights, I put some oils on the wall creates like a big steam room and I just kind of sitting against the wall and close my eyes and just That’s my downtime, you know, during the week, because I don’t have time for anything else. Yeah, it might be watching an episode of You know, something on TV, but don’t have your phone with you and don’t be doing work as well. So it’s one activity at the moment. And then the third one we almost touched on a little bit before but this is the one that everyone stuffs up and doesn’t do properly is our own emotional regulation. So if something upsets us during the day, even this COVID stuff, if you’re sitting there and you’re talking to your colleagues and you know you were really angry about having to teach online, then don’t problem solve it because we couldn’t do anything about it. You’re allowed to just validate I’ve got the right to be you know, angry about that. If someone pisses you off in the middle of the shops, and when you’re leaving, you just want to have that little like, Oh, they’re an idiot moment. Like it just it’s got to be released out. Yeah, if something makes you sad, allow yourself you don’t even have to cry. Just allow yourself to kind of drop your shoulders and just go yeah, that really upset me and that’s okay. So it’s that validation of the emotions before you then jump to the problem solving.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  09:53

Episode 46 With Petro or spell Burzynski is titled establishing boundaries Between therapist and teacher in the voice studio. Petra, who is an accomplished musician, and educator has also trained in psychology, somatic therapy and cognitive behavioural approaches, Patrick teaches performing artists how to regulate their nervous systems reconnect with their bodies, and their deepest values so they can perform and live freely. In this part of the episode, Petra shares that it is acceptable for us as voice teachers to have empathy and to hold space for our students to be heard. However, there needs to be a very clear distinction between these roles for the welfare of the teacher, as well as the student. Here’s Petra, with her brilliant advice.

Petra Raspel Borzinski  10:55

The one piece of advice I would give is really, to start with yourself and your own boundaries, that might sound really surprising to some people. But to get some clarity about, what do I actually need? How do I look at my own mental health? Also, how involved do I want to be in the mental health of my students and clients, so to have these boundaries in terms of time and expertise, and what maybe pushes your buttons and what you’d rather not, and so on, to have them very clearly laid out, because I think a lot of people don’t really have clarity about it, they push it aside a tiny bit, and then really take the next steps from there. Because if you’re clear about your own boundaries, and what you need, you will also be a better teacher, and you will be able to support the ones in your care a lot better without feeling bullied into doing something that you don’t want to do that you feel is out with, the way you want to work, or sort of looking at self care, which sometimes totally goes out the window for many of us because we’re taking on so much from to see if you’re one of those, that you have clear boundaries that your boundaries are not so permeable, so to speak. So start with yourself and your boundaries first, that’s not selfish. That is actually the first step to then look into. What does my student need? And how do I communicate my boundaries in a way that’s not shame inducing or guilt inducing for my students, at the end of the day, if you’re anxious in the studio, that comes across as well. So in the same way that the client will take that on as you might take on their anxiety. So it’s really important and it’s a part of self care to just say, Okay, I’m noticing, I’m not emotionally or mentally well at the moment, and I’m seeking out the help. I mean, if you have a physical ailment of sorts, you’ll see your doctor. Well, why not do that, if you feel that’s the case with your mental or emotional health, so it needs to stop thought we’re thinking we are less than just because we have a need in that area as well as it’s the same thing really, whether you have a broken leg or whether you’re emotionally unwell, you should be able to seek out help for both without feeling ashamed about it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  13:48

We feature Sarah Marshall, a singing teacher, examiner and adjudicator with degrees in music performance, psychology and counselling in Episode 33, titled, performance anxiety, more than just sweaty palms. In this episode, Sara describes performance anxiety as those random intrusive thoughts that flood our brain prior to and during a performance. Sara explains how she draws together strategies from a range of fields and in this interview, she shares with us how we as voice teachers can help our students navigate stressful circumstances to manage performance anxiety. He is Sarah with her brilliant advice.

Sarah Marshall  14:44

As teachers we have to be the rock. We have to be unemotional. Anxiety is contagious. You know in your own life. If you’ve had a great day at work and you walk in the door and one member of the family is running around really anxious all of a sudden everybody in the family snapping at each other and feeling Yes, yes, same with your students. And Udo, if you have a student that is bought this coming exam or audition, and you think they’re not going to do well. And so you are quietly feeling a bit anxious for them, telling them that you’re feeling anxious for them, is actually not going to help it. So whether you think they’re going to do brilliantly, you’ve got to stick with the facts and be very much about that skill acquisition task. Because there was a recent study, like I made a couple of months ago with dancers, where they’ve showed that teachers that were able to remain in that task orientated, think like small, incremental steps, this is what you need to do next, when you’ve got ticked that off, then you do this and so forth. They actually act as a buffer against students who have perfectionist concerns, if you’ve got a student who’s got all these perfectionist concerns, and if you’ve got a teacher, that also works with an ego related culture and and ramps up those perfectionist concerns, this person is much more likely to get sick or burnout. Whereas if you’ve got a teacher with this task orientated calm, really, I’m sorry, that sounds distressing for you, what I think you need to do next is this could be helpful. What do you think about this as being your next helpful step? You know, if you’ve got a teacher like that, they actually found in this study, you have less cases of anorexia, you have less burnout, less dropout, higher student engagement. And so that’s a sort of a global answer, right? I do as a teacher, why students if they’ve got a big thing coming up, particularly if they’re going for a role. Now, this is probably different if you have people doing this as a profession, okay? Because the answer is change. But I get them to articulate to me how their life is going to change. If they get that role. What is going to change? If they get that A plus? What is going to change in their life? If they get that I now tell me what is going to change? If you fail? What is going to change? If you don’t get that role? And the things that matter? In a teenager’s life, I think like are they still going to have a roof over their head? Are they still going to get fed? Are their family still going to love them? Is their boyfriend still gonna love them, all of that none of that changes, you know, those things that really matter, do not change. And so that can be a really powerful tool to put a brake on that, um, teenage catastrophizing stage, if you’re dealing with adult performers, were who may have their own family and getting the role makes the difference of being able to pay the mortgage or not, that becomes profoundly different and probably not nearly as good a question. But in that situation, the reality is that if you get one out of 20 auditions, then you’re actually doing better than most. And every time you don’t get that role, or you don’t get that audition means that you’re one audition closer to getting that next one. The reality is it’s a really tough business to be working. And the two things that I think teachers can really help with is after performances, or auditions or whatever, before they get results. If possible. Just ask the student to articulate what they think they did well, in that audition, even if it just meant they got through the piece, and didn’t fall over the furniture and cry. Whatever it is, they feel they did well. And then what would they change for next time to make the next audition or performance better? Yeah, whatever performance we do, there are always something that we think awesome to offer. Did that bit okay?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  18:52

What is the best piece of advice you want to share with our voice teaching community? 

Sarah Marshall  18:58

Listen. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  18:59

love it.

Sarah Marshall  19:00

Yeah. You know, I read this book by a violin teacher who taught Isaac Stern and all these people that Julia Dorothy delay and the line I remember from reading, she says, I’ve learned as a teacher, to be silent. And I think that if we can listen to people, then we can respond and help them be the best performer they can be. And we can help give them the direction they need. At the end of the day as a teacher, sadly, it’s all about them.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  19:41

Episode 23 is titled breathing the power to survive and thrive with breathing and trauma coach Emma Ferris, Emma talks about the results people can achieve when they reset their brain with improved breathing techniques. She talks candidly about her own personal devastating experience. When she discovered she was in a relationship with a con man. It was during this experience that she came to the realisation that we, as women can thrive and cultivate calm by tuning into our emotions and our bodies, as well as listening to our gut. Let’s listen to Emma’s brilliant pearls of advice to the voice community. 

Emma Ferris  20:31

How do we thrive, that’s been my next journey and many ways, and it’s the reason why I created my online course cultivating calm was women only. So I mean, I want women to be able to have these tools to build that toolbox up to help you deal with these moments of life crisis, which we’re all going to go through. Like, I feel like I’m doom and gloom sometimes. But actually, this is life. We don’t have a smooth roller coaster. We have the highs and the lows. And actually, it’s how we deal with the lows. That is the most powerful pace. And so when I was at that low, and on the bottom of the on the floor, I had to come back to okay, I must notice what’s happening my body, I must express his emotions, I must not hide away from this, I must step into it. And I had to work harder at having rests and having recovery in that time because I was exhausted like being Yeah, it was an exhausting process. But I know also that it was a way of from trauma you actually can be grow and the wisdom that comes from it. It’s actually a really good movie to come out and good books by a guy called Dr. Gabor Ma Tei is a doctor a GP background, and really worked a lot on diction and understanding trauma. So the wisdom of trauma is his book. And again, this is what I do, I bring all these different Tozan to help share this knowledge. Because, again, it’s not just about breathing, it’s not just about I’m going to meditate for 20 minutes, and my mind’s going to be clear. It’s like actually, the crux of it is learning to tune in learning to tune into our body, our emotions, our mind, and having conversations with ourselves so that we understand where we are at. And that’s what I wasn’t doing. That’s the reason why I got conned as I wasn’t taking time for me to listen and tune in. And even though my, my gut was like screaming at me at certain times, and I would go and research things. And I thought I found the information but because it changed his name legally. I couldn’t find it. So then my heart would go Oh, and what my thinking brain he would go Oh, no, he’s told me that I can’t find the information out. So must be true. You know, nobody would lie about that sort of stuff. Well, actually, they can. So it’s kind of a crazy story with that. But what it really helped me to know and this is probably this next pace of learning for me and sharing of wisdom is that for thought and decision making, particularly leaders, what we need to be doing is coming from this embodied cognition place, which is actually we come from our gut understanding, listening to our gut and our body and our heart, and then our body feel safe. And then our thinking brain can actually make a choice from a place of GROUNDED GROUNDED reaction, you know, it’s not from this reactivity. So that’s there’s so many lessons and it’s really for me, I’m I try and go I’m like, am I a physio I’m a stress coach. I’m like, I’m a growth coach. That is who I am. I help people go through moments of challenge and trauma and thrive at the end of it. Whatever tool you need along the way, 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  23:15

Emma, what is the greatest thing you’ve learned about yourself over the past year through COVID.

Emma Ferris  23:22

I am stronger than I ever knew I was beautiful.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  23:25

Love it. And what is the best piece of advice you want to share with our voice teaching community,

Emma Ferris  23:32

your voice is much more than just your lungs and your diaphragm. It has your head and your heart. It has everything that connects with it. So to have embodied singing is what I’d probably encourage.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  23:53

In Episode 29, we feature Duncan rock, who is a nutritionist, registered exercise professional, as well as a professional baritone. In this episode called time to walk towards optimum health. Duncan shares his depth of knowledge as well as his inspiration for wanting to help others improve their overall health and well being. He stresses that an exercise regime accompanied with an appropriate nutrition plan not only promotes a healthy lifestyle, but it’s the best way to defy all cause mortality. Let’s listen to the great advice Duncan has to share with us in terms of improving our overall health.

Duncan Rock  24:43

We talk about often the 8020 rule in nutrition. If you do the right quote unquote right thing 80% of the time the other 20% will look after itself it’s no problem. It’s not a purity test. It’s an all or nothing response. It’s not your naughty it’s not your bad it’s not your greedy it’s not your Lazy, none of this stuff that seeps into people’s mindset. It’s difficult because of the environment we’re in, and you just need to know what to do. And do it. And sorry, I’m ranting again, but the three elements that tend to be missing when people have the right advice, adherence one, are you actually doing it? Or are you telling yourself you’re doing it? You know, with those 10,000 steps? Are you doing everyday? Are you doing two, three days a week? Consistency? Yes. Is it day in day out? How often you actually straying from the path consistency? So are you following the plan? Are you doing it consistently, and time and time? Unfortunately, health outcomes and changes to physiology improvements or detriments to physiology, are measured on the timescale of months and years, you know, I could go eat McDonald’s for a month. And I, you know, I probably wouldn’t look that much different in a month. But if I did it for three months, yes. If I didn’t do it for three years, same with a gym programme, go to the gym for two weeks, you know, you’re not going to see much change.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  26:09

What is one piece of advice you would like to share in regards to physical activity?

Duncan Rock  26:17

Judo, I’m going to reiterate, because I don’t want to just give something new, just for the sake of it, get your 10,000 steps a day, strength train full body to maybe three times a week, and engage in some sort of restorative, stretching, mobility, yoga ish type exercise, you know, if you can do that, you’re 90% of the way that yes, this won’t get you onto the Olympic sprinting team. But it will make you healthy when you’re 75.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  26:46

I’m perfectly fine with that, because I don’t like running. And I don’t want to be on that sprinting team because I think running was invented so that you could get away from someone that was chasing you with a gun or a knife. Otherwise running is totally pointless.

Duncan Rock  27:06

I haven’t recently been chased by.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  27:11

Well, that’s my excuse.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  27:24

As a society, we are currently in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis. And in Episode 37, titled sleep for restoration and rejuvenation, we speak with Alina Wintel from the sleep expert, who is a world renowned sleep and insomnia coach, Elena believes that everybody has the ability to sleep well. And a common sense approach is far more effective to dealing with sleep problems. In order to solve the sleep disorders, it is important to tune in and reconnect with ourselves to resolve any underlying issues that are affecting our state of mind, and in turn, the quality of our sleep. So let’s listen to what Elena has to say.

Elina Winnel  28:19

Marissa, I still haven’t met anyone who had worse insomnia than I did. So like, naturally, for years, it was so bad. And now I sleep so deeply. And I want to share that because if there are people out there was struggling, I really want to say you can restore your ability to sleep well, naturally, I never thought that I would get the sleep back that I have today. And I get such deep sleep. It’s incredible to have been someone who literally could not fall asleep to now getting, I would say have a very high proportion of deep sleep during the night, which is very healing and regenerative regenerative to go from that to that. If I can do that, then anyone can do it. And so I just say Never Lose Hope it’s possible for anyone but also you know, reach out and get help because we’re not experts in everything. You know, it’s a much less painful process when you can find, not just help but effective help effective help. It’s also a lot of help out there. That’s not very helpful. But really find someone who can help you, you know, if you start working with someone that’s not really helping you then find someone else.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  29:40

If you had to offer one piece of practical advice to anybody who is having issues with sleep, even if it’s on a every night occurrence or occasionally. What would that advice be?

Elina Winnel  29:55

You’re gonna say something a little bit different now. So I did say seek out but also attune to yourself really start to listen to yourself, re empower yourself. You know, in our world today we’ve got apps, we listen to external authorities all we were losing touch with our selves. Yeah. And the process of sleep, you know, the daytime, we’re in the external world. Sleep is when we come back to the internal world. So build that connection to your internal world, again, attune to you, listen to the signals, your body is sending you listen to you, and listen to you over and above anyone else. Because it’s, you know, if we’re listening to people outside of us, yeah, we disempower ourselves, and it starts to send our nervous system out of balance. We have such an intelligent design and we get Yes, and all we need to do is remember that and attune to it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  31:11

Episode 15 featured Chris Johnson, and his episode was titled voice training for sustainability. Chris shares his journey as a singer who experienced vocal issues and how he has built a strong understanding of today’s music industry demands. He discusses the strategies he employs for assisting others to overcome vocal pathologies. But today we share a part of the interview where Chris speaks candidly about how he has implemented a regime of self care since the impact of COVID-19. Chris specifically discusses the importance of getting sunlight and the benefits of sunlight on our overall health and well being. Since COVID, it has given you a kick up the butt to take better care of yourself, because you have lost family members to COVID.

Chris Johnson  32:13

At the moment, yeah, because of a young family, and things like gyms not being open until just a week or two ago. That’s been a kind of tricky time if you liked it, and moving house as well been relocating city. So it’s been kind of tricky. And for me looking doing some of the research I’ve been doing recently, there are some very simple things to look at in life, I think, when it comes to almost your prime ore bodies function, and one of the things I’ve been doing is trying to get in the sunlight more, right? And there’s been reasons for that light, if you read it, people read stuff all the time, it says, yeah, what is you know, there’s vitamin D, there’s what I learned about recently was a molecule that stimulated by UV light, but only UV light into your eyes. So wearing sunglasses won’t stimulate this molecule, but the molecule is to do with melanin, which is the pigmentation but it links to ghrelin, which is a appetite hormone. And so if we get enough sunlight directly into or not looking into the sun, but you know, it’s bright outside, so as long as those photons are going into your eyes, you’re getting the stimulus and your body will manage its hunger way better if you get some sunlight directly into your eyes of reflection. And that is why we eat more in winter, apparently, because there’s so it’s such less of an intense sunlight in winter that our hormones switch to as eating more. So if we stay in in the morning for too long, or we’re stuck in the office all day with no sunlight, you can start to eat, eat, eat, and it makes so much sense. And the other thing that um, sunlight works with is the good side of cortisol and adrenaline, all of which are there for us to focus and learn and be awake. Which is why we don’t want the sunlight too much, or rather bright light at night. When you don’t want cortisol to keep you awake. You want want it to go away so you can go to sleep. So for me, the outdoors is like the most simple way of thinking this is doing so many good things for my body right now. If I am stuck in an office all day, I can be alert, be awake, start this process of self care and Vitamin D has been shown to be really effective against the symptoms of COVID. So if we do have a pandemic that rushes around the world again, and who’d have thought that we would have if we have been getting this sunlight we’ve been getting outdoors, you know, we might all be way better off as a population if we could just get out more

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  35:05

In Episode 30, titled myth busting COVID-19, we invited Dr. Nidhi Krishnan to join us to respond to our listeners questions regarding the virus. Based on all the news views, perceptions, misconceptions and conspiracy theories around COVID-19. It was my clear intention in this episode to seek all the answers to the more common and pertinent questions from Dr. Krishnan who is a healthcare professional with a science background, who has derived her knowledge around COVID-19. From working on the front line, as well as receiving daily updates from the appropriate official sources. Here I’d like to share Doctor Christians advice on what we can all do to protect ourselves against the spread of COVID.

Dr Nidhi Krishnan  36:06

So look, I’m going to be probably saying things that most of us already know. But social distancing, as I said, close proximity, that’s how it’s spread hand hygiene. Wash your hands, if you weren’t doing it before, do it now, wearing a mask. Obviously, again, it’s that concept of if two people are wearing a mask, and you have a sneeze or a cough, or you know, you spit a little bit when you’re talking, if you’ve got to mask barrier, it’s far less likely to have that droplet transmission. And then other things like cleaning the surfaces in your house. If you’re not already doing that super regularly, I’d suggest doing that more frequently. And then, you know, in my household being a frontline worker, it’s about when I come home from work, taking my clothes off, putting them straight in the wash, having a shower, the second I walk in the door, to try and leave as much as I can outside outside of the house setting. And certainly if you’re in a position to be able to do that no matter where you go, that could also be helpful.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  37:09

does there appear to be a certain environment where COVID-19 thrives, like in terms of temperature? I think it’s fairly

Dr Nidhi Krishnan  37:19

non discriminatory, as we’ve seen that all over the world seems to be affected hot called doesn’t differentiate by the colour of your skin or your religious beliefs or whatever. I think it’s COVID-19 Unfortunately, fair game for everybody.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  37:43

In Episode 40, our guest is Grace Ng, and her episode is titled The benefits of non traditional modalities in voice training. Grace is a voice teacher who has a studio practice based in Singapore, and it is there she has developed a unique and distinct approach to voice teaching and learning. Grace firmly believes that you cannot separate the mind, body and emotions from the voice and vocal issues are a result of disharmony is occurring within the student. Grace explains the major benefits to applying many non traditional modalities in the voice studio, including Jin Qin Jitsu, which is an energy healing modality. We listen to what Grace has to tell us about the healing benefits of Jin Shin Jyutsu. What is there from Jin Shin Jyutsu let’s talk about that specifically, what could we all learn from having more of an understanding of that practice

Grace Ng Ee Wern  38:58

that we are all constantly evolving? The other one is that I am therefore I think that who I be, you know, we can work with things with the grain with the students right with the way that they think and be and an express right but it goes together singing is healing. Yeah, it is. It’s so so many ways. And that’s the message that I like to take out especially now. Just as a saying again, this is one of the reasons why I gravitated towards it before we were the music was yes. I’m still trying to understand you know that correlate the music part of the jujitsu there are it’s related to sound healing in a way that that certain tones that harmonise certain safety energy locks, I’m not there yet. I don’t use that right now. But for example, okay, I do use the fingers for example, you place your middle middle fingers, right, the nail sides of the middle. That’s what it is about. Really what is the boy house of abundance the warehouse of about guidance is love, self love, love for everybody else. You know the planet that refills your wallet that clears all mental emotional projects

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:18

Peter Edwards is a natural therapist who has dedicated his life to teaching others how to heal their bodies, as well as their minds. And we feature Peter in Episode 39. Let your lifestyle be your medicine. Peter believes that given the chance the body can heal itself, and that by supplying our mind and body with the right biological conditions, we can experience the incredible healing and regenerative power of our own body. Peter shares that many of the patients who visit him are suffering from chronic pain that are being triggered by negative mindset, poor lifestyle choices and the impact of technology. In this episode, Peter teaches us how to awaken our personal power and take back control of our lives as well as our health. Peters one piece of advice for longevity is don’t outsource your health and self awareness is key. How do we learn to heal ourselves? How do we build that intuition?

Peter Edwards  41:37

This is where self awareness is very important. Now, everyone listening Listen to me. Don’t outsource your health to a doctor or anyone else. Become aware of yourself. Take responsibility for your own health and life, your own future. You create it you were make decisions and choices and we’re not perfect. It goes back to setting up a lifestyle journaling. What do you want? What do you really want? I think having one to know what he wants very important. Writing down your goals and plans like Marissa obviously does. That’s important to becoming self aware. Don’t rely on drug possible drugs have always say someone like me, a good holistic physician who can get you right in died, exercise mindset inspire you flick your switch you asked before what do I do with people that are have a victim mentality, I get inside their heads, I flick this switch. That’s what you need. Now if you can catch that vision and start journaling and my book 12 week rejuvenation plan, I’ve got mind exercises, very helpful. You have exercises which teach you to reset something that is positive, peaceful and poised means my calmness is my power. My calmness is my power. And that’s having confidence in yourself and faith in yourself. So being aware and seeing a physician, like me who’s more interested in your lifestyle, rather than just flicking your tablet, or next to the person next?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  43:07

What would be the best thing that people could do but their longevity right now? Well, Hippocrates

Peter Edwards  43:13

said, Let your food be your medicine. Also let your lifestyle medicine now in that it’s got everything. Positive, peaceful poise, frame of mind, be happy, hey, if you got if you’re feeding someone, let it go Forget it doesn’t help anyone, let alone yourself. So let your lifestyle be a medicine. And that’s what you do need someone like myself, who’s trained in the natural healing arts not just giving medicines, but the natural healing arts.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  43:38

And if there was one food that we’re neglecting from our diet right now that you believe we should all be eating or consuming that would help our overall health. What would that be?

Peter Edwards  43:53

I don’t have one food but I’ve got a lifestyle. Blue Zones are areas in the world where most people live over 100 They have no cardiovascular disease, no cancer. Now these zones are people who who live predominately and whole food plant based. They do have some fish, they can have eggs, eggs, very good protein, better, better cheese, bit of red wine, but it’s in balance and they’re very healthy people. So whole food plant based is very good. That’s really what we couldn’t put it down to a food but I’m a herbalist. If you want a herb which is fantastic for your hormones and your head panics, dancing. It’s fantastic. It carries oxygen to your brain. It works on you all of your hormone secreting glands. It’s fantastic good for everything libido mindset, everything.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  44:50

Julie-Anne Whitfield is our guest on episode 25 titled Creating a safe space of connectivity and Hearing in the voice studio, Julie-Anne is a representative from our you, okay, which is a non for profit harm prevention organisation that encourages people to stay connected and to have meaningful conversations with others who are going through the most difficult times in their lives. This is a most powerful episode, as Julianne explains how we, as friends, family and colleagues can become more alert to the behaviours of those around us. And we begin with Julianne explaining how we can recognise those non physical signs when someone is in difficulty or distress.

Julie-Anne Whitfield  45:46

Some of those sort of non physical signs that someone might be struggling might be, again, potentially not turning up for regular Yes, being excuses or reasons why they’re not turning up, ignoring messages, not getting back to you. Cancelling engagements, cancelling sessions, potentially, again, if you know them, and know that they may be a little bit isolated through all of this or a struggling? Again, I think it’s looking at that, how are they interacting, and even though we don’t have the physical, you can tell, for instance, I was on a call today. And I could tell just by the body language of one of these business owners, they were not in a good place. So you can still do it, it takes a little bit more, and you need to have that relationship and that understanding. But sometimes, you know, with if they’re totally distracted, and they’re not involved, and then not engaged, could be two things. They’re bored or, you know,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  46:53

yeah, not that was a craft lesson. And yeah, that’s a teacher.

Julie-Anne Whitfield  47:00

I heard one instance today, I think it was on the telly or something where somebody said, watching the child who was doing online teaching, and they were going through something quite complicated. And the teacher sort of called out and said, Well, hey, Julie, what’s your thoughts on that? And the student just sort of went well, to be honest, sir, I zoned out. Great, you admitted it, there are still ways you can acknowledge that somebody is disengaging, and just not their normal self.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  47:35

And sometimes it’s a kids who are ADHD to or are on the spectrum, they don’t cope with change. And they don’t cope not having that human interaction.

Julie-Anne Whitfield  47:47

And it is that change, they really don’t like change. But no, the whole world is a sense of order. And when that sense of order leaves, so it’s about reaching out to that and seeing how you can potentially reorder those sorts of things. Yes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  48:02

The other thing I’ve noticed and be interesting to see if other teachers and of course they can’t answer but just bringing this up, is that since we’ve come back to face to face teaching, that a lot of the students aren’t the same. They’ve come back, they’re more stressed, some students haven’t come back at all, they haven’t come back the return to school, they’ve just not coped through this whole COVID thing. I know of children that were self harming during that time, children that have been medicated a lot of children now being medicated for anxiety related issues. So we really are in a dealing with a completely different world, to what we were trained for. And this is what I’m thinking with, are you okay, it can give us those tools, not to go and fix the problems, but to create some sort of link between the person and them having that help that they need.

Julie-Anne Whitfield  49:07

And as you said, it’s that acknowledgement that things aren’t the same. They’ve changed. And for whatever reason, and as I’ve said to you, for some people, the home isn’t necessarily the happy place for them. School is often a refuge, like for many people work is a refuge. You’ve then got the the opposing, you know, for some parents, great parents until it comes to homeschooling, and then it’s like, Oh, my God, I’m trying to do this, trying to do that. So the whole family unit has been affected, and I’m sure some have handled it better than others. It is a different world out there. And to be honest, Marissa, I think that means we all have the obligation to actually look to the left, look to the right look to people and really reach out to everyone that we come into contact with, and try and make a difference and at least try and listen Hey

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  50:09

Jen Haddix is a certified yoga teacher, as self love coach and host of the podcast, the self love yogi. Jen was featured in episode number 49, how to heal yourself with love, in which Jen shares parts of her traumatic childhood, which led to her journey of healing, forgiveness, overcoming addiction, managing bipolar, and ultimately discovering self love. Jen believes that as a western society, we have become so disconnected from our feelings, our minds, and our bodies. And she now uses her personal experiences and knowledge to empower others to connect to their authentic selves. I begin by asking Jen, the one thing we can all do to become more present in our lives,

Jen Haddix  51:07

I would say, set a timer for 10 minutes, don’t have any expectation of meditation or anything, but just get your phone away from you, and sit with yourself for 10 minutes. And if you want to be sitting outside, if you want to be having a cup of tea, if you want to be doing something, but spend 10 minutes yourself every day. Yeah, just keep that because really, for a lot of us, we’re not used to showing up for ourselves. So it’s very hard like you and I just described these practices that we have, but I bet you took both of us a lot of time to create that as a daily habit. It took me a while to up for myself.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  51:41

Yes, yeah. And mostly people don’t start creating habits that serve them until they run into trouble. And I feel to have that to you too. Very much. So I had to I had to be in a lot of I was in a lot of trouble. Physically, mentally, emotionally. When I started all this and I knew I had to find a way out. And that’s

Jen Haddix  52:03

in a lot of people get to that point before they do it. And that’s okay, on that’s the thing too, is if you’re that if you’re listening right now, and it’s going to take you to get to that point to get there. That’s okay. That’s the way that our bodies and Spirit works. It’s, you know, we’re here having this experience, and you will get there when you get there. Your body will tell you, that’s how we get sick. That’s how we have diseases because we push our bodies so hard, and we don’t show up when we don’t take care of ourselves. And eventually your body is screaming, and it will tell you and you can choose now to try before your body starts screaming. And if you want to do that, just set a timer 10 minutes a day. Don’t expect anything, just be quiet. That’s honestly the biggest thing be quiet. Listen, too much talking we spend so much time doing, we need to listen,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  52:48

one piece of advice based on your experiences based on your knowledge, where you’re at in life. Now what would that be?

Jen Haddix  52:58

On any journey, when you start to realise that there are things that need to be healed, we tend to come at it from a very judgmental place. And we tend to feel very ashamed of the things that we’ve done or the things that we’re not doing the way we want to and anytime that you’re going to start looking at yourself, do it with as much love as you possibly can I try to, that’d be the easiest thing for me to say is that I know it’s hard. I know there’s parts of you like I look back on some of the things I’ve done and I’m like, oh god, that’s, you know, but I have to look at that with love because it got me to where I am. So if you’re looking at yourself and you want to heal something, do it with love, know that you are an unhealed child and an adult body and you’re just trying to figure it out. You’re just doing your best you are where you are, and just do it with as much love as you possibly can.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  53:50

Episode 35 is titled when science meets voice, my serendipitous life with Heidi Moss, Erickson, and acclaimed performer, voice educator and scientist who prefers to describe herself as a seeker. In this episode, we get a rare snapshot into Heidi’s personal and professional life as she opens up about what she defines as her serendipitous life. In 2007, Heidi suffered a rare facial paralysis, and she shares with us the tremendous impact of this devastating injury. Heidi explains how this life changing occurrence has allowed her to let her barriers down, become more vulnerable and accepting of herself and to continue on her own journey of self care and self discovery. From what I see when I follow you because I do follow you on social media. You are a great inspiration to all of us. But what I love is The vulnerability and you put yourself out there. And I think so many more of us could do the same.

Heidi Moss Erickson  55:08

And I do think that’s what palsy taught me is that, you know, now it’s on my face, I can’t hide anything, I can’t make myself look perfect, I can’t project that I have it all together. And so I think there was something liberating about that, in a way. And then I found, the more I did that the more people would then say, thank you, and then they could open up in a way that was cathartic. And I think it’s, that’s part of it, I think, science, we are allowed to have failed experiments. And you learn from that, as a performer in the public eye, any misstep is criticised. And so it’s a really hard way to live, if you’re not feel like you can’t make a mistake. So when I teach, there’s a lot of play, there’s a lot of, we’re just gonna sing this for fun and be a crazy character. And, you know, I call it like, the scientist in a crib, you know, it’s like the baby who takes the toy and bites its head off, and then it tastes bad, or throws it across the room, you know, I think we need to play more and find this kind of deeper reason why without judgement, so give ourselves permission, to make mistakes, and to just play sometimes

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  56:28

has your perspective on life in terms of appreciation, and gratitude changed also?

Heidi Moss Erickson  56:35

Absolutely. And as soon as I made that shift, then I was able to meet like, the love of my life, you know, I like then love and opportunity comes to you it’s a strange phenomenon is when you sort of accept it in yourself, and then become content in yourself, and I try to teach this, I have two daughters, then things come to you. It’s a way of being that I feel is so much healthier, that I’m not trying to fit in someone else’s box. I’ve created my own life and happiness and from inside, and then the rest follows.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  57:13

And from a physical perspective, did you learn to take better care of yourself? Like in terms of self care? Did that regime change? And did you appreciate sleep and diet and exercise? I did, they were they part of the healing journey as well.

Heidi Moss Erickson  57:35

1,000,000% with an inflammatory disease, which is what Bell’s Palsy is, and then I had other inflammatory diseases like Hashimotos, as well. And I had depression growing up, you know, so I had all of these you know, whole body holistic things, that what’s the cause, right? We sort of doctors shrug their shoulders and they give you know, and I come from a medical family. So I was sort of analysing it from from a very micro way. And I as I said, In the beginning, I love the micro stuff. But as soon as I started thinking about the macro, which I’m lucky living in the San Francisco Bay area, because they’re known for that, I’ll see eating and, and yoga and meditation, but there’s now science behind it. And I’m actually you know, going to be even teaching this for singers. You know, it’s like the biohacking. So I do things. I call it caveman biology. So, really, because it’s sort of, you know, I wake up in the morning, we need to expose our eyes to natural sunlight. You know, just little things like this that we forget in the modern world can make you healthier, and sleep is definitely one of those things. It’s necessary for learning and how many nights did I stay up studying for organic chemistry and not sleeping at all? Well, I would stay up all night was the worst thing I could do. I think we take sleep for granted. But that is where your learning occurs. That is where your motor imprinting and your well being and everything else will follow. You know, the exercise, the eating, the positivity, all of that. But if you’re not getting good sleep, nothing will work. Even 10 to 20 seconds of just mindful rest in between a motor task can solidify that task 20 to 30 fold. So now with students, they’ll do something and then it’s like, you know, we’ll just have a little zen moment. And for all of us, it’s just those little things that now seemed anecdotal in this quote, self care, have met the scientific proof and that is something that’s very exciting to me.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  59:47

Our guest in Episode 52 is Evan Dunn, who is a mindfulness coach who believes that our thoughts do not define us and they are not always the truth. In this episode titled mindfulness, you can unlock the power of your mind. Evan explains that mindfulness is a practice that helps us to dis identify with those thoughts and manage our emotions. So we can all live a far more intentional life. He describes mindfulness as a way to discover who we truly are, connect to our deepest feelings, learn how to process those feelings, and ultimately become more empowered in the future. Evan believes that we all have the power to design a life where we all feel so much better than we do at present, but the only person who can make that change is ourselves. I begin by asking Evan, how do we help a student who we feel is not coping in some way? And is clearly in need of help?

Evan Dunn  1:01:01

Well, first of all, I have to say, I’m becoming a very big proponent of asking some hard questions. And this is not me as a mindfulness coach. But this is just me, as a human, I’m really starting to feel strongly about how are you? Like, do you have a support team around you, I can tell that you’re kind of stressed, have you considered seeing a therapist, and even saying heavy if especially if I can tell that they’re really stressed, something might be going on? I asked the hard question. Have you had thoughts of hurting yourself? Have you had thoughts of going to sleep and not waking up? I just jump right into it. Because I don’t want to play around with real mental health. So I I do, I asked my students or you know, even just people around me, I asked them, and I want to be kind of like a first responder. Well, we

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:01:52

wait, people share with us because once again, it comes back to creating that safe space, where we’re listening to them, whether we’re listening to them sing or speak, they’re able to open up and express themselves, and they do share. So I call us frontline workers.

Evan Dunn  1:02:13

Yes. And then making sure that you have a list of local resources where somebody could, you know, very affordably go and get help if they need to, that’s, you know, amazing, if you just kind of have that handy. But yes, just being able to lend a listening ear, give some lovely support. And then if they are open to a recommendation to possibly read an article, maybe, or listen to it, a podcast episode, if you have something that you think might be helpful, that’s obviously up to them, but just them knowing that you’re there that you love them, that you’re willing to look them in the eyes and say, I really care about you. And I want to make sure that you’re safe. And that’s important as well. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:03:00

And you, Evan, what have you learned about yourself throughout the process of discovering mindfulness?

Evan Dunn  1:03:10

I have discovered that I am worthy of taking care of myself. And that I am so much more powerful than I ever imagined. And I feel so much better. Yes, I feel all the feelings that I ever felt. But when a feeling hits, I can slow down and they have the tools. I know how to process it. And I’m just so happy that I have those skills. And that I know how to lean into a better future for myself. And it’s just the most amazing thing.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:03:54

That sounds so amazing that I want a copy of all of that.

Evan Dunn  1:04:00

Here it is here. Thanks. I’ll just send it through the computer to you.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:04:05

Yay. What’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to offer? Our voice community and beyond?

Evan Dunn  1:04:14

Okay, hmm, that’s a good question. If I have one thing for each of you, I want to sell you on the idea of yourself and your worth your value, maintaining your wellness emotionally. Now, that is the most amazing gift that you could give yourself.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:04:42

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of a voice and beyond. I hope you enjoyed it as now is an important time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth and education. Use every day as enough opportunity to learn and to grow, so you can show up feeling empowered and ready to live your best life. If you know someone who will also be inspired by this episode, please be sure to copy and paste the link and share it with them. Or share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. I promise you, I am committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one every week. And if you would like to help me, please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcast right now. I would also love to know what it is that you most enjoyed about this episode and what was your biggest takeaway? Please take care and I look forward to your company next time on the next episode of a voice and beyond.

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