This week’s guest is Walt Fritz.

As a voice teaching community, it is vital to keep an open mind to the various kinds of modalities that can be of assistance for a singer who may need help. This week’s guest is Walt Fritz, a licensed physical therapist who has taught Myofascial Release continuing education since 1995 and set up his training program, Foundations in Myofascial Release Seminars™. In 2020, Walt rebranded his work and launched Manual Therapies Seminars, a new training program that he continues to teach all types of therapists including massage therapists, speech-language pathologists, voice professionals, physical therapists, and occupational therapists internationally. Walt also runs a closed physical therapy practice in New York where he treats select patients, including singers. He believes that singers are vocal athletes, and he realised the benefits of applying manual therapies to singers, a modality that was and still is typically thought to be applicable exclusively for traditional sports athletes. Walt describes his approach as creating a therapeutic relationship with his patients, where he asks them to collaborate in a constant back and forth, seeking to elevate and empower them to be a true partner in the process of evaluation and decision making. This is a truly informative interview with Walt as he also shares how issues regarding postural alignment can be overplayed, the importance of meeting and accepting patients where they are at, how we must allow a person to be heard, and listen to them without judgement and as practitioners, it’s not about the approaches we use, it’s about offering compassion and empathy. There is so much more. You are going to love listening to this show with Walt Fritz.

Instagram: @waltfritzpt

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/walt.fritz/

Website: www.WaltFritz.com

In this episode

04:50 — Walt’s Training Background

09:19 What is Myofascial Release?

12:42 Benefits of an Iterative Approach

15:28 Deficit as a Blessing

17:58 Athletes Within Artists

22:02 The Aid Which Physical Therapy Gives to Singers

26:15 Diagnostics Preview

31:07 Priors: A Concept in Psychotherapy

34:05 Emboldened Patients with Therapist’s Selflessness

38:27 — Reimagining Yourself to Embrace Changes

41:51 — Significance of Proper Posture

48:09 — The Method of Patient-Centered Care

51:12 — Ensuring Mutual Learning is Possible and Judgements are Mitigated

56:05 — Defining Touch Base Intervention

1:02:45 — Greatest Lesson Learned About the Voice

1:03:47 — Piece of Advice for the Singing Voice Community

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Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:05

It’s Marisa Lee here, and I’m so excited to be sharing today’s interview round episode with you. In these episodes, our brilliant lineup of guests will include health care practitioners, voice educators, and other professionals who will share their stories, knowledge and experiences within their specialized fields to empower you to live your best life. Whether you’re a member of the voice, community, or beyond your voice is your unique gift. It’s time now to share your gift with others develop a positive mindset and become the best and most authentic version of yourself to create greater impact. Ultimately, you can take charge, it’s time for you to live your best life. It’s time now for A Voice and Beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:16

As a voice teaching community, it is important to keep an open mind around the various kinds of modalities that can be of assistance for a singer who may need help. This week’s guest is Walt Fritz, a licensed physical therapist who has been teaching myofascial release continuing education since 1995, and set up his training program foundations in myofascial release seminars. In 2020, Walt rebranded his work and launched manual therapies seminars, a new training program that he continues to teach to all types of therapists including massage therapists, speech language pathologists, voice professionals, physical therapists, and occupational therapists, internationally. Walt also runs a closed physical therapy practice in New York, where he treats select patients, including singers. He believes that singers are vocal athletes, and he realized the benefits of applying manual therapies to singers, a modality, which was and still is typically thought to be applicable exclusively for traditional sports athletes. Walt describes his approach as creating a therapeutic relationship with his patients, where he asks them to collaborate in a constant back and forth seeking to elevate and empower them to be a true partner in the process of evaluation and decision making. This is a truly informative interview with Walt as He also shares how issues regarding postural alignment can be overplayed the importance of meeting and accepting patients where they are currently at how we as practitioners must allow a person to be heard and listen to them without judgment, and how it’s not about the approaches we use. It’s about offering compassion and empathy. There is so much more in this interview, you are going to love listening to this show with Walt Fritz’. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:01

Welcome to A Voice and Beyond, Walt Fritz, how are you?

Walt Fritz  04:06

I am well Marisa, thanks for having me here.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:09

Oh, it’s an absolute pleasure, and we were introduced by Noh McPherson through content publishing. He suggested that I have you on the show and then I started to research you and I went, Yes, thank you Noh, you’re interesting person and the work that you do is highly interesting as well. So, you are a licensed physical therapist, and you’ve been teaching myofacial release continuing education since 1995. You lead the foundations in Myofascial Release seminars where you teach all types of therapists across the country. So, let’s start with what is your training background and how did you stumble upon this modality?

Walt Fritz  04:59

Okay. So, first of all, I’m going to have to make a couple of corrections, you must have hit upon an older bio of mine. Oh, because in 2020, during COVID, when nobody was working, and we had all kinds of time on our hands, I rebranded my, my work, I rebranded my seminar line, and I kind of rebranded my brain to move on from the words myofascial release into manual therapy, which is a much more sterile, called it a generic way of touching versus manual therapy, which has a lot of codified beliefs within it. Okay, so now I use manual therapy that even my brand is foundations and manual therapy seminars. But let’s get to your question. So now that I feel better, because my brand is clear, okay, I started this work back in 1992. You know, I’ve been a physical therapist since 1985. And I did a lot of things during those first couple years. But then in 1992, I took a first seminar and myofascial release from a physical therapist in the United States, who teaches a lot of physical and massage therapist by the name of John Barnes, and, you know, popular continuing educator in the States. And I took one of his classes, and I kind of fell right in the rabbit hole, I really, I liked his approach, I liked the work, I liked the exclusivity of the model of the ability to access the person, and their fascia, their connective tissue, and everything else that was entwined with that. And I, like I said, I fell down the rabbit hole. And I took everything that that Barnes had to offer in the next couple of years. And then I started working for him as a teaching assistant in 1995, which was the beginning of that, that teaching education career that you mentioned a few minutes ago. And it’s been about 10 years on the road with him assisting. And then like many things in life, they come to an end, and I needed to find a new path and start my own journey. So in 2005, i 2006. Somewhere around in there, I broke free from that model. And I started teaching in a very small way small classes, small number, my version of myofascial release, which probably wasn’t a whole lot different from his version, except for a couple a couple of differences. But over the next 10 years, I saw thing the need to change I really did, I started training with other people, I started listening to other people’s beliefs and ideas and their way of presenting touch base intervention, not just how they did it, but how they explain what it was impacting, and how those changes are manifested in the patient client. And the more I learned, the more I realized that probably didn’t know very much when I thought everything was about the connective tissue. Because in a way, myofascial release and a lot of manual therapies, massage, manual, circum laryngeal treatment, which is popular in the in the voice community, a lot of them almost view tissues as accessible from the outside. When it comes to muscle tension. It’s as if the clinician can reach into the throat and literally bypass everything in the way to get to that muscle tension. Which I mean, it’s a lovely simple story. That’s really it’s a crap story. Okay, it really is a Barbie story, because I learned it was all about the fashion. No, it’s not the muscle. It’s the fascists connective tissue. And we were sort of taught that when we do certain things that we’re biasing for fascia, and I bought it, I taught it, I believed it. And then I stopped believing that now, I don’t think we can touch anything. I don’t think you can treat a diaphragm without a scalpel. Okay. I think we can work with people’s problems that are associated. For instance, with the diaphragm with the inferior constructors of the larynx, I think we can do things that are seem to be related, but it is impossible to select an isolate the inferior constrictors for treatment unless you’re working with a scalpel, and it’s just not happening, hopefully in our fields. So am I going on too long are we doing okay?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  09:03

Oh no, this is great. This is great. But can I just ask one question because let’s not take for granted that people know what facia is, and let’s break down what myofacial release actually does. And.

Walt Fritz  09:18

Got it. Okay. So, myofascial myofascial, depending on how you pronounce it, Myo is muscle fascia is connective tissue. It’s the stuff that covers a muscle, it connects muscles, but it also connects a lot of other structures in the body. In the myofascial release narrative, its fascia, which is just that that covering of the muscle and the connector is somehow viewed as the missing link in healthcare. Right. And that’s literally the words that are used the missing link that nobody else knows about, except for us, okay, which is kind of weird, but it said that it gets bound down in terms of in response to injury in terms of trauma surgery, and that that then creates dysfunction people were taught various ways to treat a person, stretch a person poke a person do things with a person via touch and pressure to quote unquote now I’m using air quotes here release the fascia. Yes, in that it said that the fascia is now back to its original state. All of those are lovely concepts that have been totally unproven by outside research, but yet people get better when we do myofascial release. So what do you do in that conundrum? Research doesn’t prove it. But here we get all these lovely results when we use the work. I think the concept of common denominators needs to come into play. When I do manufacture, release, I think I’m affecting passionate and help people. When somebody doesn’t arrange a massage, they think they’re affecting the muscle specifically, and they help people they help people. But they both have totally different stories. Can both of those people in those stories be right? Or are their underlying factors, the common denominators that play and that’s kind of where I’ve gone in the last five years or so is to stop worrying about issues in the tissues and worry about working with the human being in front of me, not their tissue. And unfortunately, in the manual therapy community, which includes physiotherapist, massage therapist, voice, local massage therapists, speech language pathologist, there’s still a lot of tissue worshipping, when it comes to the specific tissue as well as the pathologies that are said to lie in those tissues. And I just think it’s time that we start evolving beyond those historical narratives and really catch up with the rest of the healthcare community when it comes to seeing any problem. It’s multifactorial, and not just one tissue as being pathologic.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  11:37

So did you start finding that with your own patients, or do you call them patients or clients? I call them patients? Yes, patients that you started to do different work, your work was evolving, and you started to see results within those patients. That wasn’t this heavy. All this tissue work?

Walt Fritz  11:59

Yeah. Well, in the in the narrative that I learned from the myofascial release work that I learned, it was fairly Okay, so it was on the gentle to moderate range. Very seldom did we use really aggressive work, okay, which the there’s an irony here, I still use a similar style of treatment that I did back when I started myofascial release in 1982, I don’t believe it’s about the fashio anymore, but I still find that work as helpful. What’s different about my treatments now is instead of everything being performed in quiet, where the patient can go deep into their emotional being, and I’m sort of I’m tasked with the role of the expert and knowing what to do, my session is now involves constant feedback. It’s an iterative approach back and forth, where I’m asking my patient what they’re feeling. And if it feels helpful, useful, relevant, because I realized that the more I know, the less of which I’m certain, so much so that I need their help to do the evaluation and move through treatment. And it’s really interesting, the differences, I’m doing the same thing with my hands. But I’m not the boss anymore. Therapeutic partnership truly. And in the concepts of shared decision making, which are really coming up in medicine and health care. We’re rolling into a manual therapy environment where I don’t call the shots, we call them together, so to speak. And it’s irrelevant, unless Marisa, you feel that what we’re doing is useful. But that’s a big, that’s a big difference.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  13:32

Yes. So who are the clients that usually come to you? And what is, you know, why are they usually coming to you for?

Walt Fritz  13:41

Yeah, so full disclosure, I teach primarily, the work that I teach live is my voice and swallowing disorders class, which is attended by speech pathologist by voice coaches by massage physical therapists, etc. But here in upstate New York State of the United States, where I have a practice in a home, I have a head to toe type of physical therapy, clientele, I might get a patient coming in for foot pain, or head pain or back pain. But I now try and select patients from within the context of what I teach. I have a “closed physical therapy practice” where someone can’t just schedule with me, unless I let them because I got a call this morning from somebody who was looking for some help. And they said, I know your practice is busy, but I have a problem with my voice in the area of the hyoid and I said, Yeah, my practice is full and closed. But I want you in my practice, so you can come in because that’s the kind of patient I want to see. So I get referrals from speech pathologist in the in the Rochester, New York area, I get some from Ear, Nose and Throat surgeons. But I also get a lot of people finding me on my website because of this niche work that I teach to others in swallowing invoice in oral motor dysfunction in tongue related issues, breathing issues, all sorts of things. And that’s really it’s become my passion and my love and my practice here.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  14:57

Yes. So how do you do this? Discover that this was useful for singers. I mean, have you sung yourself was this something that I have a personal passion for the singing voice, and I would like to try working with these people.

Walt Fritz  15:13

No, that’s a sad story, we’re not going down this road at all. I’m not a singer at all. I certainly enjoyed music. And it’s always been a part of my life. But let me back up a little bit before the singer entry into my practice into how I got teaching to speech pathologist. And that was, in my own world, I have some serious problems with attention deficit issues, okay, meaning I can’t stay on task. Okay. Now, in my practice, that kind of was a hindrance at times, but it also turned into a blessing, because I can literally look back into the early 2000s, when I was working in the neck region, in this region right here, where I was taught, we work with neck pain and, and pain radiating into the arm, etc. And I was working with a patient and I was finding that doorbell, I call it an area of their neck, which was connecting with their neck pain. And we sort of sort of just got settled into treatment, and I was treating this area, and my ad kicked in. And I said, Okay, what else can I see around this area, and I started poking around. And instead of being going anterior to posterior, which is where the nerve roots lie, I went to the midline. And I started exploring this area. And I didn’t know at the time where I was. Now I know, I’m behind the thyroid cartilage. But when I did that, my patients started telling me about a swallowing issue that she experienced. But she hadn’t written it on her physical therapy intake form, because that had no relevance to a physical therapist. Okay, so that was interesting. And those sorts of experiences tended to repeat themselves over swallowing, as well as voice disorders and Globus and things like that. So much so that in the, I don’t know when it was, it was in, it doesn’t matter. Many years ago, I was writing about it. And on the internet, I had a blog early on, and somebody caught wind of it. And a speech pathologist from the University of Chicago, invited myself and an EMT from New York City. Benjamin asked her to give a one of class in Chicago to speech pathologists on voice and swallowing using myofascial release the old term, that’s how I got started in your world, okay, or at least part of that world in terms of voice from that really awkward beginning, because I really didn’t know your world, I was coming from my physical therapy world and trying to translate things. Since that time, that first class in 2013. It’s been really a constant evolution and learning process. For me, I’m learning more about you. I’m learning more about who you work with both as a singer working with singers, etc. But it’s also with the primary population of the speech language therapists, the speech language pathologist, and all the various issues that they deal with, which was, you know, it’s very different from a physical therapist. So I’ve been on a constant learning curve for myself.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  17:58

That’s amazing. So I’m very interested to hear then, because I know first up, you call singers, vocal athletes. I’m interested to know why you call us vocal athletes. does that relate to your work is that being?

Walt Fritz  18:14

Yeah, that’s a term that I borrowed from Marcy Daniels, Rosenberg wedding, the Born in terms of their book, the vocal athlete, and I think it’s really,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  18:22

I have behind me, there you go. Yeah.

Walt Fritz  18:24

And I noticed two of them. And I love the work that they do. And they include a little bit of my work and their work, which is really a nice symbiosis back and forth. I just think it’s a real app descriptor, because it’s a taxing profession. And I don’t need to tell you, or your listeners or watchers that at all, and, and although it’s not an athlete in the traditional sense that we might be that athlete, there’s certainly the working with a highly refined set of skills, as well as the problems that come along with those skills. And I see my work as being one slice of a much larger piece on how we can be impactful with that vocal athlete, we can be impactful with the dysfunctional voice, the muscle tension dysphonia, right? Because truly, I use and teach identical work, whether you’re suffering from primary muscle tension dysphonia, or you are an elite level singer, it’s the same work. It’s applied in the same way. It’s the same sort of experience, which is to a lot of people frustrating because they expect, okay, I’m working with a vocal athlete or a high level performer, there must be certain techniques that are better for that person. But I teach a fairly small range of ways to interact with someone. But it’s that as I like that word, iterative, it’s back and forth. It’s a constant back and forth relationship that you build with any person, any patient no matter what their issue is. Basically, it’s touching them in the area and saying, What do you feel when I touch you? Does it feel useful? Does it feel harmful? Is there anything about what I’m doing that feels like it might be helpful? Would you like me to change what I’m doing? And it’s just It’s a fun process that I really, really enjoy. And getting back to that I think vocal athlete perfectly describes the elite level singer in in even the the amateur singer because it is about working up just like an athlete would to elite status.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:14

Yes, well, I suppose you know, when it’s all said and done, it’s still the same instrument isn’t it just one works a bit harder than the other one will more often or to a different level. But essentially, it’s the same instrument.

Walt Fritz  20:29

It is, when I do, we do a lot of tongue work in this work and tongue work, you know, it’s useful for a lot of different problems, someone with post radiation or surgery, we do tongue work to try and restore some range of motion, articulation, that sort of thing. And then when you look at the vocal athlete, and the tongue truly is almost, it’s the tip of that organ, the tip of their performance organ, really, that is so finely tuned. And when we do tongue work, in a, I have sort of a dark sense of humor. And that dark sense of humor sometimes gets bad because you do tongue work, which is a very light, stretching is almost too much of a too extreme of a word, because it’s basically engaging the tongue. In, you’re holding it, you’re gently engaging it, you’re looking for areas that they recognize for tongue tension, Trump fatigue, but what’s fascinating is when you spend 10 or 15 minutes, lightly engaging that vocal athletes term and you basically hand it back to them, they really don’t quite know what to do with it, because it doesn’t work the way it did before. There’s almost a slow labored type of a of a speech or song that comes from them. And it takes just a little bit of time, that sensory motor feedback loop go back and forth, for them to realize, okay, this is just the same organ that now moves differently. And I just need to figure out how to better refine it. And it’s so fascinating to both watch and listen, as they in a very short period of time go from a very awkward labor speech after we let go to actually having even better control than from when they started spawning stuff.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  22:02

So okay, that’s one of the issues then that singers would come to you for what are typically the types of problems that a singer would have benefit from the type of work that you do?

Walt Fritz  22:15

Sure, again, understand, Marisa, my sample size is much smaller than a lot of the people who are working day in and day out with a singer. Yes, I will get people with definite issues of tongue tension or tongue tension. It’s a pretty generic phrase, right? What does it mean?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  22:32

Tension is a big thing. Yes, we all have that.

Walt Fritz  22:35

That’s exactly right. It does that mean it hurts. Does that mean it’s slow? Does that mean it’s weak? What does that mean? It’s taking those the way we interpret our disorder, and then trying to translate it into something that we can actually do something with. So But definitely, tongue tension, tongue fatigue, a lot of times there’s the vocal tension, vocal fatigue, vocal pain that ensues, when you know, somebody’s is working too hard training too hard touring too long, that sort of thing that will work with as well, a lot of it is I actually see a fair amount of, maybe, you might call them amateur singers, or maybe not singers in general, but people who like to sing, but find they can’t do what they once did. Now, vocal range diminishes as we age, etc. But it’s still fun taking that vocal non athlete and helping them as well with really what ended up being similar problems, you know, and then I get to live vicariously through speech pathologists and vocal coaches, who I’ve trained. And then I see them going out there working with elite level performers, and using this work on a, sometimes a daily basis in the warm up and the cool down, etc, mixed in with all the other good things that this person that this professional does with the singer. And it’s, I tell you, it’s a pretty gratifying life to be able to see your work translated to that elite level, but then equally translated to the person with post head neck cancer, and a lot of issues with basic swallowing to see your work being used to help that person in to me, that’s equally gratifying.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  24:08

So would you then see people to say that had vocal fold inflammation, things like that as well?

Walt Fritz  24:17

I might sometimes. Okay, so how is that diagnosis made? Right? Are they scope? Do they literally see the inflammation? Or is it? Is it a basic, okay, no, I want to be really cautious here and not step on toes. But I think a lot of the ways people come to see us in the diagnosis. Is it truly a precise and accurate diagnosis? Or is it is it a description of symptoms or a good clinical guess? Right? They’re scoping somebody and they’re seeing inflammation. That’s a whole different story. Then more of well, you must have some inflammation in there, which is what a lot of people come in to us with, right? And I don’t care. It’s actually as vocal stuff. It’s my whole physical therapy practice. They come and from their physician saying, you must have a sprain or something like that. Okay, what does that really mean? And that’s why I try. And I say this without being disrespectful, I listened to your diagnosis, but I also listened to it through a screen, and I let some of that go pass because the diagnosis might be really accurate, or it might not be accurate at all. And even if it is accurate, some diagnoses say, well, manual therapy shouldn’t be able to help that, but we can help some people, right. So the diagnosis is helpful. But it’s like, let’s sit down and see what happens when we touch when we start to intervene. To me, that’s the most important piece. Yes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  25:35

And I was actually thinking earlier, when you mentioned about the person that called you and said, I have problems with my hyoid. I’m thinking, How do you know you have a problem with your hyoid?

Walt Fritz  25:48

This particular person had a medical background enough to be able to relate that to me. So that’s typically that’s not something that I hear from a patient. All right.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  25:57

No. I mean, I wouldn’t know that I had a problem with my hyoid.

Walt Fritz  26:02

Right? Right. And I have no idea if this person does, right. It’s just that was that was what their narrative, and I’ve not lived their life, I would never negate their narrative at all. And that’s what we’ll start.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  26:15

Okay. So let’s just start, let’s just go back a little bit. So I’ve come to you, because I’m having vocal problems of some description, whether it’s loss of range, you know, or I’m becoming very fatigued very quickly. So I come to you. Let’s talk about that diagnostic process. What happens from the moment I walk in the door, like this kinds of questions that…

Walt Fritz  26:41

Right, and I’m a very medical, medically based practice, as a physical therapist, that’s basically some of my legal requirements. So we’re going to take history, we’re going to take all those things, we’re going to do objective measurements, if it’s appropriate, we’re going to check out your medication history and past and present all of those good things that a medical clinician should do. But then when I’m going to do Mercy’s, okay, let’s pick something you talked about what?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  27:06

Let’s just say vocal fatigue. Oh, okay. I become fatigued really quickly. The voice seems to tie Ah, got it within 10 minutes of singing?

Walt Fritz  27:17

Yeah. What does it feel like to you? What does it feel like to you?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  27:21

It just feels like when when you run and you feel that you can’t run any further, it’s just that the voice is tired? It doesn’t want to work? I feel like it takes a lot more energy to try to sing. I have to work a little harder to fight it.

Walt Fritz  27:37

And what is it? What Yeah, what does it feel like? What does it feel like? Is there discomfort? Is there pain? Is there itching is there? Give me that what its feel like?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  27:45

Okay, it feels like I have to push to make a sound.

Walt Fritz  27:50

Got it. And you came up here with your hand? Where is that pushing, needing to take place around this area here? Got it. So what you just did was you started the process by by doing two things, you took a more general problem, and you better defined it in terms of a feeling not, you know, you said it wasn’t paining etcetera, etcetera. But you came closer to talking about that feeling. Because in my work, if you don’t, if you can’t connect with the feeling, I have a, I struggled to help people. If it’s abstract, it’s more difficult. That’s why the concept of what does it feel like is so important to me, as well as where do you feel it? Because where I start is literally where you say it’s right here. This is where the fatigue is, and I’ll ask you questions like Marisa right now at rest? Do you feel fatigued? Not at all. Nothing. There’s no thought that I have a problem down the road. And that’s fine, right? So what I might might need to have you do is I may need to have you go ahead and go to a place in your range go to a place in your whatever that is to see if you can start like connecting with that feeling. Even if it’s not as bad as it is after 15 minutes. Can you do something right now so you can feel even, you don’t have to do this for the sake of I don’t want to put you on the spot. But I’m showing that the process it’s like, okay, if it’s not there rest, can you bring yourself in contact with it. So you have a really not just a memory of it, but the felt sense within your body because what we’re going to be doing is when I start to do a stretch or an input or whatever it is we’re doing to this area, I’m looking to maybe replicate that feeling, or if it’s there all the time, like some people have a constant, I’m gonna use the word pain, right? They have a constant pain if we do something, it may heighten it just a little bit. So you know, we’re doing something where it may comment, right? I call this the continuum of relevance. I want to do something to this area of you, Marisa that you recognize, whatever you just did walk. That’s irrelevant. That’s familiar. You calmed it, you brought it to my awareness, not just this abstract thing where I’m going to work my magic on you, and then you’ll be be better Down the road, because the iterative processes, if you’re not connecting with it, we can’t work back and forth from it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  30:07

So okay, let’s just say that that is where the problem is. This is all hypothetical. By the way, we’re doing well, aren’t we? We’re making a great story. Okay. So it’s hurting here are sorry, actually, now that I think sometimes when I do sing it, and I keep pushing, then I do start to feel a little bit of pain in this area here.

Walt Fritz  30:30

Yeah. Now, again, for your, for your listeners, we are making this up as we go along. This is not all pre-planned or pre-programmed. Yeah. Because what what just happened here is a very common occurrence in the process is like someone comes in so no, it’s there’s, there’s no pain, it just hurts right here. And then we start either talking deeper, where I’m giving you a chance to tell your story. Or we started the engagement, where you know what you’re playing back the tape, so to speak, in the old VHS days row playing back the tape and rewinding a bit to say, Yeah, I recognize that there’s a concept. In my own work, I’m evolving this work from being all about the tissues to all about the person. And there’s a concept in psychotherapy called priors. In a psychotherapy interaction. If the clinician can connect with a patient’s a client’s priors, the prior experiences of what might have brought them to this place in the mental health experience, that it’s often a way to sort of get a sense of synchrony between the practitioner and the patient to say, Okay, we’ve we’ve connected with it, let’s work with it. And there’s some newer papers out that take those concepts of psychotherapy into touch base therapy, that what we’re looking to do is to connect with your priors, we get the sense of Yeah, well, right there. That’s that feeling I get when I just can’t perform it. It could be a physical feeling, or psychosocial feeling, right? Because a physical pain in performance also has psychosocial ramifications, right?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  31:57

Okay. So can I try to? Yeah, I just want to see if I can understand this. So are you saying then that’s something that has happened to somebody in the past can then manifest, and then it shows up in that particular area where I’m saying, Oh, well, that hurts or whatever that area is that is hurt.

Walt Fritz  32:20

Exactly, without going to a meeting to evaluate the past experience, that’s the I’m drawing a line there, because in my mouth, I should at least pass. It was all about reliving that moment of original injury. And that’s not good psychology. But it’s also not good in physical therapies, either. All we’re trying to do is get you to sense that. Yeah, well, whatever you’re doing now, I recognize from the past. I mean, it could be yesterday, when I’m saying it could be 10 years ago, when I got hit in the throat, whatever that is, we don’t have to work through it on a on a psychotherapy basis. It’s just the sense of whatever you’re touching, whatever you’re impacting. I recognizes basically, that’s why I’m here. If you notice, I got a little animated there. Because in my background, in many of the manual therapy trainings, there’s a lot of people basically operating psychotherapy without a license in physical therapies, the massage therapies, through bodywork, and I think while it can be helpful for trauma, I think it’s also in an unregulated way, a danger. So I really I put the boundary up there. It’s I’m a physical therapist. I’m not a mental health therapist.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  33:31

Yes, but you do have a degree or some qualification in psychology . 

Walt Fritz  33:37

I have a degree in mental health, but it’s simply an undergrad degree that got me going. And it gave me enough to sound like I know what I’m talking about, but not enough to actually get paid doing that. Okay. Yeah. But lately, honestly, the last three or four years in terms of my own research, it’s sort of like coming full circle, because I’m seeing the influence that things like we just talked about, with prior seeing how Carl Rogers and his earlier views of the therapeutic alliance are so important. In my work, instead of it being about me, the expert, and you the know nothing. It’s about building a relationship with the patient to elevate and empower them to be a true partner in the relationship. And that’s what I look to do in my work. And it’s what I look to do in the work that I teach to others.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  34:23

Okay, so then we let’s, let’s go a little bit further with this. So I start complaining that yes, I’m feeling pain, then then what would you do from that point?

Walt Fritz  34:34

Then, okay, again, let’s be hypothetical. You just happen to be reaching for your height there, right. Let’s say we took that area there. And we did a nice, gentle stretch, a stretch that moves it forward. A little of a sidebar here. In many of the laryngeal therapies. It’s, it’s, I use the word aggressive and I’m trying to get away from it. It’s an assertive kind of work where they take the larynx they take the hierarchy, and they use rather strong On assertive manipulation to reduce the muscle tone, when someone does that, to me, I feel like I’m in a real dangerous situation, it doesn’t feel safe to me. I know it helps people. But I know that there’s other people out there like me who this feels threatening, my work tends to be much slower, and much more sustained. Instead of doing a lateralization of the high or or larynx, we may do a lateralization, but then hold it there, hold it in range, the old me said we’re holding it there to stretch or release the fascia, the new me says, I’m holding it there to allow you to go from peripheral to central to see if you as a person as a brain as a central nervous system can start to mediate some of the changes back to the periphery on your own. And I’m basically just a placeholder, right? It’s like I’m a surrogate in this process, while you’re doing the work. There’s some interesting research that says a longer touch a slower touch is impactful in a different way than quicker touch. Alright, so what I would do with you for that issue is I would say, Marisa, when we move that hired region to one side, what do you feel you would feed back to me? And I would say, does that feel useful? Does it feel safe? Does it feel like it might be helpful, if not, let’s keep working. Let’s go to the other side, or let’s take both sides and do a stretch that brings it forward or brings it forward and down, are working that this segment, segmental, sublinguals, superhard region, just explore this whole area until we hit upon something that you Marisa say to be? That feels good, or that feel or that hurts, but it feels so right. That’s it. And then my my process is to simply linger with that stretch, it might be a stretch that I hold that we hold together, I like to stay for 10 or 15 minutes at times, which seems to some Yeah, to see, it seems absurd to some people. But yet, that’s how I was taught this work that you have to hold it a long time. I no longer believe the why of why you need to hold it for a long time. But I see the benefit of holding it there for you as the receiver to really integrate those changes. And then when we let go, what does it feel like? Does it feel looser? Does it feel easier? Go to that place with your voice again? What do you feel now? And we’re looking for change in a lasting way? Just like everybody else’s?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  37:25

Yes. So how long do these sessions usually go for?

Walt Fritz  37:29

My particular sessions here in my practice, are just under an hour, okay. But when I teach this work to say a speech therapist, they may only be able to allow 10 minutes for this work because they have other things they need to get into a session. And that’s fine. I just tell people, it doesn’t, you don’t have to do it for an hour. Sometimes you do it for a minute. And it helps or five minutes. And it helps. I think truly we make up our rules as we go along based on our personality, based on our environment based on our on the rules of our profession and our in our clinic. So for me to say to you, you have to hold it for an hour. That’s so presumptuous on my part.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  38:10

Yes. And so when the patient leaves you, do you have a do organized like a treatment plan for you do they typically return to you for a few sessions, like a physiotherapist would ask their patients to come back for a return visit?

Walt Fritz  38:27

It’s pretty common. I tell my patients that within three sessions at the very most whatever we’re doing should have lasting positive changes or stopped doing it. Right regression to the mean is too strong. For me to say to you mercy, this is going to take a while you’re going to need to commit to 20 sessions for regression in the mean is going on at the same time. But usually within three sessions. If somebody is not seeing an impact that lasts, then this probably isn’t what you need, or I’m not the person who’s going to bring that to you. I also like to teach homework. I like to teach homework all the time. But you know, one of my favorite things to teach is, can we be hypothetical again, for a moment, you’ve had you’ve had you’ve had this problem for months or years, right? And we get done and everything you’ve tried nothing really creates a chain. Okay? We’re done with our session, you say boy, well, this is really weird. I feel different. Your homework might be to allow yourself to realize that you can feel different and that change is possible. Because up until this point, you’ve not felt changed. But in this moment you do feel change. You might ask me, well, will it last and said, Well, that’s our job. But can you just allow yourself to see yourself as a singer who is not destined for this always to be there? Because in this moment you feel different than I’ll tell you that is such harder homework than me giving you a list of 10 things to do or stretches or exercise. Sometimes just reenvisioning ourselves in a different way. It’s such hard work? Yeah. And I think it’s really useful to work–

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:02

Well, so well, then you’re kind of working with their psyche a little bit, too. So it’s not just-because I know as soon as we do get in our heads a lot, we are constantly in our heads, we worry about everything that’s going on with our voices all the time. So you’re trying to create a shift in mindset as well.

Walt Fritz  40:25

It really is. Yeah. And I’m, all I’m doing with this approach is here it is, from a cycle a little bit in psychology, but truly, it’s, it’s an embodiment of the biopsychosocial concepts, realizing that every problem has, its, it’s the three legged stool. And so our changes every every change that we want to institute, it’s more than just creating different muscle tension. It’s everything that goes along with that, and what brought up here and where you’re going from here, which truly is the psychosocial aspect of the biologic?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:58

Well, the thing is that we can’t separate the mind body emotions, all those sorts of things. Yeah. So that brings me to another question, then, just say, someone comes to your clinic, and you do all the talking, but do you look at how they’re standing, because as singing teachers were big on a lot postural alignment, or we just call it alignment in Australia, but you look at their postural alignment, you think of, you know, their bodies, not very well organized. And maybe then there could be a physical thing going on, dude, look at that, as well.

Walt Fritz  41:35

So I’m gonna say, at times I do, I can tell you as an educator, and as a clinician, I’m a pain in the ass. I really am. I’m a really, I can be exceedingly obnoxious.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  41:50

I love you both. 

Walt Fritz  41:51

It’s because posture, posture is sort of society’s quick, knee jerk reaction to fixing problems of pain and function, right? That if you simply stood up straighter, all of a sudden your bills would be paid life would be good, your pain would be gone, your voice would be better. And while many times and you know this, in your, in your listeners know that many times having somebody bring themselves into better alignment, improves the voice. But what brought about that change? Was it this alignment? Was it because of the muscles are in more neutral? Was it because the basis report was different? Or was it because you the experts said to your client, I think if you bring your posture better, your voice would be better. There’s placebo, that baby is planted with placebo, as well as all the other contextual factors that are inherent in any kind of postural approach or any kind of any approach. So posture matters, but don’t overplay it, because you can take some people and say, Oh, fix your posture, and they’re gonna sing worse, or swallow worse, or have more neck pain, posture matters. But don’t assume that a person with poor posture is going to sing poorly. Do you know what I mean by that?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  43:07

Yes, I do. I do. I get it. Yes, sorry.

Walt Fritz  43:11

There’s another problem there too. When you look really hard at the evidence, scoliosis. You know what scoliosis is correct. It’s a rotation of the spine. Got it? And in according to Brunel study in 1992 98.2% of us have a scoliosis to some degree, right? What is the scoliosis do that brings one shoulder up, one shoulder down, it causes one shoulder be forward and back, it causes your ribcage to change your diaphragm to change. It causes your neck to rotate your head to tick the larynx to be moved off center. According to Bunnell study, 98.4% of us have minor moderate to severe variations of all those things. Yes. So if this is you, because you’ve got a moderate scoliosis, so I say to you, well, Marisa, look at your shoulder, it’s up by your ear, you’ll sing better if you bring that shoulder down. Number one, structurally, that may be impossible. And number two, if you can get it down, you create a sense of dis ease in that person. Because here’s where it wants to be. The reality is we are messy. Life is wonky, humans are weird, but yet we simplify it to the simple sama. Get your posture better, get your tongue where it belongs, all these simple means that we’re taught, and then we regurgitate to our patients and sometimes to our students. And you know what, I don’t want to be totally dismissive, that stuff works. But why it works is exceedingly complex, so true. And as I said, I’m a pain in the ass. I’m a pain in the ass when it comes to this. Because people say, Well, if you just put your head in alignment, your voice will improve. That might be true, but why? And what is it that you need to do to change that? And can you as a singer, hold your head here throughout an entire performance? No, you can’t. Right? You’re gonna go Hear, you’re gonna go here, you’re going to do all those other things. What I would rather do, here’s my simple life’s goal, can I make you comfortable? No matter what posture you’re at, can I make you functional and perform? Well, no matter how you hold your head, no matter where your pelvis is, no matter what the rest of your looks like, can we get you into optional function without worrying so much about all the specific details?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  45:25

Yes, and we can get caught up with all the detail. And we forget that there’s a human in front of us. And we’re all different, we’re all unique. And I my philosophies, leave things alone, that seemed to be working for the person, even if it isn’t what we, we believe to be, as you would say, the quote, unquote, correct way of standing or doing something, but if it’s working for them, and it’s been working for them for quite a long time, and everything’s efficient, leave it alone, here’s what I say.

Walt Fritz  45:59

Yeah, my favorite way of looking at this as somebody walks into my clinic, with and I’m gonna go off the voice range for a moment, and they say, You know what, I have back pain, because I have really bad posture. And I have to realize that I have not walked in this person’s shoes to know what brought them to that conclusion, to what gives them that self image, that all of their problems are their own fault, because their posture is faulty. Right? And yeah, you know, over time, we may try and unpack some of that. But what I want to do is try and accept you and meet you where you are right now and see if I can still help you. Can we help you with that. And if postural improvement is truly part of your goal, whether it’s for your low back pain or your voice, then I can, I’m certainly equipped to handle that. But I’m not going to take on the role of a critic saying it’s because your posture is so crappy. I just think learning to live in your own place, and realizing you’ve not lived another’s life is truly important in all the things that we do in this world, you know–

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  47:00

Yes, exactly. And once again, the singer, you know, that their whole body is the instrument. And once again, it comes back to the body, the mind, the emotions, and sometimes when a singer has poor alignment, it’s because there’s something else going on, you know, they may have, they may be grieving, or they may have suffered loss, or they may have had a bad day, and all of a sudden they’re slumped, because they’re carrying the world’s weight on their shoulders. So when you’re, it sounds like to me in your diagnostic process, you may or may not then fully go into all the detail of their past or what’s going on in their lives. But there must be times when you see someone you’re you’re diagnosing, and you’re treating a singer or a patient, and you think to yourself, they’re This is emotional or psychological. There is something going on here that is beyond the physical.

Walt Fritz  48:09

Okay, so I’m gonna be blunt, that is every single person that walks in my clinic, every single person has, again, I’m going to go back to that psychosocial, the bio psychosocial, even something like I dropped a hammer on my foot. There are always psychosocial ramifications, how it affects a person’s relationships, how it affects their job, how it affects their future. Everything has that and but what I don’t try and do is go picking at that scab to try and get them to reveal to me their deepest, darkest secret. That’s none of my business that may never need to come up. But I offer that that safe space. One of the ways I do this is by asking a question, this is my favorite question. What do you feel? Ah, when we’re working right, what do you feel in some of my patients will look at me and say, What do you mean? What do I feel? What do I feel? Or what do I feel like? They want to know if I’m probing there’s their their psyche? And I don’t get caught up? I don’t get caught up into that question. I just simply repeat the question. I said, right now, what do you feel it? Because they may choose to answer that I feel my pain, or I feel scared or I feel you know what I mean, they can go into that place. Without me breaking my code of practice in terms of physical therapist. I’m not trying to get them to see how their past relates to the present. I’m giving them the opportunity to to separate themselves by asking them, What do you feel right now? Because if I put my hands here on numerous Where were you described that vocal fatigue? And I asked you, okay, right now, what are you feeling? You might say, that’s the fatigue I told you about. Or you might go into a different place, a different experience, a different way that this problem has affected you or you fear will affect you, right? And it’s simply being here with gentle touch and allowing a person have a chance to be truly heard. And I think that’s the gift that I can give to my patients. And hopefully the people that I teach this work to is teach them to be patient and be very patient centered and not clinician centered.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  50:13

I love what you just said, That’s so resonates with the actual theme of this show. You are giving them a voice so they can be heard.

Walt Fritz  50:23

Yeah, I think it’s important. Yeah.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  50:25

Yes. And because I believe that, you know, sometimes I have students that come into my studio, and you know, their voices are playing up, and oh, my voice is stuck. And I’ll go, okay. So, you know, what kind of week have you had? Have you been sleeping? Are you hydrated all those questions over and above? The actual instrument itself? It’s all the vocal health stuff. And then sometimes when there’s no rhyme or reason, I’ll say to them, and they look at me, and I don’t expect them to answer me. But to ask themselves this question, what aren’t you saying? You know, is there something you need to be telling someone that you’re not saying? So your voice is stuck at the moment?

Walt Fritz  51:12

Yeah. And I think that’s really an equivalent a parallel to me asking, we’d feel right out at the end. What do you feel physical? What do you feel emotional? What are you feeling right now? I just taught a class in New York City last weekend. And it was a it was a hard class for me because I was getting over bronchitis that was one of the worst brooms I’ve ever taught and acoustic All rightwise. And it was loud air conditioning, the whole thing. So all it was all the dominoes were like falling away, like onto me. And it was like, Oh, this is a lot. But yet the class was going really well. And when I teach a class, that participants are the patients, you know, I say, Okay, does anybody have an issue in the Spirit come out. And it is some of the the experience the labs that we did, right? Did the demos were just they were just spot on perfect. And I’m thinking I’m having a really crappy weekend, the way I feel in the way this room feels, but these people are, there’s something good happening here. And there were a couple of those experiences where somebody was on the table talking about a problem that they’ve had they have. And my words were, you know, I’m both talking to them, as well as teaching the class. And it’s like, sometimes just allowing a person to be heard, without judgment is so extreme in both of those instances where I literally said that, that was one of the big issues in that person’s life. And it became one of those, those sort of the tipping points in the session where all of a sudden, it’s like that, that is it. And, and in a way, they’re telling me, at least right now, I’m being listened to. And I think that is just such, you know, I’m gonna go back to Carl Rogers in 1957, wrote a paper presented a paper on the importance of not the modality that we use, but the fact that we’re there in the room giving compassion and empathy, that there’s probably more to be had from a psychotherapeutic intervention from, from the therapeutic relationship of the clinician simply being present, and listening, then there is the things we think we’re doing. And whether it’s a mental health intervention, or physical therapy intervention, or I’m guessing even from your intervention perspective, the fact that we are here without judgment is truly as important as anything.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  53:18

Yes. And it brings me back to something that I feel very strongly about. And that is that we need to create safe spaces for everyone to be heard. without judgment, we need to leave biases at the door, in our practice.

Walt Fritz  53:36

It’s hard, it’s hard, right? If I’m a posture, person, it’s so hard for me to not judge that person’s posture, or their, their, their strength, or their their flexibility, or their technique. And the weird thing is it’s sort of a double edged sword, because they expect that from us, they’re paying us for that expertise. But maybe it’s not in their best interest for us to express that. And that’s a weird, that’s a weird center of the road to navigate there, right. But can we sit here, there’s a there’s an old polo about sitting in just sitting not in judgment when another expresses their pain. And it’s almost what we’re talking about here, you know, and then where can we go from that place.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  54:21

Yes, yes. Well, we do have that duty of care, as you’ve described. And there obviously are boundaries and boundary violations within our work to so we can only go so far. But at the very least we can allow as singing teachers. We do need to listen to the needs of our students. It’s not about us, it’s about them and allowing them to have a safe space where they can express themselves in and us doing the listening in a non judgmental way. But also then we have to help them to so is always this such a balancing act.

Walt Fritz  55:04

It is it’s very difficult. And I know we’re running short on time. But there’s one more point I want to get through. And that’s where so when it comes to singing teachers, vocal coaches, etc, I think it’s a common intervention ability for someone in your role to use touch base cueing with a with a client, right? You might touch the chin and say, try and get your chin back a little bit. Is it? That’s an accepted intervention for you? Am I correct?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  55:31

Yes, we have to ask depends on this on the setting. But say, for example, in a school setting, like a normal, what we call junior school, high school, middle school, not college, or university, college or university, we can ask the student, do they mind that we touch them, and we have to be very careful in the way that we touch them, because of all the laws that are out now. But in a school setting, we are actually not allowed to touch our students.

Walt Fritz  56:05

So let’s go to college for a second, you see someone that might benefit from altering their alignment, right, and you reach over and you should try and get your chin back, right? That’s allowed by you. But then when people take my class, or they see manual therapy, they’ll often see things like pushing and holding, it might be the identical push, but it’s held for a minute or two minutes or five minutes. And somehow that’s viewed as a very different intervention than just doing this. No, I’m doing manual therapy, we’re doing stretching, we’re doing resist, but somehow viewed as something that in the United States, you’d say you need a license to do this, but you don’t need it for this correct? And now if we look at it from the old historical ways of what’s going on, this is like, oh, no, we’re stretching the neck extensors. We’re releasing the fascia, or whatever, right. And this is somehow No, that’s just a behavioral cue. So when we start looking at the newer evidence, the newer research on how touch base intervention works, it isn’t about the tissues, it’s about the input that we make to the periphery that goes to the brain, and allows the patient to start the process themselves. My point in bringing this up is I personally, when you look at the modern ways, the neurologic explanations for how touch works, there may not be any difference between this. And this this slow, prolonged old that was once viewed as a tissue specific intervention. And that’s where I think the worlds of the voice coach and the manual therapist, they’re a lot more merged than a lot of people might really see. Because someone will say, well, as a voice coach, I’m not allowed to touch in the way that you teach, then I’ll say, but you’re allowed to do this, aren’t you? Oh, yeah, we can do that good. Realize that maybe that brief intervention, that brief interlude, right there might be impactful enough up here in the patient’s brain, to create the same sort of emergence of a new experience to them, without it being you working away from your scope of practice, your legal license, etc. So anyway, that was my little, my one thing I wondered squeezed in there.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  58:13

Oh, no, that’s really interesting. Do you teach this to teachers? And can teachers use this in the voice studio, as you know, as long as we’re within the law, of course of what we do.

Walt Fritz  58:24

So, I don’t want to speak for Australia, because I know when I taught, I taught in 2019, the Australian voice Association, and they limited enrollment in the class to speech language therapists, only one voice, one voice coach was allowed in, under an agreement that she wouldn’t use any of it. I don’t know how that work. But anyway, in the United States, there’s a similar line. But I know voice coaches who do some touch base work, I’m not saying they’re doing it legally or illegally, they’re figuring out a way to make it work on their own. I know a couple of voice coaches in the United States have gone back to massage school to get their certificate so they can, “legally” do this work in the United States. But you go over to the UK, and the rules are so blurry. So blended voice coaches can do do this work, because the regulation bodies, it’s very different than in the United States, and I’m guessing in Australia, and I’ve taught in other countries too. And then the lines get really very different that the scope of practice boundaries, professional, personal, very different in other countries as well. Still kind of voice coach take this work. They do. And sometimes they’ll take it just to say, I want to learn more about it for my own benefit, as well as how I might refer out to others, that sort of work. And are they doing some of it on their own when they get back to their studio?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  59:46

Possibly, yes, behind closed doors.

Walt Fritz  59:49

Well. Yeah. But I ask people to work within this their own professional boundaries. But what they do when they when they leave any continuing ed seminar or training is really hard. or to to police. So I hope that sort of answered your question without answering that.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:00:06

Yes. And while you have you have a booking publication, tell us about your book.

Walt Fritz  1:00:11

I’m guessing that’s why Noh McPherson told you about that. I’ve got a book that hopefully, we’re doing a few final artists renditions of some of the images, but hopefully at the Alpine, I’m hoping by September at the at somewhere in that in that range. The name of the book is manual therapy for voice and swallowing a person centered approach. And it’s available now for pre sale discounts to come from publishing UK.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:00:36

Yes. And in that book, do you discuss basically the some of the things that we’ve talked about? Is it a book that will help teachers within their studios? Or is it describing the work that you do?

Walt Fritz  1:00:49

I think it describes a lot of different things I don’t I don’t go into outside of my lane when it comes to other voice coaching type of techniques, but I talk about it within the context of, okay, here’s, here’s a tool, if you will, here’s a tool that can be used, I go deep into the background, because I love to talk and I love to write, I talk about the things we talked about here. But I also talk about a lot of other behavioral aspects of the work, etc. And I go deep into a lot of the different types of sequences, whether it’s techniques that a clinician would do to a patient or a client. But it’s also a lot of it can be self applied as well. So I do think it’s relevant for the voice coach for the, for the vocal teacher as well. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:01:28

Yes, and what are you up to next? Are you still studying and perfecting your craft? or is there other things that you’re dabbling?

Walt Fritz  1:01:38

I’m working on a master’s through Debbie Winters Program in the UK, trying to get all of my content into a more or more rigorous academic framework. That was one of my shortfalls in the beginning was, it was all about the experience, the anecdotes, and now I’m trying to really have someone hold my feet to the fire. And Debbie has been great. But that if you’re familiar with Debbie, some a lot of different voice, voice coaching Ma’s, and we did a hybrid for me. And it she’s just, she’s been brilliant with helping me through this process. And all of that rolled back into the book. But all of that rolls into every class that I teach. So that’s what I’m up to. I’m doing that I’m still active with my teaching. I’m, you know, we’ve got a couple of papers that were working for publication of the work that I published in the book, but trying to reframe it differently. So lots of things going on. I’m filming. Next week, I’m going in back into the studio produced two days of filming some new online courses applies to this work as some of the more general work as well. So always something.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:02:42

Busy times ahead. 

Walt Fritz  1:02:44

Yep. Yeah. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:02:45

Just the last few questions here. What is the greatest lesson that you’ve learned about the voice since embarking on your vocal athlete journey and working with these vocal athletes?

Walt Fritz  1:03:00

I think humility, humility, in not trying to fix people, humility, in trying to allow their, their path in life to guide what we do, I came into this not knowing anything about voice at all. And I still only know a tiny bit of what you and the other professionals that I teach, know. And I’m very transparent about that. I’m not an expert in voice or swallowing. I’m a physical therapist who has good tools, that I can kind of meet you in the middle of a bridge hand and to teach them to you. And that let you go back and make it your own, both from your perspective, as well as the perspective of your clients. But I think working with vocal athletes, it’s just to stay humble. And here’s what I have to offer you. Does this feel helpful?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:03:47

So what is the greatest piece of advice you would like to offer our singing voice community? What can we do better? Do you feel just based on what you you’ve observed?

Walt Fritz  1:04:00

Yeah, I think whether it’s the vocal coach, or the therapist in general, which is more my community, is to realize there’s a lot we don’t know, even though we know a lot, that’s a hard thing to let go of our biases. You know, let’s go back to posture. If everything become revolves around posture, and a lot of people work that way. Are there things beyond posture that could be useful in this space, posture is important, is strength as important? Is flexibility as important as you were taught? Because that’s hard, trying to realize the teachers only take us to a certain point, and then we need to take it next to the next level. Right. And I think it’s just to always be addressing our biases.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:04:42

Yes. And I think to that, can I just add something that I would like to share or advise the voice community to and that is to be open minded to other modalities like this. What you’re talking about is amazing, and I I think we all need to start becoming more open minded minded. And there’s more than one way to fix a problem. And there’s an end if one way doesn’t work, try another. And, you know, your work is brilliant. And I love the philosophy behind what you do. And I’m so grateful to know for introducing us because I’ve absolutely loved talking with you. I’ve loved everything that you’ve had to share on our show, listeners are going to be in for a treat. And we’re going to share all your links if people want to learn more about your work, and even where to find your book where they can pre order your book. But it’s been an absolute pleasure. Walt, thank you so much for your time. I know you’re a very busy man. And I really appreciate everything that you’ve shared with us. And I love that you’re a buttkicker. And I love your ahead as you speak my language.

Walt Fritz  1:06:02

Yeah, thanks so much. I really appreciate the time that you’ve taken to, you know, to talk with me tonight and hopefully be back to Australia one of these days to teach again so.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:06:12

Well let me know when when you are and we’ll be sure to try and connect. Thank you so much, and good luck with you with everything. Okay.

Walt Fritz  1:06:19

And if your listeners have any questions, feel free to to just reach out me through email or social media and I don’t mind answering those questions or having those conversations, so.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:06:28

Okay, thank you take care well, okay, bye. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:06:37

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 an 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 #AVoiceAndBeyond. 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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