Today’s guest is Dr. Wendy LeBorgne, a highly sought-after voice pathologist, speaker, author, and vocal-athlete coach who works with a diversity of elite professional performers from Grammy award winning singers embarking on national tours, to those on the bright lights of Broadway.

This is part 1 of a two-part interview with Dr Wendy LeBorgne and in this episode, Wendy shares her approaches and philosophies to training singers and how she cares for vocal injuries. She believes that singers are vocal athletes, who not only embody the voice, but also the body, mind and spirit.

Wendy speaks candidly about some of the causes of vocal pathologies across all genres and how she prepares an elite vocal athlete for durability, strength and survival. Wendy also talks about what self-care means to her and how her personal regime of self-care has helped her survive the effects of the pandemic.


In this episode

1:09 – Introduction

4:56 – Dr Wendy LeBorgne early career

10:56 – Most common issues found in singers

17:53 – Are there different pathologies for different genres?

23:22 – The birth of the vocal athlete idea

26:12 – Tips for optimal performance

38:54 – Juggling mother, wife & work duties



Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:10

Hey, it’s Dr. Marisa Lee Naismith here and I’m so honoured to be sharing today’s interview round episode with you, listen and you will be inspired by amazing healthcare practitioners, voice teachers, and music industry professionals who will share their stories, knowledge and experiences within their specialised fields to help you live your best life every day. As singers, our whole body is our instrument and our instrument echoes how we feel physically, mentally and emotionally. So don’t wait any longer. Take charge and optimise your instrument now, remember that to sing is more than just learning about how to use the voice. It’s about a voice and beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:09

Today’s guest is Dr. Wendy LeBorgne, a highly sought after voice pathologist, speaker, author and vocal athlete coach, who works with a diversity of elite professional performers from Grammy Award winning singers embarking on national tours, to those on the bright lights of Broadway. This is part one, of a two part interview with Dr. Wendy LeBorgne and in this episode, Wendy shares her approaches and philosophies to training singers and her work as a voice pathologist preventing and caring for vocal injuries. Wendy believes that singers are vocal athletes who not only embody the voice, but also the body, mind and spirit. Wendy speaks candidly about some of the causes of vocal pathologies across all genres and how she prepares an elite vocal athlete for durability, strength and survival in their careers. Wendy also talks about what self care means to her and how her personal regime of self care has helped her survive the impact of the pandemic. This is part one of a two part interview with Wendy LeBorgne. And I’m very excited to present this episode to you. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s show.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  02:48

Hi, I’m Wendy LeBorgne. And welcome to the show. Thank you so much for joining us. 

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  02:54

Thank you so much for having me. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  02:56

How are you?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  02:58

I am good. I think like the rest of the world, we are coming out of post COVID. You know, they say the before times and the after times, I call it BC before COVID and then now, but, I think we’re all emerging with new thoughts, new ideas and moving forward as the world.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  03:19

I think we’re all trying to move forward. And all of us are moving at a different pace at this point of time. 

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  03:26

Yeah, hopefully, maybe two steps forward one step back. But yes! 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  03:32

I could deal with that. Now. We first met when you so graciously agreed to be interviewed as part of my PhD. So I interviewed you, that was around 2015 and then it was maybe a year after that we met in Philadelphia. And I’ll never forget that because I had only just landed in Philadelphia. It was like a 36 hour trip from Australia by the time I got to Philly and I slept in. I remember having lunch with you and I don’t even remember. I mean, I remember being like such a blur. But at least we’ve connected before. And it’s lovely to have that connection. And I know that you’ve done so much amazing work for our community. And I don’t even know where to start with all of this. So I’m going to pick a place and go for it. You are a voice pathologist, a voice specialist, a singing teacher, an author, a presenter, a master class clinician, there is so much to unpack. So let’s start with the voice pathologist. So how did you come to become a voice pathologist and how did you end up working with singers what came first?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  04:56

So that you know the story of my life right? I’ll Those things we live in. I actually started my world as a performer. So I have my undergrad, my undergraduate degree is actually a Bachelor of Fine Arts and musical theatre. So I performed professionally and I did that at Shenandoah conservatory in Virginia. And when I was in my junior or senior year at undergraduates, and so my third or fourth year there, Shenandoah, I met a woman named Dr. Jeanette Ogg, who at the time, was actually the vam Lawrence fellowship winner from the voice Foundation, when she was my mentor. And I came from a family where my dad was a physical therapist, or in Australia called physio therapists, but my dad was a physio therapy therapist. And, and I really wanted to potentially treat and evaluate vocal athletes. You know, I watched my dad do sports, and my, my mom was the office manager for the practice and my sister played sports. And so I got into it. And when I started this, because you have to remember that this was back in 1994. Like it was, it was early on before this idea of voice pathologists and singing voice specialist and all came into it into existence. So I actually Bob saddle off Dr. Robert satilla, at that time, had published an article on kind of a performing arts medicine degree. And so I said, I want to do that it didn’t really I don’t think exists other than in theory at the time. So I took his outline. And I said, this is what I’m gonna do. I think I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, yes. And that. And so I did, and I, I came here to Cincinnati. And I continued my master’s and my doctoral work here at the University of Cincinnati, and communication sciences and disorders. And, again, had this amazing opportunity to have this mentor in Dr. Joe stemple, who took me under his wing, and he’s like, kind of, I won’t, I won’t embarrass him, but they like the grandfather of voice, their vocal function exercises, right. But, um, but he took me under his wing, and they allowed me to grow as a clinician, and I really wanted to work with singers. And so that’s what I did. And Cincinnati Conservatory of Music is a well known music conservatory here in the United States. And I continued, just kind of marrying my passion, and my purpose in helping people get better, and then getting them back on stage. And I have been so incredibly fortunate in my career to be able to, to do that for the last 25 years of my life. That’s amazing. And I love that you said it was your passion and your purpose, that way must feel that you’ve never worked a day in your life. You know, I I truly feel that way. 90% of the time. I mean, I, I love what I do. I love what I do. I love that I love the people that I meet, and there is nothing better than truly helping somebody. Enjoy and you know, empower them to go do what they do best? Yeah. And in my case, for them, it’s singing, usually, or acting, or being on the radio, or preaching or things like I mean, any place where you’re using your voice to influence others. That’s what I do.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  08:54

Yes, we’re going to get to all of that influencing part of the interview a little later, because I’m fascinated with all the work you’re doing there. But as a voice pathologist, what does vocal wellness mean, in terms of a singer for a singer to be an excellent vocal shape? What are the areas that you look at?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  09:21

So for me, I look at efficiency, you know, are they efficient in what they’re doing? Are they consistent in their performance? Do they have agility, flexibility, stamina, and dynamic control, to meet whatever their market demands are? So whether it is a pop rock singer, whether it is a Broadway singer? Can they do those things efficiently and consistently? For whatever, you know, whether it’s eight times a week or three times a month, so that to me is what I look for in vocal wellness. We, I think I do a lot I have in the past and a lot of crisis vocal management, yes. Right. So oftentimes singers don’t get to somebody like me until it’s at a crisis point. I really am working hard in this next chapter in my career to work on preventative wellness, because I know that we’re still going to get injured. as singers, it’s just the nature of the beast, it’s kind of like a dancer is not going to go through a career without an injury or a football player that can play through. But we want to do everything we can preventatively to minimise that. But so from a vocal wellness standpoint, that’s what I look for in singers. They don’t have to be perfectly smooth, straight pearly white vocal cords, but they’ve got to be able to maintain the demands without a cost to their system regularly.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  10:54

Yeah. And what are the most common issues that you see in terms of voice pathologies? In singers? Is there more common issues and not?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  11:07

Um, it depends, I would say that my more advanced singers, so when I say advanced people that are working professionally in the field, the most common injuries I see in that population tend to be what I will call vocal accidents. So for example, it would be something like they got bronchitis, they got sick, they got So hi, yes, they said they sang through it when they knew they probably shouldn’t have, but they had to, because that was what was demanded of this. Yeah. And then they either get like a haemorrhage, they get, you know, acute laryngitis. So it’s kind of like this vocal accident, in my last experience experienced singers. So that’s going to make up your bread and butter, right? Like all the people that maybe don’t have as much training or even my young kids who singing choral ensembles, those injuries tend to be more overuse, or misuse injuries. So we see things like vocal fatigue, where these kids are singing, in their voice lessons, and then in choir, and then they’re doing their show. And then they’ve had all these, you know, so it’s all these overuse injuries. And sometimes we’ll see things like nodules, things like that. But it’s vary depending on kind of where people are in their careers. I think as far as what I see.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  12:32

Yeah. There is one commonality, though, in amongst all those people that you described, is that a lot of those injuries seem to be external factors. What you’ve described, a lot of it is external, you know, it would like for example, management. Kids being at school, I have that at the school that I work at, my boss, listen to this, and I hope he is. But those kids are in their singing lessons. And they’re in choir practice a couple of weeks, times a week, then they have big performances, and they have school assemblies. I had two students yesterday that came to me they’re a year 11 and 12 students who came to me and said, we do not want to sing for a week. We literally are so vocally tired, we cannot sing which I thought well, good on you for recognising that I’m teaching them well, but but how often do you see that it’s that something external is going on? That’s not that either amplifying the problem or at the could actually be creating the problem for the singer?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  13:50

Yeah, I mean, I think it is very rare that it is a single factor that creates the problem, right? It tends to be multifactorial. Yes. So it is, from an injury standpoint is often about vocal dose and vocal load. So how much how long you do it that’s going to put you depending on what you do at a higher risk, yeah, then it becomes about efficiency, right? Because we know that there have been studies that have been done where they have kids yell for the same amount of time at the same loudness at the same pitch level. And some kids will develop pathology and some kids won’t. And so then you go, okay, are there predisposing factors for that person? Or is their way of producing sound less efficient than somebody else? So they get into vocal issues? I don’t know that we know all of the answers to those questions. But I think that it goes back to, you know, you have to think outside of the voicebox literally, Yeah, it is. It is physical health. It’s what you feed your body. It is Is your mental? I don’t want to I don’t want to say there’s mental health as part of it. But yeah, yeah, kind of your mental your grits in all of this, um, how resilient you are when you’re faced with adversity. I think some of it is self regulation, because let’s be honest, many of our singers are not quiet people, by nature, right? No. So. And so sometimes you we talk about these external factors. However, it’s really hard for some of our singers to just keep their mouth shut. Yeah, in the cafeteria, you know, in a, you know, all of those things. So I don’t always think it’s just the singing that causes the problems. But I think it’s multifactorial, and a lot of cases. So we do have to look at that whole person when we’re looking at injury.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  15:56

So when you have someone that has something going on, that is nothing to do with their that part of the instrument, but it is maybe something psychological or emotional. How, what kind of impact does that have on the instrument? How does it affect the performance?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  16:19

Well, it can be good or bad, right? we all we all pay to have that emotional connection with another human being right. And so if somebody has a vocal injury, I, it has been my experience clinically, that it will affect them. Psychologically, from a self doubt standpoint, yes. From the fifth from a fear of re injury is is huge, dry week, I get I help them get better. But it is that fear of, am I going to reinjure? myself, Oh, my gosh, what if I lose my voice forever? So there’s a fear in this there is the psychological well being of the individual. And then, you know, the self doubt of Oh, my gosh, I’ve been a singer my whole life. Why did this happen? Now? What did I do wrong? What could I’ve done? You know, it’s all of those questions. So all of those things, absolutely impact voice. It’s kind of like a pitcher who throws a baseball right, or, you know, if you’re afraid to throw because you don’t want to hurt your shoulder, you’re much more likely to hurt it than if you just get emotional. So from a singing perspective to when we start to hold back, we start to fear. We know that the lyrics is inherently tied to the brain, the emotional centre of the brain, for both good and bad, so it can play to our benefit, or it can be a problem.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  17:51

Yes. And do you find that there are different pathologies for different genres, so talking at an elite level, so people that are in the midst of their careers, so if you have a Broadway singer, as opposed to a classical singer, as opposed to a performing touring rock artist, are the pathologies different or they still tend to be the same?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  18:21

They still tend to be pretty similar. They still tend to be pretty similar. You know, I’ve seen acute haemorrhages and classically trained singers and I see acute haemorrhages, and Broadway singers, and I see acute haemorrhages and heavy metal artists and I see polyps in all of those when I say vocal fold nodules in all of those. So I don’t, to my knowledge, there was a study done a long time ago, looking at genre and pathology. And I would say it was done in the late 80s, maybe early 90s. But honestly, I don’t know that we know that I’ve you know, I’ve screened at Cincinnati conservatory every musical theatre singer and classical singer that has come through that conservatory for almost 20 years. And what’s interesting is that regardless of genre, at least classical music theatre, about 35% of normal singers will have abnormal vocal folds. And there’s plenty of studies that have looked at that across the across the board. And abnormal could mean dehydration, it could mean reflux, it doesn’t have to mean you have nodules or polyps or things like that. Yes. What’s been interesting to look at is in my classical singers. There’s undergraduate, there’s Master’s levels, and then there’s the doctoral level students. I’ve actually seen more pathology in the doctoral level students, undergraduates, but let’s think about it this way for a minue. If you think about a dancer who dances, the longer you wear pointe shoes, the worse your feet tend to look when? Yes, and and so these pathologies that we see in the more advanced singers are not necessarily impacting their voices negatively or creating career issues. But we will see slightly abnormal findings. And sometimes it’s the abnormalities I think, that make people interesting to listen to, because their voices don’t sound like everybody else. And I do think that by the time you’re 30 years old, almost, let’s say that’s where you are. There’s been a little bit more wear and tear than there has been when you’re 18. Mm hmm. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:44

And a little bit more of life, and life experiences. And maybe lifestyle changes. A lot of things, too. Yeah, I mean, a 30 year old is very different to an 18 year old. Yeah. And so just I want to ask this question, quite specifically. And that is with vocal pathologies? Is there one genre that is more vulnerable to vocal pathologies than another? So we have this ongoing discussion about CCM versus classical? Do you believe that there is more vulnerability in one than the other? I don’t actually I think, Hey, can I? Okay, I’m having a moment here. Thank you. Can we stop having that discussion on Facebook now?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  21:47

So here’s the thing, I guess that they they are both vocal athletes. And I like to use this example and I present on this topic, I think of classical singers. As like your Tour de France. Cyclists, right. Like, they still crash. If anybody’s ever watched the Tour de France. Yes. The they crash, right? Yes. However, and they have injuries, they break bones, whatever. I think of my CCM artist, as kind of these BMX bikers where they kind of do these crazy stunts, and they get up in the air and they spin around and they land. Yes. You know, again, at the highest level of this game, regardless of whether you’re an elite cyclist, or whether you’re a BMX biker. I don’t need you know, all of those stunts. They both come with inherent risk. You’re both riding a bike, you’re both amazing at what you do. Does one come with more risks than another? Probably not. Yeah, ride long enough. You’re all gonna crash? Yes. Like that’s just inherent. So yeah, that’s just sort of my analogy.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  22:55

Yeah. I love that analogy. Okay, so talking about vocal athletes. Dinner, we have the book. Here, I have the book, such a practical well written book, thank you for allowing us in the voice community to have all this knowledge and this experience of yours wrapped up in here and with you and Marcy. So where did you come up with? Because you use the term vocal athlete earlier? Where did you come up with this vocal athlete idea? And how are we like athletes? How do we align with normal athletes?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  23:40

Yeah, first, let me you know, give out a shout to Marcy. Yeah, co author on that book. Yay, Marcy. So you know, I honestly, I feel like it was honestly, Marcy, and I can’t I can’t say for 100%. But in my head, this is a little bit I remember it also sets on in Philadelphia, over a napkin sort of writing out our outline of what this is going to be. And we talked about this idea of vocal athlete because it is, it is body, mind, spirit. It is physical from your toes to your head. And why not a vocal athlete? And I don’t know, which of us came up with the term or how we came up with the term. But we were, you know, it just seemed very fitting. How do I think singers are like athletes? Well, you know, to be on your game, you’ve got to have mental toughness, you’ve got to have mental fit. Yeah, definitely. Um, you need to be vocally fit. Meaning that you’ve got to have stamina, flexibility, agility, consistency of performance, you just can’t do a backflip off a balance beam once and you know, you’ve got to be able to do that every night. If that’s Yes. Do Yes, um, which is also like an elite athletes, or any athletes, you know you, you don’t have to be the best at your game to enjoy it either. I think you need to love your sport, right? We need to love what we do. And I think that’s salutely um, it takes, um, respiratory training, as well as respiratory maximisation. And your larynx is like your knee. It’s made up of cartilages and ligaments and muscles. And so why should we not think of ourselves as athletes? I think when people and there’s so many parallels just in the exercise physiology literature, in what we do? And I don’t know, that’s just yeah, I think of it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  25:52

Yes. So you have elite athletes in sport, and they have certain regimes that they have, they undertake on a daily basis, to make sure that they’re physically fit, and they’re in optimum shape, and fought to be able to perform at their best. What can singers do to perform at their best? And why are we Why can we be so lazy? At looking after ourselves? We don’t think of ourselves in those terms are not not all of us.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  26:28

Right? I, you know, I don’t? I wish I had all the answers to those questions. So what can we do? You know, I think, being the best version of you, whatever that is, and we talk about athletes. And when I start talking about this, sometimes I get a little pushback of like, no, that’s not who I am. Or that’s, I can’t be like super, I’m not saying be super skinny. I’m not saying all of those things. I’m saying when you think about fueling your body, fuel for success, if you know you do great with protein, do protein, if you know you do great with carbs, but whatever you eat and drink, that’s part of who we are, right? And so you need to think about that. You need to think about practising daily. Um, with that said, You also need to take days of rest. And I’ll say that again, you need to take days of rest, yes to perform with, and I get so often as performers, we’re in this go mode, I have to say yes. I can’t say no to any, you know, like, you build it, it’s this. It is this mindset that has been in place for centuries, probably honestly. And and so I think that giving yourself grace to take days of rest. I think some of the healthiest I’ve seen some of my performances after COVID. Last year, because they are so vocally rested. Yes, they sound and feel like a million bucks. Not that we’re going to be able to take 12 months off, and I hope we never ever do anything like this again. But with that said, um, you know, in a, we’re talking about, like higher level commercial music artists, they might be singing it, especially if they’re like, on a tour, they might be singing in one city one night, and then they’re getting on a bus and then they’ve got to go to City The next night. So they’re not getting good sleep, or they’re sleeping on a bus. They’re sometimes having to stop and yeah, places that they wouldn’t normally feel their body, you know? Yeah, it’s a very different mentality. So yes, anything you can do to prepare for that. I think it’s great. Um, I am a huge proponent of mental fitness. Every single one of really high level elite athletes have sports psychologist, not because there’s anything wrong. But it to get your head in the game to be at that peak mental performance when you do what you need to do. I’m a huge proponent of meditation. Or whatever your prayer meditation, something that allows your brain to focus. It doesn’t always have to be vocal practice to get you to your performance goals.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  29:25

Exactly. Exactly. And you said I’m going to come back to that meditation in a moment. And you but just finishing up on the thing is that you’re working with you shared with me that come July, some of your his Grammy Award winning performers are going to be hitting the road again after 12 months of not doing live performances and touring. So you and you said they’re in great detail. Singing really well. But how do you get them vocally fit and lifestyle fit for that tour? How do you prepare them as their coach? Now to get them back into that shape again?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  30:14

Yeah, I mean, so many of these artists, I think have been working on and off on their voice through this whole 12 months, you know, we are now it’s kind of like preparing for a race at this point, right? You were ramping up the amount of time that they’re singing the intensity of time that they’re singing, really working range, thinking about what this looks like, for the next 12 months. You know, all of those things, I know that the Hamilton tours are going back out. Certainly, some of those artists have have have had that conversation with me. And and, you know, that’s a high intensity show, too. And yes, I don’t you’re not you have to prepare now, you know, you can’t wait till two weeks before because, you know, we’re eight weeks out about at this point. And so it is time, we are doing vocal stamina, physical stamina, mental wellness, and respiratory stamina. I mean, we are heading it. And I do it both from my very physiologic standpoint, as well as an artistic standpoint. So that’s a little bit of my bias, yes, that I feel like you need to have a good physiologic foundation. So we do respiratory training, we do laryngeal muscle strength training, I think of it as going to the vocal gym before we do the artistic part. So for me, it’s like, Okay, I gotta do bicep curls. Before I can throw that ball. It’s not just throwing 100 mile an hour ball. It is let me strengthen those muscles so that I can be efficient. And that’s where we are. And that’s what we’re working on.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  32:02

So is that a lot of repetitious work? The same way you would in the gym? Is that repetition? Like building it is sets of repetitions?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  32:12

Yeah. Yeah. So I actually use with my artists, respiratory trainers, inspiratory and expiratory. trainers, we use vocal function exercises, to maximise laryngeal glottic, closure, flexibility, things like that. So yeah, there’s any artists out there that are ready, like I’m here, please, vote. We’re doing this vocal reconditioning. And God bless zoom, we could do it across the pond.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  32:36

I actually would be great to have like a big class of people like do a workshop is like a series.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  32:44

Yay. Think about Yeah, oh, let me just say that a little bit in the works between me and Deborah.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  32:51

Okay, well, that that sounds like a great idea. And, okay, so in terms of you personally, what does self care mean for you?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  33:05

Oh, my gosh. So, this has been a year I mean, for all of us, but a year of change. Certainly, for me. I’ve pivoted a little bit in my career from strictly doing clinical to now combining some clinic with really working with high level vocal athletes back out on tour. So for me, that means also, I take I really take time for myself every day I am an early riser, not a night owl. So I get up usually most days between five and 530 in the morning, well, and I meditate and I am a faithful person. So prayer is part of what I do with separate cavitation Yes, um, and then I am a person who likes to start my day with also exercise now I do these separately because even though I’m the I love to multitask, I don’t find that that is best for my self care. So drawer like I’m actually sitting I’m sitting in my meditation chair here like this is what I said in the morning because in my private space, but um, but Yeah, I do. I do that and I do it every day and then exercise for me. Walking is something that I do and strength training. I meal plan for my family for the week. So usually my Saturdays and Sundays, I tried a meal plan for healthy foods, as well as budgeting it works better if I’m able to. Yes, absolutely. But really even over the course of a week looking at, you know, fish one night or you know, an all a meatless deal, a meatless meal one night and then chicken or pork, you know, so that we Have the variety and what we do. And we work on that as a family too, because I think it’s important. My boys are still young. And so incorporating that into what hopefully they’ll take out. I have really minimised my social media, I actually blocked time, I blocked time in my day where I will allow myself to look at social media.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  35:25

I’m hearing.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  35:27

But I’ve, I’ve cut back on my social media consumption and posting, too. Yeah, it got it gets a little overwhelming, honestly. It does, its true.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  35:40

Yeah. I mean, not only do does it affect your mood, but also to you can be stuck there for such a long period of time, you can get suckered in to being on social media for four hours, if you if you let it. I mean, it’s just one big funnel. It’s like a cave, and you get to a point of no return. But you’re in a position of service, what you do you serve others, basically, as singing teachers, we are in an area of service. You’re a mom, you have two boys 11 and 16, your wife, a professional, a voice teacher and author, you have so much on the go, how do you juggle all these roles?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  36:32

I’m sometimes better than others. And, you know, I’m, I am really lucky that I have a supportive husband. Right? We then married for when we married for 25 years. Oh, beautiful. So I know

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  36:51

Same, 25.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  36:52

Yeah. Um, so a, that’s helpful for me. Um, I, I am I, you know, I think that juggling it all, as a mom and as a woman as a wife, the older I’ve gotten, I think my priorities have shifted a little bit. And what was important at 20 is not as important in my 40s, or it’s just shifted, and I don’t think you can have it all at the same time. I think that there is a huge cost to yourself. Yeah, if you try to do that, and I learned that the hard way for sure. So as I take on some of these new roles and new responsibilities in my own business, you know, working on that balance, because if there’s anything I’ve learned, I don’t want to go back to that crazy, crazy rat race. And so I blocked time for right, I blocked time for writing, trying not to over commits, you know, saying, Okay, yeah, I need to get this project done before I commit to six other Yeah, right. And so I think that’s how you work on the balance. Yeah, I mean, I don’t know that that I don’t, it is, it is an ongoing learning process

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  38:24

Yeah. And it’s learning to say no, as well, isn’t it sometimes. And that’s so hard for us, especially as voice teachers, because we want to please everybody we want, we want to make everyone happy. And we’re all fighting for our jobs. And, and so we don’t like to say no. And as you transition, just say, You’ve you been to the office and you clinic for the day, and then you come home? How do you transition then back into being a mom and a wife? Like there’s a thing segment intending? I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, where you set the intention for what you’re going to do next? like to go through something where you go Okay, now I’m home and now this is the person I’m going to be or do you naturally just go through that transition from one role to another?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  39:23

Um, I think I probably should transition better. And I’m not gonna lie. There have been times where I you know, my commute before COVID was, you know, it was up to an hour and a half some days and so a lot of that time I listen to audiobooks or there are times when I would come home and I’d sit in my driveway and I would truly do like a two minute meditation reset before I walked into the house. Okay, it is you know, you know, sometimes that happens sometimes. You sometimes I have to put a sign on My my in house Office Store that says, you know, be Leave me alone, right? Just I need 10 minutes, because I will come in here my dog, you know, reset

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:09

get on you because that my next question was, how do you take a breath during the day? Like there’s times where I’m you just said that you say Just leave me alone for 10 minutes and we all need that. And it’s hard isn’t it with family, I know that my husband will follow me around the house or if my kids are here or my grandkids, like, you need to be able to say that, don’t you or put that sign I need a sign that I needed to be big because he would not.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  40:43

Well, and it’s so funny and like this even just happened this morning in my world is you know, I get up I’m doing my routine. The kids are home for summer now. And my husband’s a teacher so he was also home. Although I was I’m today is my first day back from vacation. So I truly I came in my office I set it’s like seven o’clock in the morning, like everybody should not be bothering me. No, to answer the emails from the last week and my husband’s literally trying to have a conversation with he’s like sorting things in here. I’m like, okay, I like it is now time for me to be at work in my little office here. Yeah. So you know, sometimes it’s just creating some boundaries. Oh, it is hard, isn’t it?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  41:27

My husband, like I get home from work from teaching. And then I like to have some creative time where I just sit and work on on a passion project, you know, generally be some creative writing working on this podcast. And, you know, I might only been here 15 minutes, and I get that you’re gonna make the salad? Or do you want me to make it? Leave me alone. I mean, literally, I would like to tell him where to place the salad. But I don’t. They don’t like to leave us alone. It’s like, what do they do without us? Bless. That’s right.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  42:09

That’s right. And you know, and I enjoy my time, you know, and in wine downtime, like I when I I literally blocks time on my schedule, like tonight. Yes, it’s morning, your time it’s night. But I truly I block. Yeah, I’ve blocked time in my schedule, and I go, okay, at 845 I’m doing 15 minutes of core work, because I’m trying to get a little core work in the morning core work at night. And then I have reading time for myself. And I’m reading for me, um, can’t be so much on my phone or my iPad. I actually like an actual book to read, you know.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  42:54

I’m an audio book girl.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  42:57

I do. Like when I walk I listen to audiobooks. Or if I read on my phone, these are like blue light glasses, because I just find that it keeps me awake over this last year, I, I’ve always been a person that sleeps from 9pm to 5am. Like I’m just a good sleeper like, and this year has rocked that. And I find myself waking up at two and three o’clock in the morning and I just go Okay, we need to reset what this is. So I’ve made some changes coming into later in my evening. To be able to to do that.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  43:32

Yes. Do you find now that you need that time to prepare to go to sleep almost like some some way of like, you know, getting off social media or getting off your devices, time that you start to wind down and you don’t look at emails and things like that. Is that the kind of thing that you’re doing?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  43:57

Yeah, I’ve made a very conscious decision that, you know, when I’m done at, you know, six o’clock that I am not looking at any more emails. I don’t check social media. I make a very conscious decision first thing in the morning that I don’t you know, most of my phone is my alarm clock, right?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  44:16

Yes, everybody, all of us

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  44:18

That, that I do I make a really conscious effort in that first hour of getting up that I am not looking. I’m not looking at the news. I’m not looking at my email. I’m not looking at social media yet. But every day it’s a struggle. I’m not. Right, but it is I have to make this decision to do it. And that the first emails that I send in the morning are emails that I have intention to send, like, I wanted to reach out to somebody versus being at everyone else’s beck and call and start my day with answering everybody else’s Yes. Because I know that I never get to the ones that I need to do.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  44:57

Yeah, and that’s the thing, isn’t it? What People don’t realise that when they check their emails, they’re allowing other people to take control of the direction of their morning. Whereas, and you don’t get the things done that you need to get done. And if someone sends you an email in the middle of the night, Well, clearly they’re disorganised and why? Why do you have to pick up the pieces for them? That’s how I look at might be a bit harsh, but you know what I’m saying? Unless it’s an international colleague, but if it’s someone else, you think, Well, why didn’t you get that done in the day? And why didn’t you let me know about this about 48 hours ago, rather than leaving it to the last minute you’re in crisis? And you want me to help? You know?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  45:46

Yeah, and, or if if for, for myself, also, if I am one of the, if I have one of those crazy sleepless nights, and I’m like, Alright, I’m going to be productive. I’m going to answer some emails, I always set my email send time to at least seven or 8am. So people don’t see that I’m answering them at three o’clock.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  46:04

You’re one of those. Oh, you’re busted.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  46:09

If I if I have if I have to get up and do if I’m like, if I totally can’t sleep, because if I, you know, if I’m, if I’m in one of those, you know, cycles of like, Okay, I’m waking up at 3am I’ve got a million things. I will literally do some meditation in the night to try to fall back asleep. If I still can’t, after 30 minutes, I’ll get up and go to a different place just because I don’t want to, you know, make that cycle happen. But if I do say, Okay, I’m going to spend 30 minutes answering emails. I do I do time delay my son and instead of not being productive and thinking about the emails, I’ll at least respond but just delay the Send. I didn’t do a normal hour.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  46:47

I didn’t know you could do that.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 

Hey, I hope you enjoyed this episode have a voice and beyond. Now is an important time for all of us to spread positivity and empowerment in our singing voice community. It’s 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 for your students feeling energised, empowered, and ready to deliver your best. Be the best role model and mentor you can possibly be and watch your students thrive as you do. Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please make sure to share it with a friend or a colleague who you think will be inspired by this, copy and paste the link and share it with the people you think will enjoy listening to this show. Please share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. If you would like to help me please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcasts right now. I would love to know what it is you enjoyed the most about this episode. And what was the biggest takeaway for you? I promise you there are many episodes to follow as I’m committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one. I’d like to finish up with my final thoughts. Remember that to sing is more than just learning how to use the voice. as singers. Our whole body is the instrument and our bodies echo what we feel physically mentally and emotionally. So singing is not just about the voice. It’s about a voice and beyond. Please take care of yourself and I look forward to your company next time.