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 01:08
At present, not only are we in the midst of a global pandemic, but we are also in the midst of a mental health crisis and a social revolution that is affecting people globally, including those in our singing voice studios, the music industry and beyond. As a voice community, we still have a long way to go. And I know we can do so much better. This episode is dedicated to all those who are being silenced, and to ensure that we as a voice community are honouring all voices, and creating safe spaces for everyone to be heard irrespective of race, gender, mental health concerns and their professional standing within the music industry. I revisit interview rounds with Nancy boss, Nadine Mannion, Ashley Ambar, Chris Johnson, Dr. Elizabeth Benson and Donna Cameron, who offer their pearls of wisdom as to how we as voice teachers and other music industry personnel can improve our working and studio environments and ensure that policies are being created to allow for freedom of voice expressivity and authenticity. It is our hope that their perspectives stories and experiences will help to inspire change and encourage others to embark on their own journey of looking at their own biases and how they can improve the industry culture. Without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 03:01
A globally recognised voice expert Nancy Bos truly believes that everyone has the right to sing and to use their voice. Nancy was a guest in Episode 20 and 21. And in this episode, she opens up about those who have been silenced and her life’s mission to inspire people all around the world to find the freedom to express through voice, that part of who they are that connects us all. I’m sure you are going to truly be captivated by her wisdom and experiences. I begin by asking Nancy what inspired her to champion others, especially women to find their voice in life.
Nancy Bos 03:48
That inspiration comes from being a strong, independent woman. And I have to add the word woman because the strong and independent great, but being a woman who has been judged, you have to make a choice to ignore judgments that hold you back, right I’ve had to make I had to make those choices to ignore judgments that would hold me back. Maybe this is goes for men too. But I think it’s pretty well documented for women and there’s there’s a cultural norm that our generation you’re in my generation is coming out of. We were the first generation of liberated women and who knew what that was. So somebody still has to raise the kids and make dinner so Honey, you may be liberated but you better stay home and do that. You know that’s that’s a squashing that’s a killing that comes from our society. And that I’m sure happened to be in many different ways like it does to all women and I’m sick of it. But there is there is a part of, of the medical world that the word This is totally going off on another tangent. So put on the brakes. If you want
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 05:00
No, I’m I’m, I’m coming along. On this ride, the ride with you.
Nancy Bos 05:06
Awesome. Well, when we when I was writing the book singing through change was which is about women’s voices in midlife and menopause and beyond. We did research that showed what hysteria is a hysteria. Yeah, I know. It’s like out of the blue hysteria is Easter ruse is the Greek word for uterus. And hysteria was a diagnosis that started some three 400 years ago, that was put to women, adult women who started acting differently than women should act. And it could be anything from headaches, many women because of their hormones, they get migraines. So that could be a hysteria. Many women because of their hormones in their 40s, or 50s, will have periods of rage. That would be hysteria. Yeah. And these are all now we know that this is due to massively fluctuating hormones, and it can be dealt with in the medical world. But the word hysteria was a medical diagnosis until the 1980s. And it was meant for women in midlife who are not acting like they’re supposed to act. And one of the phrases if you look in the Wikipedia for hysteria, one of the phrases is women who have a tendency to cause trouble for others. And,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 06:21
yeah, deeply and highly hysterical. We’re both hysterical. Derek? Yes.
Nancy Bos 06:34
That is part of the root of my nature to help women find their voices and men, but mostly women. Is that
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 06:39
yes. And I want them to become even more hysterical, more hysterical, please, let’s make some trouble. Yeah, exactly. Right. Yeah. And when you talk about women being becoming independent, and you know, society changing, it actually has not happened that long ago. And in some cultures, it’s still not happening, like old share, something that I’ve not shared before, is that I come from an Italian culture where as a child, I was raised that children is seen and not heard. Yeah. And so I never spoke up, I couldn’t disagree with my parents, I wasn’t allowed an opinion. And then I married that person. Yeah. And at 20, I was pregnant with my first child. And I wasn’t allowed to follow my career path. And I was in a situation that I started to realise I was not happy being in because I was not that person. I was quieten down, and I was not allowed to have an opinion. And I was that domesticated Italian. Why, in my early 20s,
Nancy Bos 07:54
and that’s part of the culture where I grew up to, I mean, not not the, the Italian thing that’s completely opposite. I grew up in a Scandinavian culture in the middle of the United States in a place called South Dakota, which is classic prairie country, you know, sod houses and waggon trains. And, I mean, I was born after the waggon trains had gone through, but just for perspective, they were cars when I was born.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 08:19
Yeah, I was gonna say You look great for 100.
Nancy Bos 08:24
Just for those who might be young ask. So but but that Scandinavian culture and the Lutheran Church that I was raised in there is a hierarchy of voices. And definitely, you need to be a team player. Nobody should stick out. We are all in this together working for a greater purpose, which truly, when it was survival, and you were building sod houses and cutting new farmland and fighting the enemy, then yeah, survival is the thing. But when it’s now a city in a suburb, and women’s liberation has happened, and still the culture is saying Quiet, quiet, quiet. And I know there’s a lot of people who can say they’ve experienced that I was always jealous of the people of New York who could just be loud in and out and just Yeah,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 09:13
yeah. And in our industry, there is a tendency for the woman if you’re in a band to be the chick singer. Yes. And I I was tarnished with that brush. I was the chick singer in the band. But I tell you, what, if you survive that you can survive anything. Yeah. But try working in a bar at three in the morning, when it’s full of drunks, who are basically yelling out and this is my Australian accent coming out now. Get your gear off. You go into fight or flight mode, and I tell you what I fought. And I learned so now like independent And strong woman I can I can deal with anything anyone ever says to me because of that. And that’s what we had to deal with in the industry. And I’m sure that still around now that culture.
Nancy Bos 10:13
Absolutely. And the the child who’s raised in a culture where they’re not allowed to say anything your children are seeing that heard, or that dad has the ability to silence the child with a word or a look that those kids don’t learn how to fight, right? We learn, yeah, we learn how to obey.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 10:36
So that takes us to where we’re at now in life. And we talk about, you know, that women were silenced, but also to the generation of women that are coming through now they’re facing other challenges. We were told to be silent. Yes. But the women now, are they losing their ability to communicate? Do you feel for other reasons? Interesting. I
Nancy Bos 11:05
hadn’t thought about that. Yeah, I do think also, for some of my high school girls that stayed with me, they were outstanding, brilliant, they could do everything. And that pressure to be everything and do everything means that the girl is required to ignore herself. Right? Right. This hour, you are a mathematician, and you’re getting all A’s. And this hour, you’re the lead in the musical and you’re killing it. And this hour, you’re in volleyball, and you are going to spike that ball, you know, and to be the best all the time and everything means there’s no chance to find out who you really are. So yes, there’s the technology problem. And then those in that kind of overachieving world, there’s the society problem, I would say, I’ve witnessed college students that do get confused about that, how to talk to people, especially during the pandemic, where everything now is online, they, for a while, don’t even know how to leave their house. And I know that wasn’t a problem in Australia as much as it was in other parts of the world where college students didn’t leave their apartment or their dorm or their house for a year. Basically, I can’t even imagine what that’s going to do for silencing people’s voices is something we have to keep a lookout for. That’s,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 12:23
and also by doing that were silencing their emotions.
Nancy Bos 12:28
Yeah, it certainly is good to have a good therapist, or a good friend or a good coach or mentor to help you through those things. Because it’s, it’s unprecedented in the history of the world. We don’t know how to emerge from this. Yeah. And then how do you help people find their voice in life, specifically with women,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 12:47
I understand that. And I think you gave the demographic of women between 40 and 70,
Nancy Bos 12:54
that the most important aspect that I found, is to help women tap into the, into the fact I believe it’s a fact that we were all put here for a purpose. We all have something inside of us that’s dying to get done before we pass from this earth. And if a woman feels that her life or her silence, is blocking her from delivering that message from sharing what she’s passion now, passion, passion, taken from the the original meaning, which is the passion of Jesus Christ, on the cross, dying. For love of us. That’s what passion means. So what are you there? That’s the source of the word passion. Yeah. And so what are you passionate enough about? That you can’t help yourself, but go do say, Tell the world once you find that and start to believe that that is why you are here, then it’s time to look for ways to look for ways to get through whatever it is that’s blocking you. And sometimes those blocks are people. In my case, I had family members that were blocking me as you did with your Italian. Yes. Yeah. And so sometimes it’s it’s a very harsh reality that we find ourselves having fallen into, but that that meaning of life, you know, I don’t want to die without having sung I don’t want to die without giving my message. That Yes, that’s real. That’s the truth. That’s the truth. We get one life we have to live it and so encouraging and empowering women to move forward in their passion.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 14:43
In Episode 24, Nadine Mannion stated that we must ensure our studio policies are formulated to offer a space that embraces equity inclusivity, belonging and diversity the information she shared It was so insightful for anyone within our voice community who is currently working with or wanting to learn more about how to approach the teaching of transgender and gender diverse singers. Nadine stresses that our teaching approaches must be guided by the individual goals and specific needs of the singer. And these must be addressed with care and sensitivity. Nadine begins by discussing the current research in the field of transgender and gender diverse singing voice.
Nadine Manion 15:36
I think the difficulty we have with a lot of research around the transgender community is that for a long time, and even in some cases, still, we’ve been asking the wrong questions. And we’ve been asking questions in the incorrect way. And so a lot of the research that we have about demographics and things like that isn’t really something that we can trust at the moment. So there has been some research in Australia that says, on average, and this is with small samples, but on average, most people identified as transgender around that 14 years, that kind of age group. And we are seeing a lot more people publicly identifying as transgender. Now, but I think that probably says more to do more about the climate of acceptability in the public, and how people are responding to people coming out as transgender rather than the existence of more transgender people. In this time,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 16:35
it’s really interesting, you should say that age 14 is where people feel that please forgive my my language, that they’re in the wrong body that they, they feel that they may have been born female, and they really feel that they are male, and vice versa, because I have a student at present. And this might help other singing teachers as well. And this is why I’m bringing it up. But I have a student who left a school that I’m working at, and this student had been very troubled for quite some time. And I didn’t realise that she found herself feeling that she should be male. The parents have told me all this information. And the reason why she left the school is because she didn’t feel supported in terms of uniform wearing didn’t want to wear the school skirt. But because it’s a private school, it was enforced. And these are the kinds of situations that transgender and gender diverse people are finding themselves in, especially the younger generation.
Nadine Manion 17:47
Yeah, look, I definitely don’t want to speak on behalf of the transgender community. Because as somebody who’s cisgender, I am definitely coming at it from an outside position. But I think there, it’s a really good example of how somebody who is in our singing class, a transgender person, there might be a lot of difficulties coming in all aspects of their life, you know, there might be difficulties that we don’t even realise they’re having with something like uniform at school. Yeah. And it really reinforces that idea that we need to be schooled, hopefully one day as well. But in our singing studios, we need to be actually creating policies around how we work with transgender students, gender affirming spaces, things like that, before our person tells us, they’re transgender, before we have transgender students. So I think that really amplifies that idea of having to create the space. If you build it, they will come kind of attitude before we actually get those students standing in front of us.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 18:51
So as a singing teacher who has has this student who is in this situation now where she has come out to her family, but not yet with me. How does a teacher then a voice teacher then approach the subject? Or what kind of conversation should we be having? Or no conversation at all until they are prepared to open that that discussion for themselves?
Nadine Manion 19:20
My personal opinion? Yes, I’d say if you’re speaking to the student or the student’s parents, it’s a good question to pose to them, because they will probably have an insight into what their child would prefer or, but I personally wouldn’t have any conversation. I think you can be a little clever around it. So you could say things like, Look, I’m updating my information. Could you please fill out a new student enrollment form for me, because I want to get everyone’s new details and make sure that you’re asking for pronouns and that really gives people the opportunity to let you know if they want to this student may still want to be referred to as she her in your classes. Because they may not be ready to be out for lack of a better term in all areas of their life. So it’s important not to, to put them in a situation where they feel they have to have that conversation until they’re ready. Okay,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 20:12
what if it’s a new student? And we have a student who identifies as a transgender or a gender diverse student? What kinds of conversations and questions should we be asking those students?
Nadine Manion 20:29
I’ve actually had some students start with me and say that the reason that they started with me was because they can see that I use pronouns on my website, right. And by announcing your pronouns, either in that way, or verbally with your students, when you first meet them, you’re basically saying that these are my pronouns, feel free to offer yours, and they’re going to be respected in this space. I’m not assuming to know your pronouns, just based on what you currently look like. One of the tricky things a lot of people ask about is, what do teachers need to know? And what is personal information? And that’s a really tricky line, because there are things that we would prefer to know. But we don’t necessarily need. So in all my forms for all students, not just trans students, I asked them pronouns, I’ll ask them singing experience, have they got any issues with their speaking voice, any concerns with their speaking voice, which I think is really important, particularly when working with the trans community? Asking if they have any experience with the speech pathologists, and then asking as well, if they are taking any medications or hormones that may impact their voice, and asking them to elaborate if they’re comfortable. So some students won’t tell you, right? When, when we do have trans people coming into the studio, as I mentioned before, there’s many ways to be trans and there’s no right or wrong way. So what you can often get, and I’ve had a lot of experience with this is I’ve had trans women coming in who have a beautiful baritone voice, and they don’t want to sing higher. That’s not their intention, okay, they want to sing empty chairs at empty tables, and they sing it beautifully. And that’s really what they’re looking for from me. So this element of their gender identity actually, isn’t that involved in the way they want to express their voice. And their voice matches that. Yes. So I think it’s really important to start by actually ascertaining the goals of a student, and what they’re comfortable with. So some people, you will probably be the same that my previous attitude was, you build the whole voice, even if somebody doesn’t particularly want to sing high, a healthy voice is building the top and the bottom end in the middle, as much as you can get. Whereas some transgender people won’t feel comfortable accessing certain parts of their range. So I really have a bit of a conversation about what they’re comfortable with what they’re not comfortable with. And let them know that it’s okay to stop me if they don’t want to do something. Yeah, and just have fun. In the first lesson. I stopped being as analytical as I used to be as a singing teacher. And I think it’s the first lesson is all about the fun and what they can get out of it. And then I start to analyse a little more in the subsequent sessions.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 23:17
And fun is something that we forget about, too.
Nadine Manion 23:21
Yes. When you’re so right. That’s something I’ve, I’ve started to really focus on more and more and more is that when I first started learning about transgender voice, I was looking at all the differences. And while there are some important differences, so much of it is just the same. You know, it’s just about finding authentic voices, voices that aren’t perfect, but that make people feel like they can express themselves, and doing things that make our students comfortable enough to play around and enjoy their singing. So there are a lot of similarities. And we know Yes, the pedagogy that we already need to know.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 23:58
It sounds like just make sense. And it’s common sense.
Nadine Manion 24:03
Yeah, look, I think in some ways it is. But there are a lot of people who, who don’t know a transgender person who’ve never really come across a transgender person. It’s always confronting to learn how little we know about something. And it’s really scary to change. And so I think, learning the basics about how you make a transgender person might feel more comfortable in your session, how you start a session might just make one sing teacher out there feel a little bit more comfortable taking that student on?
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 24:35
Yes, I understand that. You have you have a student that will come in, they will have a particular perception or an idea of how they want to sound. How do you deal with those perceptions. If a student is not happy with the end result of how their voice is sounding like they won’t Their pitch to lower or their pitch to go higher. But it’s not what they perceive their voice to sound like. Yeah. How do you deal with that?
Nadine Manion 25:10
The way that I really try to work through it is, as we know, the voice is a lifelong journey. So it’s something that we gradually change over our entire lives. But it’s really important to find beauty in the journey, and value in that journey. One of the things I’ve noticed just with my, my personal students and clients I work with, I was actually really surprised at how few of my transgender students listen to transgender singers. Right? And there are some great singers out there. Yes, so many great ones out there, some really great opera singers as well. And I think that that’s a really great place to start. Because that is a realistic expectation, as well as getting them to listen to the beauty in these voices, you often find when they listen to someone, they go, Okay, well, I actually do sound a little bit like that. And that’s an amazing voice. And it gives them something to model towards. That being said, this is such a new field. And even when science says that avoid shouldn’t be able to do something, there are 1000s of exceptions to the rule. So we never really know what’s what someone is totally capable of. And I actually had a really good trans singer Tell me once, that having the attitude of no limitations of if you just dream, something, if you don’t believe that your voice has limitations, then that’s how you surpass those barriers, that really changed my way of teaching as well. So when people ask me what a realistic expectation is, I just say, I don’t know, no idea anymore. Just whatever you can achieve. Is your realistic. The sky’s the limit, perhaps. Yeah. And it’s it’s always a journey. I think finding it not authentic singing voice for all singers is is such an exciting and beautiful process. And we’ve got to enjoy the journey rather than just worry about the destination, I
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 27:10
guess. I think this serves as a really important reminder that we are dealing with human beings and every human being is different. And we need to listen to what they’re telling us. And we need to meet their expectations. It’s not always about our own.
Nadine Manion 27:27
Yeah, absolutely. Student centric is the main thing person before the voice.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 27:32
Yes. And what’s the best piece of advice you could offer? A teacher who is working with a trend singer?
Nadine Manion 27:42
I think one of the things is to really and this is not an easy piece of advice. I will preface Yes. But yes, that’s okay. is to really take some time to look at your own prejudice, I guess in your mind, what we’ve been taught by society is this gender binary. I think that’s a really hard thing to unlearn unless you look directly at it. And it’s a confronting thing to do. I remember one of the things I used to do a lot, which I am not particularly proud of now is talk about for female singers, when we’re singing low about not dropping the larynx because I’m a contemporary teacher not dropping the larynx. Yeah, because then it gives an overly masculine sound. And I really had to look at the fact that why like, why does that sound masculine? Who told me that sounded masculine. And so without meaning to I was actually projecting my ingrained opinion of what gender expression should be of what gender is. I was projecting that onto my students. And I didn’t mean to and I definitely wasn’t my intention. But without really looking at that innate kind of belief, and challenging it. We really can’t service our students as well as we should trans students or cisgender students, any students. Yes, you know, I think if we take that gender, binary and gender assumptions away, that actually opens up this whole world of creativity for all students, and will benefit all students.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 29:22
Ashlie Amber is a singer, actress and entertainer who is in the midst of an incredible music career as a black recording artist in Nashville in a music culture that historically has not embraced gender equality or diversity. Ashlie was our guest in episode nine. And in this interview, Ashlie speaks candidly about her journey in the pursuit of her dream to become the beyond say of country music. It is her hope that her story will inspire other singers of colour especially Women to pursue their professional aspirations in the music industry. I asked Ashley about the current culture in country music, and this is what she had to say. Women in general and country music
Ashlie Amber 30:15
only make up 10% of the radio 90% of the radio is male dominated. Out of that 10% of women, zero. women of colour, make up the radio, there’s only one black female artist signed to a major label still, right now, even with all of the current things going on in the world, the current spotlight, the amount of uh, you know, country music is kind of under the microscope right now for the lack of diversity with with gender equality. And then you know, race as well. So they have so many things, and they also country’s known for age discrimination as well against women. So I, I tick off three boxes. Yeah, only. So I’m a woman. I’m a black woman, and I’m over the age of 30. Like, I’m like tech, tech, tech, tech, tech, everything they discriminate against, is me. So it’s, it’s hasn’t been easy. But it also hasn’t been difficult at the same time, if that makes any sense.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 31:23
Yes. In the sense,
Ashlie Amber 31:26
the world in the country community has been waiting to open its doors and redo be more inclusive. It just took this long, and it took the spotlight for them to realise it. So now. I mean, the what we’ve been able to accomplish in such a short time is an absolutely incredible I’m, I’ve accomplished things that it’s taking people years to accomplish in Nashville. And a lot of that’s being strategic, a lot of that is simply working my tail off behind the scenes, and really learning the business. Your job, as a performer honestly has nothing to do with singing. Singing is important. It is important, I’m not saying it’s not. But if you don’t know how to market yourself, if you don’t know what branding is, if you don’t know how to do your social media, if you don’t know, the importance of what’s trending, what’s trending music, what’s trending fashion, what’s trending post, like, these are all things you have to be aware about. And then in addition to that, you have better have read some sort of articles on what not to sign. And that’s the way the industry is, but you have to be smart, the importance of the behind the scenes, because those are more important. A label doesn’t even really care what you’re doing unless you have a certain amount of followers. So it’s, it’s a very interesting world we live in, you really have to be on your game. And that’s what I’ve learned the most. And I will be honest, this this side of the industry is not for everybody,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 33:14
not for the faint hearted.
Ashlie Amber 33:16
Yes, you gotta have some really thick skin and some just undeniable work ethic in order to get it and you have to have a really good team. And again, that streetsmart and being strategic. Yeah, and go from there. Oh, and five, right, you
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 33:34
haven’t given us the name of your song that you’ve just written?
Ashlie Amber 33:36
Oh, right. Yeah, my bad. Yeah, yeah, um, the song that I just released is called those nights. And it was inspired by somebody in the industry and Nashville said that I wasn’t, I wasn’t authentic enough. And I knew exactly what he meant by that. And so instead of being offended by it, or sort of being upset or hurt, because again, you have to have thick skin in this industry, people love to tell you why you’re not good enough. I it inspired me and I went on a 14 day writing binge where I wrote 14 songs in 14 days. And those nights was the first of those 14 songs. And so it’s the first the 14 the first song I wrote top, the bottom 100% by myself, which is why I decided for it to be the first single of 2021
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 34:28
Yeah, so as you stated before, a black woman in her 30s in Nashville, recording country music. Have you felt that discrimination or have you ever felt isolated in that culture?
Ashlie Amber 34:47
Oh, yeah. People, people comments and very interesting things on social media. And it’s one of those things where I I grew up in a project white neighbourhood. So it’s the same thing. You know, I’ve gone through this my whole life. So it just doesn’t faze me. And I don’t engage in those conversations anymore. If somebody has something negative to say, if it’s really bad, I’ll probably just delete the comment. Or if it’s not that bad, I might even just respond with like, that’s the spirit or like a thumbs up, you know, like, or like a bunch of parts and be like, Oh, thank you. Like you recently somebody said something. I was, like, all thank you so much for listening. Thank you so much for streaming my music, I hope you have a good day. Because regardless or not, whether you like my music, if you take the time to stream it, I still get counted, I get counts on my stream. So thank you. Thank you, I appreciate it. Yeah, yeah. And so that’s just kind of how I am, but I would say is, the community as a whole, overall has been very welcoming. Of course, you have some of the older, you know, the people that have been in the industry for a long time, maybe are set on their ways, who are a bit, you know, sexist, and who, you know, I wouldn’t say maybe to your face are, you know, biassed towards a specific race, but behind closed doors or subconsciously, you know, they definitely are. So you definitely have those people, but it’s, it’s changing so fast, because the world has no choice, what this pandemic has showed us is that the world is hurting, and so many different ways. And because people were at home, and our, our emotions were, you know, heightened, you know, due to that, this, you know, the re spark of the, in your face side of the Black Lives Matters, movement show has really brought a lot of attention on to a lot of different things in the industry. So at this point, they, whether they want to or not, they have no choice but to change. And it’s going to take a lot of us to be successful, it takes more than just me to create change, there’s quite a few black women out in Nashville that are crushing it. And it’s going to take all of us winning, in order for them to see us as valuable commodities. And as business makers as as people who bring in money, they need to see all of us doing that for them to stop seeing colour. And so it starts with me, it starts with you, especially as a woman too. It starts with us, you know, lifting each other up giving each other that platform and just following through and making sure you’re doing it for the right way. Right, right reasons. Yeah.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 37:44
Do you feel the burden of that? Do you feel that your success can possibly make so much change, or such a great change for others, to follow in your footsteps that other black women, you’ve opened the door for them to then enter that that country music or any music?
Ashlie Amber 38:09
I would say I wouldn’t call it a burden. But I know that I have this huge amount of responsibility, yeah, and duty to do it for me and to do it for, you know, my nieces and my nephews, all of my little, you know, tiny cousins. Yes, like, and if I do decide to have, you know, kids one day, I need to do it for them. And to me, it’s not a burden, I see it as a, as a as an honour. Like that I get to be that person that actually creates change. I’m sitting on the right side of history right now. And if things keep progressing, which they will, the way they are, I get the opportunity to not only be a part of history, but to create history. Yeah. And to be one of those people that created a movement and create a change in equality and diversity and you know, being all inclusive. And I mean, that’s a pretty awesome side of history to sit on. If you ask me. Yes. So I’m just honoured and I’m excited. And I’m thankful that I feel like I’ve been chosen to to be a part of this incredible movement that’s happening right now within country music and all around the all over the world. Really.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 39:40
You are such an inspiration and you are a hard worker and you totally deserve everything and all the great things that are coming your way. Was there ever a time though, where it became too much and you thought I can’t do this any longer. And You may not have, you know, it could have been that sliding door moment where you could have shut the door and just walked away and not be where you are now.
Ashlie Amber 40:13
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 40:16
I’m not surprised you. Why am I not surprised?
Ashlie Amber 40:23
I’ve, I’ve never once doubted myself, everything that I said. And everything that I say I’m going to do. Like if I if I 100% be like, Yo, I’m doing this. Yeah, I’m gonna do it. And a lot of the times, I’ll actually tell people that because then it holds me responsible. Yes, it makes me accountable.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 40:45
Except I’m like, yeah,
Ashlie Amber 40:46
I’m like, oh, man, I told so and so that this was gonna happen. So like, I better figure out how to make it happen.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 40:53
So throughout the pandemic, and throughout your experiences over the last however many years that you’ve been performing, if you had to give one piece of advice, to an upping up and coming performer, just one thing that they need to know about, or that would help them in their careers, what would that be,
Ashlie Amber 41:16
I would say, which I kind of already touched on is, as an artist, never sign anything involving your likeness and or your money without having a lawyer look over it first. Because the reality is, is that whoever handed you that contract, it is written for their best interests, not yours. So you want your own lawyer that is not affiliated with anybody who gave you that contract, to look over it that make sure that that that because that lawyer is going to have your best interest shot is probably the most important thing I can say. And in addition to that, this industry is going to tell you that you’re not good enough, every single day, and is up to you to tell them, it’s up to you to tell yourself, I don’t care what you have to say, I am good enough. And I’m going to keep fighting and I’m gonna keep climbing. And I’m gonna keep doing me so good, that you have no choice. But to listen to me. If you do those two things. There’s no way that you cannot not succeed, there’s just no way.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 42:41
As a singer who experienced vocal issues himself, Chris Johnson had a solid understanding of today’s industry demands. In Episode 15. He discusses how it is possible for a vocalist to have a sustainable career while maintaining their unique signature sound. He believes that our singing teaching community has a responsibility to help those professional career singers by offering strategies that focus on their individual needs, which in turn, will improve learning outcomes. Music management’s can also be more sensitive to the needs of those singers who have a demanding professional career. I began by asking Chris about Adele’s story.
Chris Johnson 43:33
I think it’s an interesting point. And I have thought a fair bit about this. There was there was a time when everyone was talking about Adele, for example, and how Adele worked with some classical teachers. Before and there was a there was a news article, I think it was in the guardian of the UK newspapers, where, where there was a couple of classical teachers who would say what they would do with Adele. And to be fair, it was interesting. I mean, on some level, it was maybe a little bit, you know, overconfident to say that, that is that Adele should learn classical technique. That’s how she would get a better voice. I don’t believe that at all. But I think there can be somewhat of a skewed view that classical solves things because if you take Adele, and you times her with classical technique, her identity is so strong. Yes. That I don’t think the classical technique would unpick her. I think it could, it could integrate itself into her because her identity won’t let that classical technique change her too much. She’s too strong for that. And that’s, that’s the best part about it. However, somebody who’s not got as strong an identity they may not even be professional, and they want to sing pop music. If they go into classical singing, they often end up sound Far too classical for their CCM style, or to me, that’s the identity strength.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 45:06
Yes, yes. And when that whole situation happened with a Dell, I was actually horrified to read a lot of the commentary that was posted in the forums on Facebook, about why it happened and shaming CCM singers like as a CCM singer, myself, and I had a 35 year career. It was I couldn’t believe we were still having these discussions. You know, it never ceases to amaze me. But yeah, I mean, all this high art low art mentality almost started to reemerge in a more public place. And with the Dell, you can’t separate the the style. I mean, the style is what it is. But also, what about the touring schedule? And what about the demands of that touring schedule? Like, is that something when you have these professional performance come to you? Do you look at all of that as well as, okay, this is going on with the voice?
Chris Johnson 46:22
Yeah, Yeah, I do. All those considerations help us to form as well, part of what we do is I can’t overload someone with training, you know, I can’t say, hey, you have to practice for an hour a day. I know that would burn someone out, right? What we need to do is trying to incorporate something that is highly effective in the shortest amount of time. And that doesn’t mean it’s a stat doesn’t mean it’s a quick fix, I guess you could call it that. Because it’s quick, and it helps to, you know, work something out, but not in the traditional sense. Because what it needs to be is in a voice load of that size, you don’t want to be loading it more, you want to be trying to offset some of that load. So your voice breaks come into come into use. Yep. And and how can you get to that person’s most primary function in the shortest amount of time in a day, and then they can incorporate something that that can set them up within 15 minutes, or 20 minutes. And especially if they’ve got a show, you know, you know, it’s like, I know a lot of singers out there would say, I’m not really warmed up until I sing, or rather warm up for an hour before I do a show. A lot of pro singers could never do that. Never warm up for an hour and sing two hours after talking for five hours, it would just never happen. So if we’re one of those people who need to warm up for an hour before a show, arguably, where we don’t know our voices well enough. At that point. We’re still getting around problems that we don’t understand. I think as we know our voices well enough better, we can get warm. If it’s not just waking up at a bed, we can get warm within 1015 minutes. Yes. And if lifestyle if lifestyle is really getting in the way?
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 48:11
Yes, yes. And lifestyle is a big one. Like for me, I was touring in a rock band. And it was the only time that I ran into problems with my voice. And it had nothing to do with misuse. It was just the demands of being on the road being the chick singer in the band, having to lug with the guys when we couldn’t afford roadies, the band bus picking us up very early in the morning. So it was sleep deprivation, lifestyle diet, being in a rock band, it was all of that. And I had the training to support my voice, but I couldn’t overcome everything else that was going on around me. Yeah. So have you ever had to tell someone that? Okay, you need to take a break? Or have you always been able to help a singer in some way?
Chris Johnson 49:10
Um, very infrequently, if I had to tell someone to take a break. Yeah, very infrequently. Although with some singers, especially when the stakes have been high. You know, it’s easy when someone isn’t professional but provided their job isn’t really making putting demands on them in their in their week, nine to five or whatever. I have had a couple of people where I’ve had to speak to their managers to help their managers understand that this is a pressured environment. And the voice is a delicate thing and and much much like you know, the body and muscle if you break muscle down, it builds itself back up again, stronger, much like use you cut skin. There’ll be a scar to reinforce the area. That That sounds like such great stuff. But as soon as you start talking vocal folds, yes, they rely on the actually up, they don’t need that kind of strengthening. They don’t need to be like beaten down to be built back up again. So when when managers I think think about singers when they don’t know enough about singers, they think about singers just like they think about weightlifters. And don’t worry, I’ll tell you what, you’ll be stronger if you push through it. And it’s just not true. Yeah, we know that the vocal folds, if they get scarred, yes, it will make them stronger against further injury, but to get the beauty and all of the colour that’s available within the voice, they cannot be in, they cannot get scarred and be better.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 50:41
Yes, unfortunately, a lot of managers look at singers as commodities. In my situation, I was told when I tried to resign from the band, that I would never work again, unless I stayed and fulfilled all the commitments. So I had to keep singing with the pathology. And that was rough. And it took me almost a year to recover from that experience. Yeah. And I was a single mom at the time, and I needed the money, and I couldn’t afford not to work. And I was bullied. And I believed that that was the case. So I’m sure that a lot of that happens.
Chris Johnson 51:20
Oh, it does. It does. I know, I do know an artist of you know, like, right on the top level, who has described that same thing, you know, being being coerced when feeling terrible to go and do a thing because you’ve had a loan from a record company, you have to pay it back? Yes. It’s like being it’s like being under under a loan sharks control after time. Yeah. So getting to do that sustained of vocal injury that meant that an album could not be taught. And guess what? record company and managers, you lost a lot of money there. And that was your decision? Yes. So I really hope any, if any, if any managers listen to this, oh, you have sometimes you just have no idea what kind of what kind of catastrophe you could be making someone pushing someone into by making them do something.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 52:20
In Episode 13, Dr. Elizabeth Benson shared her core values, inspiration for her book and her personal mission for social justice and reform in the voice community in areas such as gender equality, equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Here, we listened to her speak about some of the areas of reform our voice community must address in order to create a safe space for those who seek instruction in the private voice studio and in higher education institutions. I asked Elizabeth, what was her inspiration for embarking on her journey for social justice?
Dr Elizabeth Benson 53:05
I wanted to look at sort of creating a new research agenda for myself. Whereas, you know, I felt I had contributed significantly in the area of CCM boys pedagogy, I was really proud of that work, I wanted to see where my work could have a larger impact. And so I have a couple of research projects in the pipeline, couple of which I can tell you about. But all of my all of my research right now is collaborative working with with folks in other genres or in other disciplines or in other countries are all of the above. That’s really important to me, also, looking at issues of social justice, different different focus points, but I’m really interested in the intimacy direction training that has really come up in theatre, and around issues of consent and safety and communication. And I felt that there were some really interesting applications of those philosophies and voice training in the one to one teaching model of voice training in universities. So I’ve just completed the first stage of a collaborative research project on emotional safety in the voice studio with with two psychologists and three voice teachers. And so we are presenting some of that for the voice foundation coming up. Yes, some really interesting preliminary research. And that’s a mixed method study. It’s qualitative and quantitative. And we’re looking at revising the study. And then we’re going to try again for a larger pool of responses. But it’s had some pretty interesting preliminary data, there really isn’t a lot of information about what the student experiences and one to one training in the United States, right. So there are a number of angles that really do need some research. So that’s the first one, another one that I’m looking at now in In collaboration with you, Marissa, and with Tunis, Robinson, Martin at Princeton is around, really practising equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging in the voice studio, and what that looks like. So we, we have a presentation coming up for the Association for popular music education. And we’re going to be talking about what the voice teacher can do as an individual to make changes toward a more ethnically and racially just voice studio, and what what that looks like. Because we know that, you know, folks who are teaching within the university, often there in classical music departments, especially in the United States, there is a sort of European hierarchy and euro centric model in place, the system is restrictive, and in some cases, very limiting. And it feels impossible to expand our thinking and to embrace a multitude of genres because the system isn’t designed to do that. So what we wanted to do is sort of create some steps that could empower the individual teacher in the voice studio, to make sure that the atmosphere they’re creating and curating for their students was as inclusive as could be, especially in light of our increased cultural awareness of anti racist practices, white fragility, some of the, you know, tremendous publications that have come to the forefront of American culture in the last year, looking at what does that mean, in the voice studio? How does that translate? So we’ve just finished writing a writing an article about it, and submitting it to a journal for publication. So we’re in the process now of trying to get that out. We and it’s been, you know, incredible to work with, you know, those two powerhouse women. And likewise,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 56:55
it’s been a real privilege and a real joy. And I mean, really, the idea for this paper came about just you and I having a conversation about the status quo in music education, while singing voice education. And we actually did it like we’ve actually done something about it, not just about it. And it’s been incredible. As I said, sometimes I don’t understand, I don’t know the words that Elizabeth uses. She is an incredible writer, you are, you’re just so articulate, and you write so beautifully. It’s been a real joy and a real learning journey. And I’ve learned so much, because Australia and the US are at different stages of progress, like we’re actually doing quite well here in comparison to the US in terms of where the music is, here in our in higher education. Like for me, I teach in a popular music programme at a Conservatorium. And some of those kids come to me with no training, right, which is unheard of and, but it’s based on potential, like, what’s their future? potential, like it, you know, as performers as recording artists, so and then listening to trainees and what she has brought to the table has certainly been very eye opening for me, but it’s been an incredible journey. Both of us have learnt a lot, haven’t we?
Dr Elizabeth Benson 58:38
Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. Working with trainees enriched everything, exponentially. Yes, yeah.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 58:44
Yep. So are there any other things that you’re working on? I think that sounds like it’s a lot anyway.
Dr Elizabeth Benson 58:54
Well, I have one other one other project in the works with with some amazing collaborators on equity, faculty equity, with a sort of coming out of some conversations we had about gender equity, and that in our in our larger conversations, which are absolutely overdue and essential on how do we solve sort of systemic racism within university systems? That also, you know, as a woman, I was a little, I was a little concerned with gender equity, kind of falling by the wayside, that this was also something that we have not reached parity. We may have representation, we may have women working in the universities, but are they getting paid the same as their male counterparts? We don’t actually know. Because there’s no information. No. So some colleagues and I felt that this was an area that we wanted to look into a little bit more, that as we are having these incredibly important conversations about racial justice, that we also make sure that you know, all the components of justice are intact. fluted here. And so so like I said, my, you know, my entire agenda now sort of revolves around things that I see that I don’t feel are right. And I would like to see them change. And so, so it’s a real sort of social justice agenda.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:00:15
Yeah. So it sounds like you’ve become a real Trailblazer?
Dr Elizabeth Benson 1:00:21
Well, I hope so I guess my you know, my goal is to contribute in a way that is meaningful. And I know that there’s a certain amount of risk in putting myself out there and and expressing opinions loudly. But I feel that that is essential for any kind of meaningful contribution. Yeah. So that’s the way my mother raised me. So if you’re here I am.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:00:52
In Episode Four, Donna Cameron, a registered psychologist dives deep into what stress and anxiety are the physical, mental, and emotional changes that occur in our bodies, and how our community and health system deals with these issues. Currently, Donna shares a number of strategies for overcoming and managing these issues. As a voice community, not only do we have to be our best selves, when we show up for work every day, but so many of those we serve are suffering from these silent illnesses. I begin by asking Donna, what are some practical tools we can use in our teaching studios and beyond? When we feel someone we know is struggling? It’s the giving advice part. So when a kid or anyone comes to you with a problem, we put on our hat, and we kind of think, oh, I’ve got a duty now to fix this problem.
Donna Cameron 1:01:55
Yeah, but that’s us talking on this head level. And you’ve got that child in there. For what? So half an hour, 45 minutes or an hour? like half an hour or an hour? Yeah, yep. And then they go off. And you now don’t see them potentially for what another week? Yeah, exactly. So if you’ve tried to in your limited time that you’ve got anyway, where you know, you’ve got to also get through all of these things. Because you know, the parents potentially going to go How was your lesson today? And what did you do? And we try and problem solve, then that’s not going to potentially fix the problem, because you don’t have enough time. And then you’re not going to know if it did fix the problem. And that’s the stuff you guys take home. So you take home now. Now, what did I tell them? Did I help them enough? And how are they do I need to check in? And so you’ve taken that problem on yourself? Yeah, what we need to understand is, a lot of times when people are struggling, they’re not ready or even want problem solving. And this is, again, kind of separating the two hubs of the head and the problem solving and this emotional help. If you guys can just notice that a student is just in a little bit of pain. And if you can just let them talk and validate their emotions in that moment. And that’s as simple as just going. Yeah, that sounds really crappy. I can see that that really would make you angry. Oh, yeah, that’s a really horrible situation for you to be going through. Like, that would make me sad as well. I can see why you’re sad. Is there anything? What can we do for sad today? Like, do we sing a sad song? Or do we do something like about that emotion today? If that kid’s really angry, let’s do something really angry. Let’s scream it out. Blah, blah, blah. If you guys can do that, then what should happen as well, as you will see, the kids will release some of their emotion in that half an hour, when they leave, they’ll be a bit more positive. Yeah. And you guys then shouldn’t take it on board so much, because first of all, you feel like you’ve helped. And second of all, you’ve understood your limitations. Yes, you’re not then going home, and it’s not running through your head all night?
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:03:51
Yeah, no, that’s great advice. Because we’re told that we should not talk to the student about their problems, we’re told that, that we need to report their problems to a school counsellor, all of those things, we have a duty of care. So you as someone that’s in that that medical field, you’re saying it’s okay, to a certain point to acknowledge what’s going on. Don’t take it on board, but just by using song to release a little bit of what’s going on. That’s fantastic advice. That’s fantastic. So for the rest of us, and I’ll just that quickly,
Donna Cameron 1:04:35
for you guys afterwards, as well. Then if something has hit a nerve in you, again, you release that emotion on your way home as well. So then if that means you need to have a bit of a teary moment about this whole kid going through something or that’s triggered you about something from your childhood, or you’re really pissed off at the frickin system for this allowing to happen. Yeah, and you do it as well. You scream and yell and put some music on and like get it out as well. That will then mean you can go home and kind of take that head off and then release it. So yeah, we’ve got to teach them how to release it. But then you’ve got to do it.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:05:08
Yeah. So for the rest of us, because there are a lot of teachers that have really struggled, a lot of teachers have lost their jobs, a lot of them haven’t had that interaction with their students that will they didn’t have that interaction for so many months. And we’re teaching online. I mean, the whole world changed. And we were impacted, as was everybody. What are some strategies that you would recommend for our teaching community to help them feel back to themselves again, like what are some great stress releases, things that you would advise for helping with anxiety,
Donna Cameron 1:05:49
that, so basically, we break it into almost three things that are a little emotional hub needs to be able to release? The first one is pretty self explanatory, and it’s that physical release, okay. I call it a physical outlet, because a lot of people I meet seem to be allergic to the word exercise. So I,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:06:09
I’m hearing you I call it movement. Oh, well, there
Donna Cameron 1:06:12
we go. Yeah, there’s a lot of these allergies out there. So we’ve got to be careful about
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:06:16
that. And allergen
Donna Cameron 1:06:19
theology. So that’s your physical outlet. So you have to do something and it purely and it’s not for endorphins, or blah, blah, blah, it purely is stuffs happened in your working week in or even just in life generally, and it needs to be exerted out. So what goes in has to come out, right, that’s Yeah, the first, for most people, I really think you do need at least got sort of three times a week, it could be even just, you know, 15 minutes to half an hour. But it has to be something physical, and stress cuts really selfish. It can’t be that walk to the supermarket, or because that’s going to the supermarket,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:06:53
or get the TV remote.
Donna Cameron 1:06:55
Yeah, that doesn’t. That’s a long way away 1515 minute walk for a TV or if you count it, yeah, just as my status got up to those levels. So that’s a no brainer, I live my life very much that I know we just a normal week, how much I need for my outlets. And that is pretty much it’s four times a week of doing something physical. That’s normal stuff, right? That’s just work, kids, relationships, all of that fun stuff that we love, but it causes us just generalised stress. If a bigger event pops into my world, then I increase that. So I’ll always do something then daily, but I’ll reduce the intensity. So if I usually run all know now that I’m going through a bit of a biggest stressor, so I’m not going to run because that might bear me out more. So but I’ll walk and I’ll do that then every day until that stressor passes. So it’s really trying to keep yourself in reserves to be able to cope in the big things pop in. So that’s kind of item number one. The second thing everyone needs to be doing is that downtime. So this is what we call kind of like our battery charging time. So you can even do you know, sometimes during the week on flat out as well. And a lot of unity, this is what we do, right? If you’re busy during the week, you don’t have a lot of time to yourself. So that might just be you know, a longer shower on those nights, just a hot shower, I turn off the lights, I put some oils on the wall creates like a big steam room and I just kind of sit in it, I sit against the wall, and close my eyes. And just that’s my downtime, you know, during the week, because I don’t have time for anything else. Yeah, it might be watching an episode of you know, something on TV, but don’t have your phone with you and don’t be doing work as well. So it’s one activity. At the moment, the shower is really cool, because so far, it’s really still not a great idea to take your iPhones into the shower. So that’s kind of like one of the only spots that we kind of, especially as ones are a bit addicted to it, that we have to go without it for that 1520 minutes or whatever. And then the third one we almost touched on a little bit before but this is the one that everyone stuffs up and doesn’t do properly, is our own emotional regulation. So if something upsets us during the day, even this COVID stuff, if you’re sitting there and you’re talking to your colleagues and you know you were really angry about having to teach online, then don’t problem solve it because we couldn’t do anything about it. You’re allowed to dis validate, I’ve got the right to be you know, angry about that. If someone pisses you off in the middle of the shops, and when you’re leaving, you just want to have that little like, oh, they’re an idiot moment. Like it just it’s got to be released out. Yeah, if something makes you sad, allow yourself You don’t even have to cry. Just allow yourself to kind of drop your shoulders and just go here that really upset me and that’s okay. So it’s that validation of the emotions before you then jump to the problem solving.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:09:46
Yeah, because in those moments, we feel that we have to brush those feelings aside. We don’t take that moment to validate or acknowledge how we’re feeling. We feel that You know, it’s weak to do that, that we have to, or no toughen up. No, you can’t feel that.
Donna Cameron 1:10:07
And I think again, it’s no fault of sort of even a lot of our, our parents, and if you’ve got people listening or parents themselves, I can guarantee you, they’re saying the same things. I can do this all day. And when I get home, if one of my kids runs in with a problem, I’ll probably revert almost to the script. I’ve learned more so than the psych brain that I’m talking to you guys until I hear it. And we are taught that so we’ve all got those memories of coming home from school after something yucky happening with our friend, and yeah, we’ll be friends with them again tomorrow. But in that moment, we don’t know that. And we’re only seven. And our parents would lovingly say to us, I don’t worry about that. Now, Honey, come here, like, it’s okay. Like, you’re home. Now, don’t stress about that. Let’s go and do something fun. So it was always that distraction. I remember the first one of the first funerals I had to go to, and the instructions again, from a loving place from my mom was Now remember, you’ve got to be brave. Remember, you know, so we get these messages of hold on or, or it’s over. Now. It’s over. Yeah. So it’s kind of not acknowledging those emotions. Yeah. And even if you guys think about it, if I ring you, and I’m your mate, and I’m like, oh, gosh, I’ve had a really crappy day today. I can promise that you’ll say to me, I don’t know why, why what happened? You won’t say to me, really? How are you feeling? And this is such would be a big shift. If we could just say, How are you feeling? And what do you need to do about that feeling? I’m feeling really pissed off about this person. Well, what do you want to do? Do you need to vent about event? I don’t care, I vent, scream, yell? Or do you want me to come over and we’ll go for a walk or you can box it out on the gloves? Like what do you want to do for anger? A simple thing. Very busy. And we’re just forgetting those simple things. So in your community as well, you guys have all got the understanding? Because you did all go through it together. Right? It was there was no issue. You all had to work from home, you all had to do the zoom sessions. You’ve got that shared experience. Yes. So I think it’s using that community to vent when you need to take turns in it ring someone and say I’m having just a really hard day. Can I just go blah, blah, blah, blah, and everyone kind of listening and going do you need me to help you with that? And if this person goes No, I just need to vent going. Okay, go for it. You’ve got these symptoms are breaking through, that’s completely normal. Just get these strategies back on track and I promise you they’ll reduce down your head will open up again, you know, you won’t feel like you’re going crazy or that you’ve got dementia.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:12:45
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 of 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 podcast 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.