Answer to a Belter’s Prayer
Barbra Streisand was my voice teacher. Well… not literally.
Back then it was ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’ - now it’s ‘Defying Gravity’; the belter’s dream. Sing along, and belt your heart out.
Even after having done a featured role on Broadway (at 14 – without a mic) and studying with the singing teachers ‘to the stars’, belting that D (today’s version – F, G…) eluded me – it wasn’t consistent or reliable. Teachers would tell me that I had a great instrument and offered some tips and exercises, but there was nothing substantive or specific – nothing that had a ‘cause and effect’ result. Just more scales.
Enter Ron Clairmont. Within 7 minutes of my first lesson I had more specific feedback and information than I knew what to do with; observations about my tight tongue, my neck tension, my elevated larynx. My elevated …WHAT?
“Do you mean I can work on individual anatomical parts to improve my singing? There is something that I can DO to make specific changes in my voice?”
That was the moment that changed my life - the moment of ecstatic relief that singing was not just ‘magic’. That meant I could DO something; that I might have some control, some input regarding my ‘talent’. Then I can learn to do it BETTER, then I can FIX what I don’t like!!
Fast forward a few dream roles in regional theatres, some television roles and 1st National Tour of Les Miserables, to an Off-Bwy show that ran longer than anyone had anticipated; hence the need for additional income. With Ron’s blessing I began to teach, and from then on life was not the same. Fulfillment. The exchange between teacher and student was deeply satisfying and in many ways more thrilling than being on stage. Ultimately there was no contest.
Thus began the journey into studies of anatomy-based vocal pedagogy and vocal health. Hundreds of hours of workshops, courses, internships in medical offices – specialized training that had begun with Ron. The rest, as they say, is history.
And back to the Streisand thread – When I eventually booked the coveted role of Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, I worked on the material with Ron before rehearsals began, of course. At some point during tech week between the 10 songs and 18 costume changes, a startling moment of awareness came; it occurred to me that through the entire Funny Girl experience, I never once worried about my voice.
I remember the shiver that went up my spine; this is what I want to give to others.
That is my story.
2018 -Vocal Massage and Self Care – Christine Schneider, Lifelight Massage
2018 – Audition Workshop – Kimberly Vaughn, Kimberly Vaughn Performance Studio
2018 – Alexander Technique Workshop – Michael Ostrow, NY Center for the Alexander Technique
- Belting Workshop/Seminar: De-Mystifying Belt and Super-Belt
- Musical Theatre Audition/Performance Technique Workshop
- Sheri Sanders: Rock-the Audition! for Musical Theatre Performers
- Melissa Cross: The Zen of Screaming (for teachers and students)
- Cold Reading Workshop
- Acting Intensive
- Industry Panels/Mock Auditions
Many of these techniques can be taught and worked on during private lessons when schedules don’t permit group classes. Semi-private and small group lessons can be arranged accordingly. Ask me!