When we are being pulled in new directions, it is easy to let our self-care regimes fall apart, even in this month of New Year’s Resolutions.

I am pulled in the direction of collecting the final edits to the new Certification Manual, 5.0, from our EVT Certification Advisory Board reviewers.  Watch for a February announcement in an E-Update and on the website!

Speaking of which, I am also pulled to assist in editing and refining the text that will appear in our new website design. Very exciting!

What else is pulling me? The manuscript for the Estill Etudes, a book of exercises from my EMCI colleague Alejandro Saorin Martinez. Some of you were introduced to these exercises at the Estill World Voice Symposium in Quebec City last August and in the Estill Summit meeting in Italy earlier this month.  Page by page, Ale and I are pulling this project together.

Pulled, pulled, pulled indeed! Spring releases and launches!

The Estill Siren is an excellent barometer of vocal healthHowever busy or stressed I may be, I always start my day with an Estill Siren. A small dose of focused, deliberate practice really does go a long way. My Siren connects my body and brain and brings me to my vocal “all systems go” for the day ahead. I call the Estill Siren my Vocal Barometer: an exercise that forecasts the weather in the day ahead, be it fair or foul. If I encounter anything more bothersome than a bit of catarrh along my Vocal Barometer’s procedural pathway, I take time to do other exercises that I have found to be effective in working out the effects of allergies or illness on my voice.

A great reason to practice the Estill Siren every day, right?  But why did I use that strange word, ‘catarrh’? Because I am about to send you to a YouTube clip for inspiration to make time for your Estill Siren practice, of course! Can you guess? Encouraging you to take good care of your voice in youth and age would be another hint.

I have been practicing the Estill Siren for 27 years now.  I didn’t have the pitch range I have now 27 years ago! I’ve added an octave to my range as I’ve grown older. Wait! That sounds wrong, right? My experience relates to an old sports adage: “Don’t play harder – play smarter!” My pitch range has increased because I have taken the time to make time to pull my larynx in smarter directions.  This is, of course, the message of Estill Voice Training in a nutshell: work smarter, not harder.

And as for catarrh? It is synonym for phlegm. Since I have cataracts to go with my catarrh, I sometimes hear Irene Ryan singing in my head. You can, too, in the song below:

Irene’s performance is more than humorous, it is inspirational.  We should all make the most of the practice time we’re given! I will share more about my morning routine and Vocal Barometer principles in my next E-News article. Maybe I will call it: Mary’s Siren Secrets Revealed!

And, yes, this is absolutely a teaser for the North American Summit in Las Vegas on June 25 & 26. Time to make time in your calendars for that, too!