Welcome to the Think Voice Blog
By Kimberly McInnis
I’d like to be the first (or third) to welcome you to the brand new EstillVoice.com! It’s been wonderful to see this website evolve over the past year, and we’re thrilled to finally be able to share it with you. I’m especially happy to see that you’ve found your way to the Think Voice Blog!
Some of you may already know me from courses or Estill World Voice Symposiums. I’ve also been the helper elf in your email inbox when you had a question about certification or lost your Voiceprint software key. Sometimes I call myself an “Estill Voice whisperer”, since I mostly work behind the scenes. Now I’m breaking into another role as the editor of the Think Voice Blog, an online publication and place for the EVT Community to read articles, trade tips, and share stories.
To kick things off, I’d like share a bit of my own story – how I came to find Estill Voice Training, and why I believe so strongly in this community.
Life as an “Artistpreneur”
If you’re a performer, teacher, or therapist (or all of the above), you know life can be busy, busy, busy! Beyond your time onstage and service hours you spend with your clients, there’s rehearsals, event planning, lesson preparation, accounting, endless emails…
When I discovered Estill Voice Training, I was fresh out of college. I hung my precious Bachelor of Music degree on my bedroom wall so I’d see it first thing every morning when I woke up. I was determined to work in my field. I set a strict daily schedule of writing and arranging to keep my skills sharp. I had a band that rehearsed 3hrs twice a week. While my friends hit up happy hour, I taught beginner voice and piano, or volunteered in community music theatre groups. On the weekends, I played every bar gig I could get, sometimes driving 4hrs to make $150 – split with my four bandmates, or stashed away to cover recording costs. Often, I performed for free food or “exposure”. For the first couple years, I also worked part time at a 24hr fitness club to make ends meet. Looking back on it now, I’m not sure how I did it. Lots of coffee, I guess.
I knew becoming a successful artistpreneur would require long, odd hours and lots of work. I accepted that reality when I fully committed to pursuing music at fourteen years old.
But I wasn’t prepared for how lonely it would be.
Voice Geeks Unite
Curiosity, a desire to help my young students, and frustration with limitations in my own singing led me to seek out Estill Voice Training shortly after graduation. My college friends were planning a trip to Disney World, and my parents offered to pay for my plane ticket so I could celebrate with them. I replied that I wasn’t interested in taking a vacation, but I did hear about this voice training course…
My first Level One and Two course took place in Saint-Augustin, near Quebec City, Canada in 2011. It was also my first experience traveling alone. My discount train trip had three connections and totaled over sixteen hours long. My dorm room was modest and muggy in the summer heat. The people around me spoke primarily in French, too quickly for me to keep up. The lectures were riveting but long, and the material was challenging. I spent the first two evenings after class isolated in my room, poring over the workbook and Googling terms I didn’t understand. For a moment, I wished I had chosen Disney World.
Everything changed on the third day. It was my turn to sing in front of the class for open coaching, to work through a personal vocal challenge and see the power of the EVT Figures in application. I chose to share one of my original songs; a song I hadn’t yet had to confidence to perform publicly, due to intimidating leaps in range between lines. In twelve short minutes, with the course instructor’s prompts and lots of encouragement from the class, I discovered what it felt like to really “belt”. I was astonished that a sound so strong could come out of my body. Then, most surprising of all, the whole class stood up and belted along with me. I heard the words of my song coming from the crowd, soaring back and blending with my own voice, the way I imagined when I wrote it in my kitchen. Their faces beamed back at me. Suddenly, we all felt like friends.
Flash forward seven years, to today. I have now attended nineteen courses and three Estill World Voice Symposiums, visiting four countries on three continents. Estill Voice Training invigorated my practice habits, revolutionized my performance abilities, and gave me a true passion for helping others discover and develop their voices. Above and beyond all this, I found my tribe. Through EVT, I’ve been blessed to meet a multitude of beautiful humans, many of whom have become my mentors, colleagues, musical collaborators, and best friends. And thanks to the power of the Internet, we can all keep in touch, growing closer as the EVT Community grows larger.
Connect, Converse, and Conspire
That’s my mission with the Think Voice Blog. Every two weeks, the blog will feature stories from Estill trainers, instructors, performers, and practitioners. These stories will focus on people’s unique experiences, to showcase the voices and personalities within the EVT Community, and to encourage connections.
Do you have an idea for a great blog post? Send it our way! You do not need to be certified in order to submit a blog post. All submissions will be subject to editorial review and approval, then added to a queue for publication on bi-weekly Think Voice Thursdays.
To send in your blog submission, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Spread the word and share your voice!
About the Author
Kimberly McInnis is a singer, songwriter, and music producer living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a dueling piano entertainer at Howl at the Moon nightclub and creates original music as Kim Maverick. She also serves as Support Specialist for Estill Voice International and is the editor of the Think Voice Blog.