The Newsletter
 June 1st, 2009                                                                  Find your natural dynamic speaking voice and maintain it!
Vocal Tip of the Month!

Being Perseverant and Letting the Ego Go!

The voice is intricate and works in mysterious ways.  For my vocal tip this month, I want to encourage you to continue educating yourself about the voice this summer and try different approaches to find and maintain your natural dynamic speaking or singing voice.  Surf the net, take a couple private lessons with a vocal coach or join a choir or a band.  Practice, practice, practice and have fun with it!  There is a lot out there to help you achieve the goal of beautifying your voice.  It is important to keep working at it with an open mind.  What works for me might not always work for you and what works for you might not always work for somebody else.  Be perseverant.  Whatever happens, discovering by trial and error is always a good way to learn when it comes to the voice.  However, be kind to yourself with that approach.  It takes a lot of inner strength to step on the ego and accept the voice as imperfect at times.  The voice is very personal and for some reason, people feel legitimate in criticizing it more openly than they would other instruments.  That is wrong and it creates a fear of expression that is paralyzing in different degrees, whether consciously or not.  To overcome this factor, one has to stop caring about making mistakes and what other people might think of them and just go with the flow.  Be yourself and do the best you can.  Listen and feel your voice to know what is right for you.  Be resilient.  Trust your intuition to find the path to vocal satisfaction.

"Our greatest glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

Interesting Facts

The Ego

According to Freud*, the ego is that little voice in your head that argues with the id (what you want) and the superego (moral) to decide what's best for yourself.  The ego is tricky and powerful.  Beware: it doesn't always succeed in establishing balance… and that can be very compromising!  Before you know it, the ego can turn you into a selfish being, an arrogant man, a self-absorbed individual, or in a completely different game, take away your self-esteem with feelings of insecurity and inferiority. It keeps you from bettering yourself, taking risks, getting ahead in life and ultimately, being happy.  Between the needs and desires and the beliefs for what is right and wrong, the ego has to find intellectual and emotional equilibrium.  That is a healthy ego!  Self-confidence is important and lovable.  In her new song, Beyoncé sings:

Usually I'm humble, right now I don't choose
Some call it arrogant, I call it confident
I've got a big ego, such a huge ego
But he loves my big ego, it's too much
I walk like this 'cause I can back it up*

 Focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses to embrace the ego and bring it to the forefront of the conscious mind.  Keep it under control.  Keep it positive and fun!  

*Sigmund Freud. The Ego and the Id. W. W. Norton & Company.  New York.  London.  
*Ego is written by Knowles, Beyoncé Gisselle; Lilly, Harold; Williams, Elvis

What's Happening?
Summer is Just Around the Corner!

Yay!  But first the report cards: you can do it!  Just one more sprint before the finish line and the race is over.  There are so many things I want to accomplish this summer, finish my book, record my songs, take a summer class, paint, travel; I cannot wait!  Did you start making plans yet?

Voice Yourself in The Classroom is taking a break for the summer.  I do have homework for you though:  Rest, have fun and come back fresh!  Have a wonderful summer, everyone!
Relevant Links

Voice Yourself in the Classroom

Valerie Bastien

The Voice Connection
Inspiring Quotes and Stories...
A Rare Find...

I want to share this story that happened to me recently.  I was taking a walk in St. James Park (downtown Toronto) a few days ago reflecting about the ups and down of my current life and wondering if I will ever find what I have been looking for.  Honestly, I was feeling a little lonely.  I have been reading a book called Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl: a holocaust survivor.  He talks a lot about inner freedom to make decisions—the one thing nobody can take away from you and so I decided that I can't let things get to me.

I arrive at the fountain.  I sit down to admire the reflection of the lights in the water (it was a little dark).  It's beautiful but unsatisfied; I feel the urge to move.  I get up and I start walking around.  Despite the black of the night, I spot something in the water.  Wow!  It's a bouquet of flowers.  Pretty purple and yellow flowers!  Curious, I pick them up...  Images of a kneeling man asking for forgiveness, flowers in hand appear in my mind followed by the angry girlfriend throwing out the poor flowers!  They were abandoned and I don't have the heart to let them die alone.  I pick them up and start walking.  I hold on to them like a crucifix (Leonard Cohen).

On my way back to my place, the bodyguard of a gentleman's club shouts at me: "Put those flowers in water fast!"  I smile back at him.  I keep walking, smelling the flowers from time to time: a delicate but refreshing perfume is comforting.  Closer to my final destination, another man tells me, "Those flowers are beautiful!"  I agree.

I walk into my home where my workers are fixing my house.  I'm not sure if I can find a vase for my flowers.  I tell my friends how I found the bouquet.  "It's destiny!" one of them says.  He leaves to make a better effort at finding a pot for the precious find.  He comes back with an empty container now filled with water.  Perfect!  I unwrap the flowers and proudly give the bouquet a home on the living room's mantel for everyone to see.

I feel joy.  Everybody standing in the living room is happy for me too!  What nobody knows is that I secretly believe I am those flowers.  They called me to pick them up so I keep faith that I, too, will soon find a home.  That made my day!
Things to Note
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Have a wonderful month!

-Valerie Bastien