Are you “of a certain age” and have you wondered,
“Is it too late for me to get my singing voice back?”
Did you “used to sing” and want to get your voice back?
Do you want to learn how to sing, perhaps for the first time in your life?
Have you put your kids, and maybe grandkids, through music lessons (which they may or may not have appreciated) and now you’re ready to follow your own dreams and work on your voice, like you’ve always wanted to?
Maybe you don’t sing. Maybe you speak a lot, for work or for other applications, and are worried about keeping your voice as you grow older?
Do you speak frequently, rather than sing – for work, as a keynote, as a teacher, a salesperson, a preacher, a trainer, or other role, or perhaps you’re simply very expressive – and find your voice increasingly fading?
Do you have to speak a lot in a very noisy environment and you find yourself needing to yell frequently to be heard?
Does your throat hurt the longer you speak?
Has your speaking becoming more painful over time?
Do people frequently ask you, “What did you say?” and tell you they can hardly hear you?
How would it feel…
- to get your voice back?
- to make it better than ever?
- to sing into and throughout the mature years of your life – these years when you know you have the most life, love, and experience to give and express through song?
- to protect, nurture, and even grow your speaking voice, so that it works for you rather than against you?
- to realize those vocal goals and aspirations you’ve had for years, but which have been on the back burner?
- AND to know exactly how to accomplish all of those goals, dreams, and aspirations:
- to identify the vocal areas on which you need to focus?
- to have a plan for improving your voice that you know how to follow?
- to know what you need to do on a daily basis that will help you regain the strength, suppleness, health, and expression of your voice?
How would that feel?
From: Natalie Eastman, Owner of A Higher Note LLC Voice Studio
To: You, IF you are over the age of 40 and want to develop your singing voice so you can “Sing Again!”, sing with abandon, and/or sing with the level of self-respect and proficiency you’ve always wanted.
To: You, IF you are over the age of 40 and want to protect, nurture, and grow your speaking voice, so that you remain solidly vocal, able to speak/train/preach/communicate for long periods of time, confident that your voice will be there for you.
Have you been feeling…
- Embarrassed to sing out in your worship setting? at home? around the campfire? or even in your car if others are around?
- Perplexed because your speaking voice is getting weaker by the year and you feel you have to really push air to get any volume?
- Frustrated with the loss of your former singing range, but can’t seem to gain back that lost ground?
- Self-conscious because the last time you gave a speech, your voice gave out completely?
- Saddened because you used to sing regularly and joyfully, and perhaps even performed professionally or semi-professionally, but time and life circumstances have stolen those opportunities, so your voice has felt like it’s decaying? Maybe your voice sounds hoarse a lot; maybe you’ve developed a warble; or you’ve experienced a loss of power or breath control?
- Impeded because your life’s experiences and adventures have drawn you toward expressing yourself through writing songs or poems you feel should be songs – or perhaps speaking opportunities you’re burning to jump into through which you can share your life wisdom or a profound skill you have that would help others – but you feel your voice is not up to par or would give out on you?
- Afraid, because you heard your aging mom or dad’s speaking voice fade over time after they entered their golden years until it was whisper-like, and you worry that it could happen to your voice, too.
- Or it could be that you’ve simply given up because you think, “This ship has sailed.”
You believe you’re too old, too busy, too weak, too late to the game, your family takes too much time and energy, or your voice was never golden to begin with.
But (for the singers among us), you still miss singing and dream of singing more and better.
And (for the speakers in the room) you still long to cultivate a powerful, healthy speaking voice.
If so, I understand.
I sang professionally for ten years throughout my twenties and several years into my thirties. Prior to that, I also sang all. the. time. My folks sang around the house all the time: Mom used to sing on the radio before she married and still sang around the house, teaching us ditties and oldies all the time. Dad loved to harmonize with just about anything, especially the “amens” in church. And he loved to sing the bass line of barbershop numbers. Happily, our public school classes sang frequently. From early childhood, my parents put my brother and me into church choir and we spent our days, weeks, months, and years singing in children’s choirs, youth choirs, and briefly our church’s adult choir, before we both moved away from home after college. By that time, I was making my way in dinner theater and light opera in D.C.
Over the years, opportunities and challenges arose from time to time that forced me to choose between further study and my beloved vocal performance and other life experiences. Oh, I always sang, definitely, but didn’t develop my craft as intensely or faithfully. Long story short, I would lose ground when I’d go several months, or sometimes a year or two, without the performance opportunities that used to keep me going and the regimens I’d practiced formerly. And when I started and completed a masters and then a doctorate (unrelated to music) in my thirties and then a family in my forties (yes, I had the first of our three children at the age of 40!), well, studies and parenting took precedence. Oh, I continued to sing in worship, lead worship, and even teach voice; but that doesn’t mean you’re always caring for your voice, practicing your own craft, carving out time for your regimens. It’s the kind of realization that creeps up on you. You suddenly feel and hear you can’t hit that C6 you used to be able to sing beautifully and realize that your vocal flexibility has lessened. As age steals in decade by decade, you also realize the danger of the loss of muscular control as the dreaded “warble” sets in from time to time. As a year or more slips by without regular, prolonged singing and practice, you experience the realization that you had to steal breaths once or twice during long phrases you could support previously.
In favor of getting a “practical” college degree, I forewent studying vocal performance in school and studied voice privately. People told me, often with tears in their eyes, that I sang beautifully and deeply inspired or moved them. I worked hard at it. I practiced. And I enjoyed it.
In my life, there have been few engagements or practices over time that have fed my soul like singing and performing do. I still enjoy it. I like singing. I love performing. I even like practicing. But it’s not been easy to carve out the time to grow or even maintain my voice, to prioritize the practices that keep my voice in shape or grow my capabilities.
Maybe you’re like me and you’ve struggled from time to time or over a prolonged period of time with one or more of these internal conflicts:
- Sometimes feeling guilty for setting aside time for our own pursuits, especially when family or work matters constantly demand our attention.
- Or perhaps you’ve set aside the time, but you aren’t sure what to do.
- Or maybe you’ve been working hard, trying to do voice exercises, but you don’t have the confidence that you’re doing them correctly or well.
- Maybe you’re not getting the results you wanted or thought you could expect.
- Maybe you’re practicing, but you still feel weakness in your breath support, your voice is still warbly or breathy, your range isn’t where you think it should be, or you keep losing your voice.
If you have been putting time, effort, and money, into improving your voice, but haven’t seen results, it’s frustrating.
You sing in a choir, but have never been asked to sing a solo. Or perhaps you did, but upon review it was marginal at best. You listened to a recording and can objectively say it wasn’t all that good and you’d like it to be better.
Perhaps you feel discounted when you speak, teach, preach, or lecture and you believe your voice may be to blame.
Or maybe you play an instrument really well, but your vocal instrument still needs a lot of work. Perhaps you’d like to improve your voice so you can sing your own songs, perhaps so you can even get gigs in restaurants and coffeehouses and such.
If you’ve been working on it and what you’ve been doing to develop your voice hasn’t been working, I know it’s frustrating. I’ve done all of that, too.
These are all real-life experiences many of my older students have experienced and a few I’ve personally experienced.
Each of those individual scenarios I’ve described sounds like a simple problem. But you and I both know – experience has told us – that it’s more typical to experience multiple of those scenarios as life proceeds at its breakneck pace. We know that any one of them can hold you back, but it’s usually more of those challenges that get us off-track from setting aside that time to practice (“too busy”), from pursuing either group or solo opportunities to sing (“my voice isn’t where I want it to be”), or from even believing it’s possible to improve (“yep, that ship has sailed”).
It may seem like you’d be wasting your time and any money you might invest in improving your voice. Right?
The Good News: It’s not too late!
It’s never too late.
I’ve been teaching people over forty to sing and/or to develop their voice for a very long time – since the mid-nineties. It’s my favorite client age group, for all those reasons I listed above, but perhaps motly because they want it the most. They appreciate it the most. They typically practice the most. Why? Because they realize they have the most to lose if they don’t follow through.
More than most people under forty, people over forty, including me, realize life isn’t going to go on forever and they want to pursue wholeheartedly what they’ve been putting off.
You Can Definitely Improve.
No matter the condition of your voice, you can always improve. You might currently sing regularly and your voice is decent; you might currently sing solos with your church choir or other ensemble; you might have vocal damage from health issues, misuse, or yelling a lot; or you might have a raspy voice you believe is unpleasant due to smoking or other abuse of your vocal tract.
But, I can promise you this with certainty: you can always regain ground and you can gain new ground.
In all honesty, you may never be a Luciano Pavarotti or a Celine Dion. Statistics show that despite dreams and even despite drive, most kids who play “elite” soccer or football pre-K through twelfth grades will never play pro soccer or football. Similarly, most people who sing will never draw live crowds of millions. But you don’t need to want to draw crowds of millions to justify seriously training your voice.
Here are some outlets you might be considering, or might begin considering:
- Offer your voice to your church or community choir and determine to develop your voice to solo-potential quality.
- With YouTube and other online platforms, people who want to share their stuff with the world can do so more easily than ever.
- Cities large and small have community theaters looking for vocal talent that can shine and move the plot forward.
- Performing as a singer or singer-songwriter at a local restaurant, pub, or mall.
- Join a band as a background or lead singer.
- Begin leading worship in music in your life group, Sunday school class, or service of worship, and decide now to lead vocally with as much excellence as you can develop.
Friends, you do not need to be pursuing a career in vocal performance to want to train your voice!
You don’t need to squelch your dreams or desires to use your voice in the world just because you might not be the star of a show. And who knows that you can’t achieve those center-stage dreams, if you set your mind to it and get to work?! Those aspirations can push you forward.
No matter your goals, whether humble or grand, you can move forward, working on your own instrument to make it the best it can be.
And… if you are looking for more…
If you wonder whether your voice could be strong again, or even believe already that it could
If you just had some clear guidance.
If you’re looking to regain or strengthen your voice into and throughout your mature years…
Then, I can help you and this letter is for you.
Note: This letter is not for you if…
…you’re looking for a “magic (singing/speaking) bullet”
…you’re not interested in working consistently and regularly on regaining or gaining your voice.
Even starting with a “decent” voice, and even with extremely-effective, cutting edge vocal methods, learning good vocal technique and developing the muscle memory to employ it consistently does not happen overnight. If you believe it does and that’s what you’re looking for, I am not the right instructor for you.
This is not for you if…
…you’re not interested in knowing whether you’ve developed unhealthy vocal habits that have ruined your voice.
I am nice, but I will tell it like it is – with love, of course, and with respect and kindness. If you don’t want to be told new things that will help you, or you don’t want to hear that you’ve been doing something vocally unhealthy for a long time (even though that’s the way your choir director in college or another singing instructor in the past taught you to do it), OR if you don’t want to hear that singing is a whole-body event that relies on your whole-body health, I am not the right instructor for you.
And it’s definitely not for you if…
…you were able to learn that you have unhealthy vocal habits but were not interested in changing or stopping those habits, learning new ones, and putting those new habits into regular practice.
The bottom line:
It takes time, self-discipline, and a decent amount of determination to prioritize getting your voice in shape and then protecting that time and determination to maintain it.
It takes openness, teachability, and a good rapport between instructor and student for advancement to occur.
Music lessons are not just for children.
Not only are music lessons not just for children, but, in fact, singing lessons in particular – especially when you consider singing lessons not simply as singing a lot of songs in an hour but in terms of actually learning good technique and doing the work of practicing in between lessons – may well be better suited for youth and adults. Of course, there are always the situations in which a child student is already performing professionally vocally and has lost their voice or is in danger of losing it due to never learning good technique. The reasons, I’ve found, that singing works better with youth and adults are because (1) it’s when we’re a bit older and have some life experience that music makes the most sense to us; (2) we’re willing to listen, we listen better on the whole, we are ready to be taught, and we are then willing put in the time to do the work of practicing the craft; and (3) we realize more acutely and more immediately the impacts of incorrect singing when we feel its effects on our voice, something that gets more true with every passing year.
It might also be that we realize the joys, depths, tangible and intangible benefits of singing and music in our lives: the way it feeds our souls; how it helps us communicate or experience feelings in ways not possible by other means. It can also relate to having a message to give to the world that has come via our many life experiences. Or perhaps it’s because we simply want to do the things we’ve wanted to do for decades – sing, perform, share our songs – but have been busy with life-stuff, like working, birthing children, running businesses, pursuing other dreams, or putting our children and/or grandchildren through lessons. All of that is really good stuff; but whatever the reasons have been, the end result is our voice is out of shape – or never got into shape in the first place.
I’d like to help you. (I can help you.)
I’m launching a PROGRAM for “singers of a certain age” to work with me directly to Sing Again!
While helping folks over forty develop their voices and achieve their vocal dreams over these many years, I’ve been developing the process that has now become the “Sing Again!” program. I’ve studied many different vocal methods, taken hundreds of private lessons, sang under at least a dozen amazing choral directors. I’ve collected what works. And I took the most effective processes, both ones I developed and processes I’ve learned from other vocal pedagogues (I always give proper credit where credit is due – a masters and doctorate definitely taught me that and good ethics insist upon it); and I’ve gathered them into a systematized, codified, and followable program that has helped me and many students.
I know the Sing Again! program can help you, too.
If you’ve stuck around this long, read this letter in its entirety, and my words have resonated with your heart and mind: