In 2005 my Husband was offered work in Melbourne Australia. I immediately jumped at the opportunity, as this was a childhood dream – I used to dance across a giant map of Australia in my undies claiming it as my own country!
Through my association with Speech Level Singing I established a fantastic network of Australian teachers who all wanted to learn the technique. In many ways I owe the success of my patriation in Australia to SLS. Life was sweet for a while…
Then my voice began to downward spiral. Although I was no longer performing, I had established a good reputation as a teacher, and the thought of my voice being injured was distressing. Finally, I saw an ENT and was diagnosed with a polyp on my vocal fold. Almost immediately after, I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue – there was a lot to take in.
After I had taken some time to reconcile the information, I made the decision to have the polyp removed. At this point I had begun to imagine returning to professional singing and that was not possible with a polyp. Sadly, for me the operation was unsuccessful, and I ended up with permanent vocal fold scarring. I spent a few weeks after in a haze of self-doubt and despair, I felt like a total fraud. How could I ever go back to teaching?
Eventually with the love and encouragement of friends, family, colleagues and my students, I returned to teaching. Without the full use of my voice teaching was difficult and caused me a lot of emotional pain. I enlisted the help of a psychologist, doctor, and physiotherapist and utilising my own voice training techniques, I eventually reconciled myself with my circumstances.
After this I made a personal commitment to explore different avenues within teaching techniques, studying anatomy, acoustics and discovering other methodologies that were appealing.
For me, the magic happened after my voice was effectively ruined. – That’s irony for you! Having spent many years in a state of utter hatred and panic for my voice I had an “epiphany” one day, realising I had lost my Right 2 Sing (the inspiration behind my workshop program). It’s like I’ve had no choice but to embrace the “imperfections” (whatever that means) in my voice.