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Voice Problems and Surgery

voice problems surgery image
Over the weekend, NPR did a show about voice problems and the challenges that singers face.

Since I work with people who use their voices a lot, professional singers and non-professional alike, I know how difficult it can be to keep things in perspective.

When we love to sing and when our living or our sense of pleasure or well-being depends on singing, it can feel like death to develop swollen vocal cords, a hoarse throat, or worst of all, a polyp.

That is why I emphasize over and over again how crucial it is to build a solid vocal foundation.

Many people have wonderful natural voices. Others do not. But both groups need good training in order to preserve and get the best out of their voices.

I have said this elsewhere, but I will say it again, I wish you would get the basic training you need before you jump into trying to sing big powerful songs.

It’s like trying to run a marathon without knowing how to warm up your muscles. You might get away with it a few times….when you are very young.

However, the voice is a physical instrument that stays healthy or becomes unhealthy based on physical principles.

There is no way to get around these principles anymore than you can get around the way your blood flows through your heart.

You can change the name of these principles, you can dismiss or ignore them, scoff at them, pretend they don’t apply to you, but the only thing you will get from all that in the long run is a hoarse throat, a raspy voice that cracks, or polyps, surgery and the strong possibility that you might be silenced from singing forever.

Today, more than ever, little attention is paid to solid vocal technique.

More attention is paid to fame and fortune and quick fixes.

Sadly, this kind of thinking will not help you to keep a healthy voice for the duration of your life.

Shaping and guiding healthy voices is one of my prime passions in life and that is why I have created the “Fearless Voice Power” affordable singing lessons course.

I knew that people were unnecessarily damaging their voices because they didn’t know the basic singing voice techniques.

Often, they think they do, but usually they don’t and that is when the trouble begins.

I have also seen many so-called voice training programs that promise to give you a “star quality” singing voice in 30 days or 10 quick lessons or some other kind of marketing hype.

Don’t believe it for a minute and don’t waste your money and time!

You need to build your vocal muscle power gradually, just like any other muscles.

So, if you want to sing with power and freedom for as long as you can, and you want to build and protect your voice with time tested unshakeable vocal techniques, I highly recommend that you give yourself something more valuable than money can buy….give yourself a healthy voice that learns how to unlock its potential without damaging its vocal cords.

Do it for yourself now instead of forming or repeating old patterns that are the cause of your vocal problems.


Impromptu Mountain Singing

Last night I had an amazing experience with four other women.

We hiked up a steep mountain trail (I think it started at 6,000+ feet) to watch the sun set and the moon rise. After it got dark, we hiked back down the trail with flashlights. It was incredible!

Boulders strewn about the area looked like a giant had smashed a stone world and sent pieces flying everywhere. The higher we hiked, the bigger the boulders became. At one point on the trail, there was a place where several several of them formed a doorway that framed an amazing view of higher peaks. A pool of water from the last rains still shimmered in a hole in the rock and reflected the mountains above it. That pool is in the video on this page. It was glorious!

There’s something about this kind of beauty coupled with mountain air and hiking that just about lifts me off the ground. In fact, I become almost oblivious to anything else around me, whether it be people or wildlife or my own thoughts. The beauty overtakes me so completely that I must send my voice singing and ringing amidst the fantastic beauty of boulders bigger than houses!

Do you ever feel that way about your voice? That you simply cannot stop it from singing out because of the power of the beauty around you? That the beauty itself seems to bubble up inside of you in the form of song?

If not, come into my world and I will show you how to let go of all inhibitions and feel the great joy that comes from fearless voice power.

There is absolutely nothing like it in the world that can lift you up and send you flying in the freedom of your mind to heights you may never have thought possible before. It releases endorphins in ways no other activity can.

I plan to get up that trail again and again and again, simply because I want to be compelled to sing into the mystery of the mountain beauty and release my own fearless voice power.

Listen carefully and you may even hear it on the wind!

affordable singing lessons icon batch

– Fearless Voice Power –

Most people tell me privately that they would love to be able to sing without fear, on pitch, without a hoarse throat or a nasal sound.

But often they don’t believe they can actually fulfill that private desire and therefore they don’t want to even try or are too afraid to even try.

But they keep privately wishing it were true.

Somewhere in their early years, the message they got from parents, teachers, siblings or friends, convinced them that they were tone deaf, or not “talented” enough or could never sing like “such and such.”

And so, sadly, they began to believe it themselves and as they got older, they became sure it was true.

The trouble with this thinking, which I call the “anti-singing mindset” is that it is simply not true.

Well, at least all of it but the part about singing like “such and such” because your singing voice is unique to you and their singing voice is unique to them.

Is it true that you can learn to sing better?

And how does your mindset relate to whether or not it is true?

The answers are complex, but I like to simplify things so let me be brief about this because I have written about the “singing mindset” elsewhere on this site.

Heart to heart, let me tell you this:

  • If you believe you can learn to sing better, you are right
  • If you believe you cannot learn to sing better, you are right as well
  • If you believe you can learn then you will want to learn
  • If you want to learn badly enough, you will take an action to do just that

It all starts with what you believe about yourself and what you really want for yourself.

That is why taking singing lessons is such an amazing and wonderful pursuit. It not only frees you to sing the way you are capable of singing, it frees your view of yourself in almost every possible way you can imagine.

This is true because your singing voice is linked to your emotions and what happens inside your body and mind that impacts your muscles and the way you breathe, make sounds and express yourself. It’s linked to everything you know and don’t know, everything you feel, everything that frightens you or empowers you, makes you happy or sad.

My passion is to help people unlock and free the fearless voice power that they have inside of them that has never been let out.

With easy-to-learn vocal technique activities, singing breathing exercises and a liberated singing mindset, you can learn how your emotions and singing are linked together and how you can get rid of tension and voice problems such as a hoarse throat, nasal singing, singing pitch problems or swollen vocal cords.

It has been my privilege to successfully help thousands of people around the world discover how to the free their voices and learn to sing better than they currently do.

But because I cannot bring every person that wants help into my studio area, I decided long ago to develop and offer a professional online singing lessons course that can enable you to learn to make your dream of singing more freely come true.

Fearless Voice Power is now available for you!

Another heart to heart:

  • How badly do you want to learn to sing better?
  • If you want to sing better, it is time to stop putting it off and do what it takes to make it happen.

There is no reason to hold yourself back.

It is all up to you.

I have the university training (both undergraduate and graduate) and real world experience of singing and teaching singing outside of the university setting that it takes to help you. I also have what some people call an “uncanny” sense about what each person individually needs to free their voice plus years of successful experience guiding people into doing just that!

Now it’s your turn.

If you believe you can and want to learn how to release your fearless voice power, the time to do it is now.


Your Singing Voice Curve

singing voice curve abstract

What in the world is a singing voice curve and why is it important to you?

In order to answer those two questions, I have to tell you a true story about the painting you see to your right and a recent voice lesson I gave over Skype.

You may or may not know that I am an abstract painter, writer, performer and composer, as well as a voice teacher, so from time to time, I will sit down and look at a photo (or landscape or some other tangible object) and allow the shapes and colors in it to connect with my brain in ways that allow me to turn it into something on a canvas that looks nothing like the “reality” in the photo, landscape, etc.

In other words, my painting takes on an entirely different reality of its own.

It was in this frame of mind that I painted the above picture last week after trying to draw a curved mirror effect that I had captured in a photo taken in my bathroom.

Now, take a look at this picture of the curved mirror effect and you will see what I mean.

your singing voice has a curve

You might think it strange for a voice teacher to talk about bathroom photos and mirror curves, but that very “strangeness” is the key to my success in helping people like you unlock and free their potential to have fearless singing voices, so bear with me here.

Back to the curved mirror effect and what that has to do with your voice.

The reason I wanted to paint this picture is because of the way the pot of flowers and the straight lines of the walls and mirror frame all get smaller and smaller and then form this amazing curve.

I am not a physicist but I enjoy the puzzle that forms in my mind when I see something like this and since I am an artistic person, the need is there to express it in some way, either through a singing, painting or writing words.

In this case, I decided to paint and what came out of the curved mirror bathroom photo is the painting you saw at the beginning of this post.

Now, I don’t want to make this an entire book, so let’s cut to the chase about how this relates to the voice lesson I mentioned earlier and the curve in your voice.

It has to do with the ratios in the harmonic overtone series of partials and, apparently, physics in general.

Stay with me here. I won’t get into a lot of academic-speak but I will give you a secret to unlock your potential to sing with a powerful and fearless on-pitch voice.

During the voice lesson, my student was singing one of her pitches quite sharp. She is an intelligent and talented young woman and I knew she would lead me to the answers she needed to correct her pitch if I stayed tuned into what she wanted to say in response to the fact that her pitch was sharp.

Why is that?

You see, from years of successful experience in helping people unlock their powerful singing potential I have learned that if I stay extremely sensitive to the fact that the answers are already inside of the student and that if I pay close attention to the underlying meaning in the student’s questions or comments about anything and everything – even if it doesn’t seem to be related to singing – then I will discover how to approach them with the timeless voice principles that will enable them to release their voices and conquer their pitch problems, or hoarse throats or fear of singing in front of people or whatever their particular problem happens to be.

This is part of the secret I mentioned above: the answers are always already there inside of you, waiting for you to discover how easy it is to sing fearlessly and free.

You do not have to settle for believing that you have a terrible voice or that you are tone deaf or that you could never sing anywhere else except in your shower or alone or that you cannot sing better than you already do.

Having said that, let’s get back to my student and the curve in your voice.

Before we had started the lesson, she told me that she had seen my painting on my Facebook wall and had really liked it. I thanked her and then she asked me if I would like to see a picture that she had painted and sent me a link to it in the Skype chat window. It was a wonderful painting and so I gave her a link to a site of an artist friend of mine who is world famous and does amazing work. Then we utilized one of my friend’s paintings to focus on a specific point in it while my voice student again sang the same notes in the exercise I had given her.

This led to a discussion of the overtone series, which is visualized in this picture.

It was while looking at this picture that I suddenly realized why the curved mirror effect had occurred in the photo you saw above, for if you connect the dots between ½, 1/3, 1/4, etc. you will see a curve forming!

You might be saying, “Okay, Joy, I see the curve, but what does this have to do with my voice?  Aren’t you stretching things a bit far?”

The answer has to do with the physics of how sound waves work and ratios, but, again, I am not going to get into academia-speak.

The most important thing for you to think about is this:  when you sing a note it means that you have started a vibration and that vibration sets into motion other vibrations “above” the note you are singing.

The long and short of it is that your ability to sing consistently on pitch with a powerful ringing quality (resonance) in your voice that will not hurt your throat is based on tuning into or becoming internally aware of these other overtone vibrations.

Back to my student.

After I had explained the overtone series to her we needed to make a practical application that would help her with her pitch.

Here is what we did: she and I now explored a point on a painting she had done in high school and I led her imagination through a “portal” point in her painting.  With a few other instructions from me, she then sang a series of simple exercises I gave her.

The effect on her pitch was astounding!  She never went off pitch again during the lesson!

It was so astounding to me that we had used paintings and curved mirrors to effect this change in her voice so quickly that I simply had to write this post this morning.

The secret for your voice is that you do not have to settle for anything less than fearless voice power in yourself.

The secret is that you already have the answers inside of you.

The secret is that there is a curve in Nature that allows you to set your singing voice free.

The secret is that your singing voice is already a part of that curve.

Isn’t it time you discovered it for yourself?

If you have not already done so, pick up my Free Your Voice series of 10 Singing Lesson Quick Tips. They are totally FREE, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain to set your voice free…at last!


Stellar Jays regularly flock around my patio, searching for peanuts.

One of them loves to perch on the top of a privacy wall that butts up against my home. There, she peers through the sliding glass door to command my attention and makes SURE I know she is there waiting for peanuts.

I love this bird because she has what I call a fearless voice inside of her. She is not afraid to use her voice, her body language and her personality to get my attention. And guess what? She always gets peanuts from me before the other birds!

That’s because of her fearless voice power.

Yesterday, while I worked on my upcoming Affordable Singing Lessons launch, I took a few moments to sing to her here in the forest where I live because I love singing out in nature, especially on a mountain!

She loved it and so I decided to sing to her again and video tape it. The video below is from those wonderful few moments when I paused in my crazy work-a-day schedule, when I put away the grueling and time-consuming tasks dealing with editing, scripting, planning, thinking and staying focused on helping others to learn how to sing and release their own fearless voice power.

It takes certain singing mindsets to make the sort of mesmerizing music you hear in the video. It doesn’t have anything to do with wanting to sound like anyone else. Rather, it has to do with finding your authentic voice, using singing mindsets and singing voice techniques and putting them together into something I call Fearless Voice Power.

If this video intrigues you or calms you or makes you smile, I encourage you to get in touch with your own fearless voice by getting my 10 Free Your Voice Quick Tips (they are all FREE).

Enjoy and leave comments below.


Twin Trees

It is the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and I have written and recorded my thoughts for this day.

I have been saddened by the petty divisions in my beloved country for some time, but have not said anything publicly about it.

Today, an unstoppable fearless voice from within me has spoken.

Wherever you are in the country or the world, listen and think about what you are doing with your words, your attitude and your actions to stand united for the unshakeable dream of freedom in these times.

Here is the recording. Twin Trees


Unstoppable Singing Voice

singing mindset when computer crashesMy computer crashing and having to have its hard drive and logic board replaced a few days ago might have thrown me off kilter and pushed me all out of shape because of the delay it has caused in launching my affordable singing lessons, but I decided not to let it.

Then I got to thinking about how a computer crash relates to learning how to sing and to making sure you can feel ease in singing.

It is always all about choices, attitude and what your singing mindset is.

You see, we have to guard our thoughts in order to free our voices and get rid of the tensions that lock up our vocal cords.

As a performer, composer, vocal coach and teacher, I am constantly learning new singing voice techniques to help my students. I honestly believe that if I haven’t experienced something for myself, I cannot honestly speak with authority on that subject.

So I am using the computer crash and the affordable singing lessons launch delay as a way to go deeper inside of my own singing voice awareness so that I can pass on even better singing tips to you!

How to stop tension from messing with your voice when life caves in

  • It is always about the nervous system and what we set in motion with our memories and our beliefs about our lives, ourselves, our voice
  • The good news is that we control it rather than it controlling us
  • The other good news is that it is not that hard to change our responses

I call these responses to life’s unexpected struggles your singing mindsets.

What I mean by the nervous system, our memories and beliefs about ourselves actually has to do with something called “epigenetics,” a relatively new field of science that deals with cell membranes and how messages travel to and from the inside of the cells. I don’t want to get in too deep with this information, but a great book about the core discoveries that led to the field of epigenetics is “The Biology of Belief” by Bruce Lipton, PhD. Dr. Lipton was one of the early biologists who did stem cell research at Stanford University and has taught in medical schools both here in the United States and out of the country.

Basically, what he discovered is that the cell membrane holds the keys to how the genetic codes of the cell will respond to what goes on in your life. I am using very simplified lay language here because I want to quickly get my point across so that it will help you with whatever challenges you find with your singing (or speaking) voice.

When something upsets our “order” in life, like my computer crash during preparations for the launch of my Affordable Singing Lessons, for example, we respond automatically based on what Dr. Lipton and other scientists calls “cellular memory.”

And cellular memory is like your computer apps. Data is stored in them and if you open the app, the data inside of it begins to do its thing. It sends data codes and something automatically happens without you having to do anything other than click the button or link.

The key word is automatically.

Cellular memory in your body is pretty much the same.

If you have old patterns and beliefs about how unfair life treats you, for instance, your response to a computer crash could be fatalistic, which could make you angry or depressed and these emotions directly influence the way you use your voice.

Let me give you a personal example.

“No matter what I do, I always fail!

Yes, it’s hard for me to even believe it now, but that is how I used to think deep down inside of myself, way way down where in the cellular memory, in the sub-conscious memory banks.

Hard to believe about me, right?

But trust me, it is absolutely true. I have had an inordinate amount of traumatic experiences in my life that I won’t get into here except to say that people have often told me that they cannot imagine how I could be so positive when I have had so much hardship. And the truth is, I could have folded. I could have given up and gone the route of depression or worse.

Yet something inside of me made me get up over and over again and never never quit, no matter what. Something deeper than the belief about failure kept me going and that something continues to give me the strength I need to bring you the knowledge that I have with things like my 10 Free Your Voice Quick Tips (all for FREE) so that you can overcome your fears about your voice no matter what happens to you!

I have done much work on these cellular memory sub-conscious beliefs and am happy to report that I no longer believe that I will always fail no matter what I do.

Now I know that I will succeed because I don’t let things like computer crashes or bad news, or economic reports or rejection from others or anything else stand in my way.

I stay focused on what I have to give to the world to make it a better place and I know that part of what I have to give is my voice, my expertise, my humor, wisdom, techniques and easy to understand teaching style.

That is why my Free Quick Tips and Affordable Singing Lessons are going forward in spite of a computer crash delay.

I honestly believe that YOU deserve to be heard so I don’t give up even when a hard drive gives up!

Now, my question for you is this: what is in your way? What is happening in your life that prevents you from experiencing the full power and freedom of your singing voice?

Whatever it is, you have the power to change it because you have the power over your inner beliefs and the messages that you send to yourself.

If you want to free your voice, I am here to help in many ways, so start helping yourself now by choosing at least one of them, if not more!


affordable singing lessons tips customer service
As I get closer and closer to my Free Your Voice Affordable Singing Lessons launch, I am becoming more and more keenly aware of how important your personal sense about your voice is.

One of the things that I want to impress upon you at this time is that your singing voice is not just about your singing voice. I know that sounds rather strange, but here is what I mean.

All of the anatomy parts that you use when singing (muscles, bones, tissues, lungs, vocal cords, etc.) are pretty much the same as what you use for speaking. The only true difference between the two is that when you sing you sustain the vowels and the sounds you are making on specific pitches, with specific rhythms and specific volumes and speeds.

Other than that, everything revolves around your awareness of how your instrument works, both in singing and speaking.

In Free Your Voice Quick Tip #3 from my Affordable Singing Lessons series, you learn how to become aware of how anger can mess up your voice and what you can do about it.

I call it “Customer Service, Please” because the quick tip revolves around a true story that happened to me and how I turned it into a quick singing mindsets technique that can help you with your singing (and speaking) voice.

If you have not seen my “Believe in the Shower” video – the first in the series of 10 free quick tips – then watch it now. It will most likely make you laugh because I had so much fun making it for you. And you will learn an important truth about how you need to extend your vowels in order to sing well.

I believe that learning to sing should be fun and there are a ton of reasons why that is important, but I can’t get into that just now.

This about letting you know that Quick Tip #3 is ready so if you want to get access to it, watch the shower video and you’ll know what to do next.


Today was a great day, not only for me, but for you.


I taped 4 new quick tips and finished editing #2.  It is called “Greatest Name on Earth” and I’ll give you a hint about what name that is:  it’s YOU!

Yes, your name is the greatest name because it identifies you.

And how you identify yourself, deep inside yourself where no one else can see or hear what is going on with you, is key to how you sing and communicate.

As you know, I talk about vowels and singing on the vowels quite a bit.

So this new quick tip (it’s free!) for learning how to free your voice, focuses on how a simple name and knowing how to play with it can help to free your voice.

This quick tip is #2 in a series of 10 free quick tips that I am creating to give you the singing help that you deserve.  The first one was “Believe in the Shower” and if you haven’t seen it yet, go see it now.  It is guaranteed to make you smile!

Singing is about YOU, about your name, about your life and dreams and knowledge and hopes and oh, so much more!

To see all 10 of the videos, go to this page and sign up!

You’ll be happy you did because I gotta tell you, I believe learning to sing should be simple and fun and I have a lot of fun giving you what I know!


icon for weekly affordable singing lessons

It’s getting pretty crazy around here as I move into crunch time for getting my affordable singing lessons ready for you!

Who knew there was so much technical stuff to do?

But you are worth it!

You can learn how to free your voice and you can learn how to sing high notes without breaks or cracks in your singing registers.

You DO NOT have to get polyps!

I just wanted to let you know that I’m working feverishly to get you the singing voice help you deserve to have.

And just in case you haven’t gotten on the VIP Notification list, do it now so you will know the exact day that these lessons launch. And Ursula over at UC Web Creations has been helping too! She’s great and has a beautiful voice too!

You’ve probably already noticed the new tab on the navigation menu called “Members.” Yup, that’s where I’ve been doing all the back end work so that you can learn how to Free Your Voice!

Meanwhile, be bold, be strong, be courageous and sing your heart out without hurting your throat.

And Get Ready Because:

  • 24 singing voice lessons are coming your way
  • 12 singing mindset lessons will be dancing with those lessons
  • 12 interviews with industry professionals will amp things up
  • …and the bonuses are waiting in the wings
  • I’m having WAY too much fun!
singing book A MUST HAVE singing mindset eBook for singers, voice teachers, students, choir directors, cantors, actors and more!