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What is essence of your voice?

What is essence of your voice?

What is essence of your voice?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

My mom always reminds me (insert high-pitched, Philadelphia-born, Jewish mother’s accent), “Alli, you were always your worst critic!” 

She’s right. I was. I would finish any performance and analyze all the things that went wrong and how I must have sounded awful. This went on for a very long time. 😔

But there were a few times when something went really, really right. You know what I’m talking about? Can you call that to mind for yourself? 

Those moments (and sometimes they really are just moments) when you felt the most aligned, alive, connected, electrified yet calm, and so brave that you responded, and leaned into a moment and showed up for yourself. 💪

Ah, I remember these moments with such sweet clarity and joy, and I think, “could that have been real, or am I imagining that happened?”

No. It was real.

You were in a state of flow, connected with your essence. It is in these moments that we are tapped into a wellspring of inspiration, creativity, and the flow that comes from source.

Honestly, the real triumph of these pinnacle moments in our life is that we let our damn guard down. As a result, the true essence of your voice could be heard, seen, felt, and received by others

Dear One, your triumph is not a fluke. It is a sacred lesson.

A lesson to root firmly into the essence of who you are, and to allow your voice, your energy, and your sound flow from within.

I drew a picture to illustrate.

That little spot in the middle? That’s the sweet spot, my friend. It’s infinite, but simple. That’s the essence. Your heart is the portal.

The image on the left is when we are in flow. The energy moves from the inside-out.

But often, when we use our voice, we usually show up like the image on the right: armored. Your essence is protected, like the king on a chess board. Outside-in.

Most of the time, we would rather show up with armor, protecting our squishy inner core, ready to fend off the mistakes and critiques and rejections before one air molecule is affected.

Why? Because showing up on a stage, no matter the size or type, can feel like the most vulnerable thing you can do because, frankly it is. I believe this is one of the reasons we admire certain performers and artists: we recognize their capacity to show up without so much armor.

Remember your triumphant moment? Remember those times when you showed up for yourself? When you responded to the moment with YES? Here is the lesson: triumphs are not an exception. They are the new rule.

💗 Open your heart.

🧠 Stabilize your fear.

⚡️ Ground your energy.

🔥 Move into flow.

Tapping into your essence does not have to be a hit or miss situation. It is a radically simple formula and practice to be applied whenever you create the intention to do so. It can be a Thing You Do all the time.

It is a joyful practice of becoming whole as you develop your voice, your artistry, and your courage to show up as your most essential, aligned, and peaceful self as you quake the air molecules around you.

Lucky are the ones who receive the gift of your clear, luminous, divine vibration.

Love,

allison

further reading

What is essence of your voice?
What is essence of your voice?

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How to make beautiful sound
How to make beautiful sound

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Naked singing
Naked singing

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Are you a Singer or a Non-Singer?

Are you a Singer or a Non-Singer?

Are you a Singer or a Non-Singer?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

Many of my clients will identify with one of these two designations, usually so they can tell me what I can expect when I hear them sing! 

However, the answer to whether you are a Singer or Non-Singer has everything to do with… you.

But it is a perennial question for many people, and I believe it can cause some pain for some. What I think it really asks is: how do you use your voice?

Your relationship with your voice is shaped and molded over many years, since the moment you began to use it, really. You have been imprinted by your family, school, society, some of whom have a stake in your well-being, and some who could care less. 

But I know YOU care.

Whether you are a Singer is a question of your identity. And ultimately, it has nothing to do with other people. It has to do with you. How do you define yourself? How do you embrace or reject this designation of “singer”? 

Well, how does it make you feel? 

I am someone who has chosen a pathway in the field of music, vocal music to be specific. I have training in singing. I am an expert in vocal technique. I sing publicly for a fee. Therefore I must be a singer, right?

Um, not so clear, actually. 

I actually retired from Soprano Life, because the pursuit of Soprano-hood was making me miserable. During the pandemic, it was impossible for me to find my footing with a singing practice because there were one million other things that I needed to prioritize and I was having a hard time, like everyone else.

Am I still a singer?

Let’s reframe the response. I am someone who loves to use their voice. I love to sing. (Most of the time.) And I am learning to use my voice. 

Please do not fret if this question gives you agida. I ask the question because I know it may evoke a feeling of discomfort for some. But I want you to examine whether or not that discomfort is coming from within, or without. 

Who defines what you do with your voice? You. 

You have permission to sing in whatever genre you please, to enjoy whatever song you enjoy, to cast away the expectation that you should be able to do something by now, or have it all figured out.

You certainly do NOT have to have it all figured out! But please hear me: you also do not have to exist in a constant state of existential crisis as to how you use your voice, or how you define yourself vocally or musically. Staying confused and unclear is another choice you can make that not only defines, but confirms, your identity.

I don’t recommend it.

If you are someone who is unclear about how you use your voice, I recommend you begin a new narrative for your singing identity:

I am discovering how to use my voice.

Take the edge off, dear one. No need to fuel your doubts with fear and regret. But remember that only you can define your identity.

So are you a singer or a non-singer?

It doesn’t matter. This question drives me bonkers. Let’s trash the damn category. 

Hugs,

allison

IMAGE: Photo by Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash

further reading

What is essence of your voice?
What is essence of your voice?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

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How to make beautiful sound
How to make beautiful sound

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel Last night I was scurrying home from the grocery store, and pulled into my driveway just after dusk. As I was gathering my bags from the trunk, I turned to look up at the chilly sky. (I always look up whenever I am outside.) I spied...

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Naked singing
Naked singing

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel No, no, no. Not what you think. Not really, anyway. But why does singing sometimes feel so naked? Especially when you are going solo. Just you and your voice. You and your sound. You and your thoughts. (Oh, the thoughts!) You and...

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What I really learned working with coaches from the Met

What I really learned working with coaches from the Met

What I really learned working with coaches from the Met

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

When I was a junior in college, I had a very audacious and ambitious voice teacher who was making a go as an opera singer. She managed to wiggle herself and two of her budding students (including me!) into a workshop series led by Nico and Carol Castel, legendary coaches at the Met.

It was a very good thing I had no idea who these people were, or who would be there, or what anyone was singing. All I knew was that I was going to have six consecutive Friday night adventures to the Upper West Side and I would get off campus and go to New York and sing and it would be fun!

It was fun. It was also the most intimidating thing I have ever done. I could not have been more green, but it didn’t matter. I did not take away any sour memories whatsoever, because I learned so much, and had no aspirations to become an opera singer in the first place!

But the most indelible moment came not from my own coaching, but from from observing another soprano, let’s call her Deb.

It was Deb’s first turn, she got up and introduced herself. Deb said (with some hesitation) that she had been working on her own, trying to discover her voice.

Deb then announced she was going to sing “(Something That Sounded Like It Was Printed In Fraktur)” from Die Blah Blah by Wagner and said she was looking for help with (Deb’s Musico Textual Issue).

And I thought, “hm, interesting, this is not going to be very good, she is singing Wagner and doesn’t even have a teacher!” 

You would not believe the sound that came forth into this teeny tiny living room. I thought this was the most insanely talented person I had ever heard. Her voice was loud, it could move mountains, it was way too much to handle in that tiny apartment. But she let it rip, no holding back.

Her presence hooked me, it was profound, and I gazed at Deb in wonder: how did she DO that?

I surmise that she did something very, very brave amidst a deeply entrenched musical culture: she allowed the time and space to cultivate her own sense of herself and her voice, what she needed, and discern what she wanted to say and do.

She then sought help when she was good and ready, and could ask clearly for what she needed.

YES.

And my biggest takeway from working with the best coaches at the Met? 

Be like Deb.

Honor yourself, and please honor your needs. This may be an unpopular opinion, inasmuch as your ego is concerned. There is a lot of gray area here, and no conclusive answers to your most burning questions in the immediate moment.

There is a lot of inner and outer noise about how and who and what to be. Please hear me: the only voice that truly matters is the one deep within your heart and soul.

What would happen if you let that inner voice guide you, rather than the crowd? What inner magic would be cultivated if you could stir your own artistic cauldron? Take a moment to at least ask the question: how do I envision using my voice right now? 

Hugs, 

allison

IMAGE: Photo by Meredith Owens on Unsplash 

further reading

What is essence of your voice?
What is essence of your voice?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

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How to make beautiful sound
How to make beautiful sound

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel Last night I was scurrying home from the grocery store, and pulled into my driveway just after dusk. As I was gathering my bags from the trunk, I turned to look up at the chilly sky. (I always look up whenever I am outside.) I spied...

read more
Naked singing
Naked singing

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel No, no, no. Not what you think. Not really, anyway. But why does singing sometimes feel so naked? Especially when you are going solo. Just you and your voice. You and your sound. You and your thoughts. (Oh, the thoughts!) You and...

read more

to err is human

to err is human

to err is human

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

I have mastered the art of “Don’t let ’em see you sweat.” That’s easy. That’s what you learn in professional training: the art of illusion.

What I have not mastered is the art of Not Sweating.

Have you? What do you sweat about?

I sweat about, oh God, the same thing I always do: sounding nice.

Seriously. After allllll this time and work and care and thought and healing and tears and journaling and practice and blog posts and coachings.

Do I sound… nice?

At present I find myself on the opposite end of a recent production in which I masterminded every artistic element with intentionality and purpose. Except my own performance. That was left utterly to chance, to improv, to trust that my decades of skill-building and half-decent form would lead the way, and I could breeze through without a drop of sweat.

My friend, that did not happen.

No one can see me sweating, that is my magic trick. But if my thoughts were any indication, I was swimming in anxiety, trying to settle my nerves, get back into my body (which had left the building, maybe I wore the wrong shoes?), and get present enough to draw on my very abundant inner resources for having a beautiful experience.

But the mind hijacked the situation: do I sound nice?

What would your mind say?

Why?

The mind is compensating.

This lesson is so big that it is difficult to contain.

There is so much power running through our vocal circuits, that we do not know how to hold space, so we short out. We are overwhelmed. The mind shorts our circuits. It is protecting us from the “discomfort” of our own power.

I guarantee you that is exactly what happened in my own situation. I felt like a lightning rod of creativity and vitality and adrenaline and sacredness. But the best I could come up with was… does this sound nice?

How banal!

But it worked. I faltered and stumbled. I was left with that feeling of “If only I… (practiced more. learned my lesson. didn’t have that stupid f&%^ing mask. wasn’t singing in a pandemic. wore a different dress. thought this through. wasn’t so lazy.)”

And not only do I have to wince as I listen to the results, but I have to share this on the internet for Planet Earth to hear me sweat.

It takes a huge heaping dose of Inner Grace to understand what really occurs in these moments of absolute humanness: we must falter in order to grow. We must accept the  seemingly intolerable discomfort of the learning process, because there is only one way to go. We must walk through the fire of our ego’s matrix of self-protections.

Because on the other side we meet our divine purpose.

I, too, am learning how to inhabit a vessel of immense sacred power, as I learn how to use my voice. It is an educational cycle: we learn and re-learn the same lessons as we continue to up-level, evolve, and live into that elusive purpose that is right under our noses.

The lesson is always kinder, deeper, and broader than it seems.

So the next time you start sweating, recognize the mind’s banter. Then ask yourself:
What is my soul trying to bring forth through my voice?

My follow-up question to you is: are you willing to let some of that out here on Planet Earth?

Hugs,

allison

further reading

What is essence of your voice?
What is essence of your voice?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

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How to make beautiful sound
How to make beautiful sound

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel Last night I was scurrying home from the grocery store, and pulled into my driveway just after dusk. As I was gathering my bags from the trunk, I turned to look up at the chilly sky. (I always look up whenever I am outside.) I spied...

read more
Naked singing
Naked singing

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel No, no, no. Not what you think. Not really, anyway. But why does singing sometimes feel so naked? Especially when you are going solo. Just you and your voice. You and your sound. You and your thoughts. (Oh, the thoughts!) You and...

read more

clarify your vision for your voice

clarify your vision for your voice

clarify your vision for your voice

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

 As we have safely landed on the shores of 2021, I have found myself wanting and hungry for the Next Steps.

What in the heck should I do now? 

However, I know now that I am getting ahead of myself. Because one of the most valuable lessons I have gained this past year is that: right action follows clarity of purpose.

Of course, we can continue to go about our business, bumping into things and figuring it all out for ourselves as we go. But it all feels a bit meandering, and not entirely satisfying. But there is a wiser course of action. It requires cultivating some inner space and time to get clear on the bigger picture.

So I have a question for you: What is the vision for your voice?

If you ask the question earnestly, and take the time and space to ruminate upon it, you will come closer seeing your vision not only clarify, but manifest in your life. 

I so sincerely believe in this exercise. It has changed the course of both my personal relationship with my voice, and my professional career in profound ways.

I encourage you to create some space for this question, especially if you, too, are hungry for the Next Steps but are not sure where to start.

The Practice

This is a journaling exercise. If you are someone that journals, you will understand the power of this practice. If you are not, or feel resistance to it, I understand. But lean into it. Clarity will pursue your hard efforts, and the results will be worth every drop of emotional sweat.

Create a quiet, safe space for yourself where you will be free of interruptions, and can meaningfully engage with these questions. Take out your favorite journal, or keep a voice journal, dedicated to the voice journey you are on.

Start — always — by mindfully connecting with your heart center, and inviting your connection with your Sacred, inner voice. (Here, my friend, is where the real wisdom lies within you.)

Allow your breath to flow. Do not concern yourself with the distraction of the quality of your breath. Just let it be your companion. 

And now, read each prompt and let the question sit in your heart. Then, let your pen flow. It will move of its own accord. Your practice is to simply allow it to move, without judgment or analysis of the response. 

When you finish with the prompts below, continue to write whatever you wish. You needn’t stop! The journal is a holding space. It serves as your own personal incubator for the spirited creativity that resides within you that needs a place to be born.

Journal Prompts

+ What is the vision for my Sacred Voice?

+ How am I called to use my voice?

+ How do I want to feel when I sing?

+ What is the music?

+ Who is my audience?

+ What am I meant to learn?

+ Do I need a guide to help me realize this vision?

+ What do I need to let go of in order to realize this vision?

+ What do I need to heal in order to realize this vision?

+ What is my healing process?

+ What action do I need to take in order to live into this vision?

 

Enjoy the process, Dear One. Your ideas are precious, and your voice is sacred. What we need out here in the world is for you to unleash this force of beauty, spirit, and personal vision. It is your gift to give, and ours to receive.

Hugs,

allison

welcome to
The Studio!

I’m Allison Mondel, Transformational Voice Coach and big-hearted seeker on a mission to help others discover their innate, brilliant Sacred Voice, and transform their singing and their lives.

IMAGE: Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

further reading

What is essence of your voice?
What is essence of your voice?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

read more
How to make beautiful sound
How to make beautiful sound

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel Last night I was scurrying home from the grocery store, and pulled into my driveway just after dusk. As I was gathering my bags from the trunk, I turned to look up at the chilly sky. (I always look up whenever I am outside.) I spied...

read more
Naked singing
Naked singing

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel No, no, no. Not what you think. Not really, anyway. But why does singing sometimes feel so naked? Especially when you are going solo. Just you and your voice. You and your sound. You and your thoughts. (Oh, the thoughts!) You and...

read more

great arises out of small things

great arises out of small things

great arises out of small things

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

This post could also be entitled: The most unhelpful advice your ego could ask for.

Because let’s be honest: we all want Great Things right now. And according to Eckhart Tolle, a remarkable spiritual teacher, the great things are simply an illusion. 

I recall when I first heard about Eckhart’s second book, “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.” I thought to myself: I WANT TO AWAKEN MY LIFE’S PURPOSE! 

Doesn’t everyone?

So I bought the book, I listened to him speak with Oprah (who’s a big fan), I watched him on YouTube, and I was ready for Eckhart to tell me What I Should Do to get a quick and clear answer to my burning question. And when he told me what that was, my first thought was: THIS IS THE BIGGEST LOAD OF B.S. I HAVE EVER HEARD.

Because he wouldn’t tell me what I was supposed to do. Rather he told me that I need to inhabit the present moment and… allow

This is a quieter, more spacious kind of inner work. It is a break from the concept of implementation, and instead we encounter (and accept the value of) discovery

So it goes in our creative work, as well.

Are you hungry for answers, too? For a method? A way to fix/adjust/develop your voice? Do you want to know the purpose for your creative voice? There are four very important things to know:

1) Your voice is capable of the things that you desire. It does not require fixing. It requires a quieter, more accepting Self who is able to mindfully curate the use and care of your voice.

2) You need to provide a safe inner space for your creative unfolding. Get the Ego in check and be wise to her/him: because the first thing she/he will do is tell you that THIS IS B.S. and do everything to sabotage you from that space of inner listening.

3) You need to accept the process of the unfolding of your voice, and trust every little speck of information that is revealed to you as valid, and that your progress is marked by small steps, not great leaps.

4) You need to show up for yourself. Meaning, if you really truly desire a shift in your experience of your voice, you need to let go of your grip on what you “should” be doing or that you are not where you “should” be. But support yourself, and accept where you are, and get out of your own way of resisting the process.

This is a quote from Eckhart’s book (p. 266), in which he responds to questions from his hungry audience. I resonate with this question particularly, and am going to assume that you do, too. 

QUESTION: I am afraid of never rising above mediocrity, never daring to achieve anything great, not fulfilling my potential.

RESPONSE: The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for. Everybody’s life really consists of small things. Greatness is a mental abstraction and a favorite fantasy of the ego. The paradox is that the foundation for greatness is honoring the small things of the present moment instead of pursuing the idea of greatness.

Our voice journey is brimming with small moments. Perhaps you have discovered some of those moments yourself. I hope you sense the power therein. Trust them. They are your stepping stones, your signposts, your way-showers.

The compass, however, is within your heart.

Our voice work is not to push or pull a few levers and expect answers to questions such as How Can I Not Embarrass Myself? Rather, listen and watch from a quieter place within. If those little things are the most important, then you need to be soft enough, quiet enough, spacious enough to catch them.

And accept that no matter where you are, you are on the way, and that the way is just right where you need to be.

Hugs,

allison

welcome to
The Studio!

I’m Allison Mondel, Transformational Voice Coach and big-hearted seeker on a mission to help others discover their innate, brilliant Sacred Voice, and transform their singing and their lives.

IMAGE: Photo by Henry & Co. on Unsplash

further reading

What is essence of your voice?
What is essence of your voice?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

read more
How to make beautiful sound
How to make beautiful sound

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel Last night I was scurrying home from the grocery store, and pulled into my driveway just after dusk. As I was gathering my bags from the trunk, I turned to look up at the chilly sky. (I always look up whenever I am outside.) I spied...

read more
Naked singing
Naked singing

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel No, no, no. Not what you think. Not really, anyway. But why does singing sometimes feel so naked? Especially when you are going solo. Just you and your voice. You and your sound. You and your thoughts. (Oh, the thoughts!) You and...

read more