The VASTA Voice

Volume 14, Issue 4


Table of Contents:

Committee Chair Updates and Columns
Conferences, Columns and Member News                                                                                               

A Message from the President

Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes

Greetings VASTA members:

I’m in the last few days of previews of a premiere staged production of All is Calm at Alabama Shakespeare festival, and I have been thinking about how VASTA’s influence helped me prepare for a show with ten actors portraying 39 characters in nine accents and four languages. The many presentations by and discussions with our VASTA family have continually challenged my approach to productions and continued to make me a better coach.  As we’ve just passed the US Thanksgiving holiday and are entering into the holiday season, I wanted to express my appreciation for all of you.  

I am excited to say that two amazing “Early Career Leaders” will join the VASTA board in its meetings this year.  We had an impressive talent pool to choose from, and I wish we were able to include more people, but I’m truly excited for the two who have been chosen.  Sammi Grant and Sarah Nichols will join the board for our annual meeting at the beginning of January. I look forward to having them not only so that they can see how VASTA operates but also so that we can learn from their perspectives.  

With that, I also want to thank our recent graduates, who comprise our third pair of “Early Leaders.” Joe Hetterling and Ann Marie Pollard have played an important part in our discussions about how VASTA can best serve its members.  I know that they will continue to offer valuable insights to this organization.  

Having been a part of discussions for our upcoming conference in Sydney, I know that the newsletter update from our conference planners will certainly pique your interest to join us at the conference.  They have some exciting presenters planned. They also fielded a record number of presentation and workshop applications. All this assures me that Sydney 2020 will be exciting and inspiring for all who attend.  

We have moved our annual board meeting to January of next year rather than meeting at the end of this year. Historically, the meeting had to take place by year’s end in order to approve the budget for the following year, as designated in our bylaws.  Now that we have many more meetings via web-conferencing, we can more easily approve the budget in that format and then equally divide the year for our in-person meetings. Important information from that meeting will come in the initial 2020 newsletter.   

I hope that all of you have a great finish to your year. If you celebrate a holiday at this time of year, I hope you have a joyous Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Yule and a very happy New Year.  

Please feel free to reach out to me if there is anything I can do for you. You can email me at 

Be well,

Michael J. Barnes

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Letter from the Editor

Hollace Starr

Photo of Hollace Starr, Editor of VASTA Voice

Dear VASTAns,

This is the final issue of 2019 and my final issue as editor.  I pass the torch to Ann Marie Pollard who has been so instrumental to The VASTA Voice this year.  I am grateful to Ann Marie for the ways in which she has supported this publication as associate editor.  And I am grateful for the many others who have played an important part in making The VASTA Voice what it is: grateful to our president Michael Barnes for his oversight, to our special contributors for their insights about best practices both for the health of our private businesses and for the health of our voices, to our committee heads and board liaisons for their reminders and updates in these pages, and to all of you for everything you do to keep our community vibrant and dynamic.  It’s because of all of you that there is so much to write about.

In this regard, the December issue is no different.  We have important reminders about Zoom meetings and grant application deadlines, articles from our regular columnists Dr. Yolanda Heman-Ackah and Meredith Colby, and important notices about Sydney 2020.  Also in this issue are a special contribution from Judith Shahn about her experience teaching Linklater Voice in Brazil and updates from grant recipients David Morden and Nancy Bos about Linklater Voice training and the SEMPRE conference, respectively.

So many of you work so hard to ensure that our work as voice and speech trainers continues to transform artists and impact lives.  I’ve learned so much from all of you this year.

Here's to a peaceful and restorative end-of-year.  Here's to taking a moment to reflect on the positive impact we can have so that we may move into 2020 with an even deeper connection to ourselves and to the world around us.  Here’s to all of you!



Editor, The VASTA Voice

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Yolanda D. Heman-Ackah, MD, MS, FACS


Current Centers for Disease Control Recommendations

Regarding Vaping




1. As of November 20, 2019, 2,290 cases of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI) have been reported to CDC from 49 states (all except Alaska), the District of Columbia, and 2 U.S. territories (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands) with 1903 cases having been reported in the time frame from March 31, 2019 to November 20, 2019.

2. Forty-seven deaths associated with vaping have been confirmed in 25 states and the District of Columbia (as of November 20, 2019) and more deaths are under investigation.

3. 1,184 patients had complete information on substances used in e-cigarette, or vaping, products in the 3 months prior to symptom onset, of whom (as of November 5, 2019)

a. 83% reported using THC-containing products; 35% reported exclusive use of THC-containing products.

b. 61% reported using nicotine-containing products; 13% reported exclusive use of nicotine-containing products.

c. 48% reported both THC- and nicotine-containing product use.

d. 4% reported no THC- or nicotine-containing product use.

4. Vitamin E acetate is used as an additive, most notably as a thickening agent in THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products.

a. Vitamin E is a vitamin found in many foods, including vegetable oils, cereals, meat, fruits, and vegetables. It is also available as a dietary supplement and in many cosmetic products, like skin creams.

b. Vitamin E acetate usually does not cause harm when ingested as a vitamin supplement or applied to the skin. 

c. When vitamin E acetate is inhaled, it may interfere with normal lung functioning.

5. Electronic cigarettes — or e-cigarettes — are also called vapes, e-hookahs, vape pens, tank systems, mods, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).  Using an e-cigarette product is commonly called vaping.

a. E-cigarettes work by heating a liquid to produce an aerosol that users inhale into their lungs.

b. The liquid can contain: nicotine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinoid (CBD) oils, and other substances and additives. THC is the psychoactive mind-altering compound of marijuana that produces the “high”.

6. While it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with e-cigarette/vaping associated lung injury (EVALI), evidence is not yet sufficient to rule out contribution of other chemicals of concern to EVALI.  Many different substances and product sources are still under investigation, and it may be that there is more than one cause of this outbreak.


1. Patients with e-cigarette/vaping associated lung injury have reported symptoms such as: 

a. cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain

b. nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea

c. fever, chills, or weight loss

2. Some patients have reported that their symptoms developed over a few days, while others have reported that their symptoms developed over several weeks.

3. A lung infection does not appear to be causing the symptoms.


1. CDC recommends that people do not use THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products

2. CDC recommends that people should not: 

a. Buy any type of e-cigarette, or vaping, products from informal sources like friends, or family, or in-person or online dealers.

b. Modify or add any substances to e-cigarette, or vaping, products that are not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail establishments.

3. The only way to assure that you are not at risk while the investigation continues is to consider refraining from use of all e-cigarette, or vaping, products.

4. E-cigarette, or vaping, products should never be used by youths, young adults, or women who are pregnant.

5. Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette, or vaping, products. There is no safe tobacco product. All tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, carry a risk.

6. THC use has been associated with a wide range of health effects, particularly with prolonged frequent use. The best way to avoid potentially harmful effects is to not use THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products. Persons with marijuana use disorder should seek evidence-based treatment by a health care provider.

7. Adults who continue to use an e-cigarette, or vaping, product, should carefully monitor themselves for symptoms and see a healthcare provider immediately if they develop symptoms like those reported in this outbreak.


The content of this article was excerpted in whole or in part from

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Committee Chair Updates and Columns

Awards and Grants Committee

Committee Chair: Liam Joynt


Photo of Kimberly Monhe Hill

Happy Holidays from the Awards and Grants Committee. 

Don’t forget about our Membership Enrichment Grants (MEG). MEG’s support our members who wish to host regional gatherings, mini-conferences or workshops. You can submit an application for financial support anytime of the year – there is no deadline – so give yourself the gift of a VASTA grant this holiday season.

For more info on MEG’s go to

For more info on all ten opportunities for funding from VASTA, go to and hover over the Resources drop down menu, then the Awards, Grants & Scholarships menu to explore the full list.

Below you'll find a report from David Morden, a recipient of the Dorothy Mennen Research/Development Grant.


 Peeling the Onion:

My Journey Towards Understanding the Linklater Voice Methodology

By David Morden

In the summer of 2012, I was hired by the University of Arizona to teach voice in the BFA Acting/Musical Theatre program. I had studied Kristin Linklater’s voice methodology with Judith Shahn in graduate school and had carried the work into my career but this was nearly twenty years later and my knowledge was a little ‘rusty.’ When the opportunity came to re-acquaint myself with the Linklater work through teaching, I not only took on the challenge of sharing this work with my students, I became a student myself with the goal of becoming a Designated Linklater Teacher, certified by Kristin Linklater herself.

Over the course of six years – and many trips to Los Angeles to study with Adele Cabot – I started at the beginning of the work again and re-learned it step-by-step. In 2015, about halfway through my journey toward designation, I experienced one of my first big breakthroughs in my understanding of the work. I had just been cast as Polonius in a production of HAMLET and Adele and I were working on Polonius’ advice to Laertes. She kept admonishing me to “just speak; just talk to him” (i.e., stop vocalizing and really think about what I was trying to communicate). When I finally let go and just spoke simply and from my gut, the character suddenly came into sharp focus. He was not a blowhard or the buffoon in the way that he was usually portrayed. I realized that he was a father who cared deeply about his son, offering him the best advice he could to keep him focused and out of trouble in his time at university. This clarity of thought in speaking Polonius’ words offered a major shift in my understanding of the character, as well as the voice work at large.

In 2018, Adele and I decided that I was ready to audition for the summer designation workshops with Kristin Linklater in Orkney, Scotland – two three-week training sessions with the end goal of certification. In the summer of 2018, along with 11 other trainees, I led a 45-minute warm-up while Kristin and six Designated Linklater Teachers (DLTs) observed and critiqued my knowledge of the work. While I felt that I knew the methodology fairly well (after all, I had been teaching it for five years), I was quickly disabused of that notion. Kristin expressed a lot of frustration that my voice was stuck in my throat and that I was using my chest resonance and lugubrious prosody to evoke a mood (relaxation…) instead of allowing my voice to awaken the group’s voices. In my journal that night, I wrote:

The most positive things she had to say were at the end of the warm-up. She talked about how, once I got to the sinus and nasal resonators, my voice started to show up and I became more present. By the time I got to articulators and arpeggios, she felt like I had finally arrived in the room. So, she released the group for a few minutes while she worked with me one-on-one. We started with the arpeggios that I did in the final section of the progression and then she had me speak from that place in my voice. Then I laid on the floor and spoke through the diagonal stretch from that more present place in my voice. And then the floodgates opened. I finally understood how little effort is needed to be authentic in my voice; that all that energy expended down in the chest and the throat and all those deep, rumbly places is not really sharing myself – open, vulnerable and present.

I had finally discovered the power (and ease) of my middle resonators. Following the three-week training, we were all sent home for the year to practice our teaching. We transcribed videos of all our training sessions and I took assiduous notes. My greatest stride forward in understanding came, however, when I decided to simply re-watch all the videos without taking any further notes. I was amazed at how, though I had solidified my knowledge of the work while taking notes, I discovered yet another deeper level of understanding by simply listening.

Near the end of the practice year, Adele Cabot was in Tucson and watched me teach a class. Her critique afterwards was stern and frank. She felt I was not yet ready for designation – mostly because I had not been able to observe anyone else teach the Linklater work and my approach to it was still ‘academic’ (my word, not hers). She stressed that I needed to take my focus off how I was teaching and whether I was saying it correctly and get it onto the students and whether they were experiencing it in the moment. On a very basic level, she said that I had to put my clipboard down and speak not from notes but from my own knowledge. I discovered that when I got rid of the crutch of my crib notes, I was more connected with the students, I was more present in the room and I was more thoughtful about what I was saying. It seemed like such a small adjustment to make, but the quality of my teaching took a massive leap forward just by getting my consciousness off the page and into the room.

In the summer of 2019, I returned to Orkney with my fellow trainees and we prepared for our final “test” – teaching a group of local residents who had never done the voice work before. For one week, we practiced teaching each other, followed by critiques with Kristin and the other DLTs. One of the most valuable bits of feedback from these practice classes was that I had to see the people in the room. One trainee pointed out that I was giving instructions for the new exercises before the students had completed the last exercise. This simple observation led to an important shift in my style of teaching – so basic and yet so foundational: see what the students are doing and make sure that they have completed each experience before moving on to the next one. After a week of ‘practice teaching,’ we each had the opportunity to teach a specific part of the Linklater methodology to the local students. After a year of study and a week-and-a-half of intense preparation, I guided the group through a discovery of their middle/sinus resonators. It was kind of revelatory to teach something that I had focused on so intensely for so long – and to teach it from my own knowledge, experience and understanding. 

At the end of the second training course, I was conferred the title of Designated Linklater Teacher – the culmination of a six-year journey. What struck me most, having achieved this goal, was the feeling that, while I had brought several years of study to a successful conclusion – it wasn’t actually a conclusion. Suddenly, I felt that I was back at the beginning of the path and that the real journey still lay ahead for me. In the year(s) ahead, I would not necessarily be referring to my notes or the videos of the training sessions every day. It was (and is) now up to me to own the material, know the methodology and share in the way that I was able to do in Orkney. The study continues and, as I said in my self-evaluation after teaching my class, I might not have gotten it perfect, but I have at least another twenty years to work on that.

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Committee Co-Chairs: Thea May and Cliff Miller


There is no Lighthouse session for December. Our next Lighthouse session will be: 


"Coaching Lawyers and Political Candidates" hosted by Rena Cook!

January 6th 2020 (time TBC)

Lighthouse sessions are 90-minute learning sessions held on Zoom. They cover a wide variety of topics. From setting up as an independent practice, to translating your practice for the business world. Whether your clients are business people, artists, or other professional speakers, you can learn skills and share challenges in these wonderful vibrant sessions.


Below you will find how to access previous Lighthouse Sessions:

Go to

Enter your username and password

Hover the mouse over "MEMBERSHIP"

Hover the mouse over "MEMBERS' ONLY RESOURCES"

Hover the mouse over "BizCore"

Click on "Training Recordings" and you're there!

(Remember, you must be logged in to view the content)

Thank you to this year's fabulous hosts who have enriched the VASTA community with their expertise:

Elissa Weinzimmer

BettyAnn Leeseberg-Lange

Sylvie Lui

Cheryl Moore Brinkley

Thea May

Pamela Prather

Rena Cook

And thank you to the participants who made these sessions engaging. We are scheduling our next Lighthouse Sessions for 2020! If you would like to host a session next year, please email

Warm Regards,

Thea & Cliff



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Financial Oversight Committee

Committee Chair: Past President Betty Moulton

Photo of Betty Moulton

The Financial Oversight committee had its 4th quarter Zoom meeting mid-November to preview the annual budget proposed for the fiscal year 2020 (good grief, how did we get to 2020??!!). The board had voted in the summer to add this step to our procedures to streamline the review of the budget in the next board meeting, mid-December. President Michael Barnes, member-at-large William Ryder and Director of Operations Nancy Bos had worked through Quickbooks to set up the budget well, and the committee approved of the distribution of expenses. We will recommend that the board approve it as well. 

VASTA sets forth a balanced budget every year and works hard to use our income to support as many member initiatives as possible. Don't forget to check the Resources section on the website for Awards and Grants you may be eligible for!

Please feel free to connect with this committee with any ideas you may have for fundraising. Our main income streams are membership dues and conference registrations, so any other initiatives would be a valuable addition to income.

All the best from the FOC for a happy holiday season and a peaceful and joyous New year.

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Interdisciplinary Engagement Committee

Committee Chair: Colton Weiss

Photo of Colton Weiss

News from the Engagement Committee …

KCACTF Festivals

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to work with KCACTF festivals so far!

If you have any questions, please reach out to Foster Johns. 

Interdisciplinary Engagement Grants

The committee is pleased to share the following article from Nany Bos’ recent attendance at the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE) in Bath, England.


Singing Through Change meets Music Psychology Research

By Nancy Bos

On November 8th, I was fortunate to present Singing Through Change: Women’s Voices in Midlife, Menopause, and Beyond to the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE) in Bath, England. I am grateful to VASTA for financial assistance through the Interdisciplinary grant as well as to SEMPRE for additional financial assistance.


Singing Through Change is a project by Cate Frazier-Neely, VASTA member Joanne Bozeman, and myself, to discover how and why women’s singing voices change through the menopausal process and aging. Our research includes a phenomenological study of nearly 60 women, as well as gathering all available resources on the topic. Our work together as a team was cemented at the Seattle VASTA/PAVA conference. At this time we are beginning to share our findings through talks, articles, podcast interviews, a very active Facebook community of over 1000 people, and a book which will come out in the spring of 2020.


The SEMPRE conference was a one-day event held at Bath Spa University. Presenters came from the UK, Germany, Norway, and the US. SEMPRE is the only society which embraces research in both music education and music psychology, providing an international forum to encourage the exchange of ideas and to disseminate research findings. For those interested in research around psychology and music, I highly recommend the SEMPRE Journals.


My presentation set out first to define what resources are available for women singing through midlife voice changes. There are only 5 studies looking at fewer than 300 women, and less than a dozen known dissertations. I also defined what population our research is investigating. The voice changes that accompany women’s menopausal shift can begin 8 - 10 years before menopause, during the phase called perimenopause. The average age for menopause in the US and UK is 51. However, one woman in our study experienced natural menopause at 38 and another at 59, so there is a wide range. Also, women can experience menopause earlier due to hysterectomies, medical conditions, or medical treatments. The vocal effects through perimenopause might be barely noticeable, but in about half of the population there are many impacts to the voice, some of which can, at the very least, take away some of the joy of singing, and at the most, end a career.


The second part of the talk outlined some of the effects that hormone changes have on the voice. The vocal folds contain estrogen receptors, so vocal changes are inevitable as estrogen levels decrease and the corresponding percentage of testosterone increases. Additionally, there is usually a change in viscosity of the mucus of the throat and mouth - many women complain of phases of extremely dry throat and mouth. We then include the effects of aging on the voice, such as changes to the respiratory system, structure of the vocal folds, and neurology. In our research we are looking in-depth at approximately fifty different ways that women and their singing can be impacted by these hormone and aging changes.


The 10 other presenters at this conference spoke on a wide variety of fascinating topics. They included: 

  • The transmission of musical ideas between cultures: understanding processes of communication and learning
  • Teaching music expression using data visualisation and machine learning models 
  • The Effects of attentional focus on motor skill performance

The keynote was: Conceptualisation and development of expression in music performance by Dr Renee Timmers.


The field of music psychology is a new one to me. However, it has actually been a field of study for over 50 years. There are several universities that offer advanced degrees, in the US, UK and other countries. A quick internet search helped me find a resource describing the education options at I can see where there would be lots of cross-over to our acting programs as well, especially in studies involving best rehearsal practices and learning practices. Although SEMPRE focuses on all types of music, not just singing, I found relevance to singing in all of the presentations at the conference.


SEMPRE is very open to collaboration with other organizations - they are eager to have their knowledge shared. They have a treasure chest of research and studies that are relevant, especially to those of us who work with singing voice, but also to some degree to those who teach acting voice. I recommend that SEMPRE be included in future conference announcements with the hope that SEMPRE researchers will be able to present on their work. I would also recommend looking for opportunities to make relevant studies known to VASTA members through our publications and social media.


Aside from the conference, I took advantage of the opportunity to spend a day with Daron Oram at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (he called it “Take Nancy Bos to work day.”) I also had meetings with Thea May, who is the co-chair of VASTA’s BizCore, and with Jenevora Williams, who is a VASTA member actively working in research and teaching in singing voice, and with Rebecca Mosley-Morgan who is the director of the British Voice Association.




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Mentorship Initiative Committee

Committee Chair: Ursula Meyer





On Sunday, November 17 (or early in the morning on the 18th of November for our Aussie friends), Amy Chaffee moderated  a terrific Mentorship Zoom Panel with guest panelists from Ireland, Canada and Oregon and DC in the states. Freelancing was the focus: how to start and why. Having your own space, how to market your beginning venture and finding the courage to make the leap to freelancing and begin your own business.


Guest panelists were 

Helena Walsh (Dublin, Ireland)

Beth Gudenrath (Ashland, OR, USA)

Zachary Campion (District of Columbia, USA)

Donya Metzger (Vancouver, B.C. Canada) 

Thank you Amy for organizing and curating this stimulating panel!

Missed the panel? Just click on this link to connect you to a recording of the event !



The next Mentorship Panel will happen:

 January 19 (8:30pm London GMT; 3:30pm New York EST) / January 20 (7:30am Sydney AEDT).

Our topic will be: Negotiations: Asking for What You Want - Moderated by Jeremy Sortore

Panelists will discuss their experiences of negotiating across academia, theatre, and media, and attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and contribute to the discussion. Please join us!



March 21 - “ The Interview Process-from CV to Job Talk to Workshop/Presentation”

– Moderator/Curator Ursula Meyer

May 16 - “ Working in Australia – Coaching/Training/All things Professional Voice”

- Moderator/Curator Jennifer Innes



Again, if any of you are interested in any aspect of the mentorship paradigm, please contact the committee for more information. During these last few months we have participated in reviewing CVs and job applications, conducted short workshops in voice methodologies for student voice teachers, exchanged information on various class materials, and built upon conversations started in our early Zoom panels. We look forward to continuing to expand ways to connect Vasta members to each other. Let us know what your interests are and how we can support those interests in our future mentorship activities. 

See you in the New Year! 

The Mentorship Initiative Committee. 

-  Jeremy Sortore, Amy Chaffee, Jennifer Innes, and Ursula Meyer, Chair

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Teaching and Learning Committee

Committee Chair: Ann Marie Pollard

In this month’s newsletter, the Teaching and Learning Committee is featuring a short write up from one of our Committee Members, Susan Schuld. Susan is an Assistant Professor of Voice and Speech at the University of Florida and contributed thoughtful insights, ideas, and discussion points during our “Things That Work” Community Meeting on October 23rd. See Susan’s excerpt below. 


The Teaching and Learning Committee had a wonderful Zoom session on October 23rd.  In attendance was Stacey Cabaj, Deric McNish, Janel Miley, Susan Schuld, Jeremy Sortore, Diane Robinson, and Ann Marie Pollard.  

For our “Things that Work” session, Stacey Cabaj and Deric McNish led the discussion.  Participants shared their experiences and resources of "how to assist students to enter the classroom and work in a healthy emotionally balanced manner."  When students are in a stressed anxious state, they are less likely to walk into a creative state of mind.

Some exercises that have been working to help students regulate their nervous systems are meditation and mindfulness practices by Emily Fletcher, Chekhov’s Legato/Staccato ensemble exercise, mindful rituals and mantras that bring students into the present, and centering exercises that awaken all 5 senses in the present moment.

We wrapped up our session of “Things that Work” with a discussion of what it means to have a ‘deregulated’ nervous system and how it affects our student’s abilities to interact in a creative state.  

In addition to this fruitful discussion held in late October, this quarter showed great potential for growth within the Teaching and Learning Committee. 

  • We gathered to discuss the current charge of the Committee and reached a general consensus that continuing regular Community Meetings, continuing VASTA Book Club meetings, and increasing discussions on practice-based research would prove beneficial.
  • We paired a few TLC members with the Mentorship Initiative to work on Job Applications and are looking forward to continuing to support the Mentorship team on their efforts.
  • In November we hosted the VASTA Book Club featuring a discussion of Daron Oram’s current practice-based research. We’d like to thank Daron for his contributions to the field, for his willingness to discuss his work, and for inspiring all of us to dig deep into our practices.

Our next Community Meeting will be held in the third full week of January.

To receive regular TLC updates, to suggest a topic for a Book Club, or to take part in a Things That Work Session, please e-mail Ann Marie at

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Conferences, Columns, and Member News

VASTA Conference 


Sydney 2020 Conference Update


Everyone’s talking about Sydney 2020! We can’t wait to welcome VASTAns to Australia and give you an insight into the incredible arts industry Down Under.

Important Information

The Schedule at a Glance is now online! Please keep in mind that this schedule is subject to change. It’s provided so that you can note start and end times of the Conference, and plan your travel and attendance accordingly. You can view the schedule here.  

VASTA has joined with Sydney Lodges to offer affordable, boutique accommodation nearby to NIDA. You can view the range of accommodation options here.

Are you looking to spread your wings beyond Sydney? We’ve pulled together a group of Aussie Helpers from all over the country who can provide you with information about local events, professional development opportunities, workshop venues and professional networks across the country. You can find an Aussie Helper here. 

Registrations open in February 2020! Ticket prices can be viewed on the Sydney 2020 webpage.

We look forward to seeing VASTA members at NIDA 24 – 28 July 2020!

While you're here:

The Australian Voice Association is holding its multidisciplinary Voice Conference in Melbourne from July 17 to July 19, 2020!  The dates were selected to complement the 2020 VASTA Conference in Sydney the following weekend. AVA programming will incorporate workshops, masterclasses, panel discussions and papers from a wide range of professional Voice areas. These include performance voice, occupational voice, dialect, corporate voice and public speaking, pedagogy (singing, choral, spoken), musculoskeletal approaches to voice care, transgender voice to name a few!

More information about the AVA Conference is available here.

If you're booking flights to visit Australia, consider visiting Melbourne and participating or submitting a presentation proposal here:

We hope you can make it!

In the meantime, if you have any questions, you can contact us at

Amy Hume, Jennifer Innes and Katerina Moraitis

Sydney 2020 Conference Co-Directors

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Freelance Coaching Column

Meredith Colby

4 Ways to Keep Private Students 

(Or Keep Them Away)


Scott is 24 and has more ink than Office Max.

He’s pierced, wears make-up, and attaches chains to his black clothes. To look at him, you might not imagine that Scott is sweet, responsible, and respectful.

Scott is young and determined to be a musician. But if he ever has to leave his creative cocoon to make money, he may have a problem. If you didn’t know Scott, you might not get into his Lyft car, or let him inspect your chimney, or hire him at your office. 

The fact that you wouldn’t trust Scott based on his looks alone makes perfect sense to you. But it doesn’t occur to Scott; he knows he’s a great guy. 

That’s because of the reality that people respond both to other people, and to their environments, instantly and viscerally. Right this second, from the gut. 

That’s why Scott’s issue is your issue. 

Your clients are reacting to you the same way. Simple things are affecting them in a way that could strongly influence both the way they treat you and the way they treat their lessons; simple things you may not notice as being detrimental. To you, they’re normal. 

That normal stuff might be costing you thousands of dollars a year. 

Any psychologist can tell you that we make decisions based on our beliefs. Our beliefs arise from our perceptions, which are intertwined with our personal biases. We might justify our decisions intellectually, but they’re rooted in our emotional responses. 

I want to help you make the biases of your clients work in your favor. People who work alone and from their homes (or shared offices) typically fall prey to one or more of these, and any one of them could be costing you money!

Here are a few of the most common culprits:

1. Studio appearance
2. Professional appearance
3. Studio traffic
4. Written communication


You may be right at home with a bit of clutter, but your clutter is communicating something to your clients.

If students perceive your space as disorganized, they may perceive YOU as disorganized and unprofessional. This can translate – whether intentional or not - into frequent cancellations, late payments, and short relationships.


This is the personal version of the previous tip. We’re self-employed (we might work at home) our clients know and love us, and they’re hiring us for our expertise, not our looks. Our appearance shouldn’t matter.

But, like the way you might respond to my student Scott, your clients will respond to your appearance in a way that you might not intend.

You don’t need to wear a power suit and full make-up, but you need to appear professional. It costs you money and referrals if you don’t.  


If you teach from your home, you have both challenges and freedoms that you wouldn’t have in a school or conservatory.

You’ve had years of training, and are probably not self-conscious in a voice lesson. Not so with your students. With few exceptions, they’re self-conscious and nervous. They feel vulnerable. They need to trust both you and their environment. Your studio should be a place where they feel safe. 

A teaching space that your teenager has to walk through to get to the kitchen is costing you students. A waiting area that affords a view into the teaching area is causing your students anxiety that they won’t be willing to tolerate for long. 

But you have to live where you live, so what’s a voice pro to do? Here are three

1) Creative options
2) Sight lines
3) Schedules

Creative options:

Nowhere is it written that you must sleep in your bedroom, or dine in your dining room.

When my friend Sharon was teaching from her one-bedroom apartment, she closed off the living room for her bedroom, made the dining room into the all-purpose room (where students and parents could wait) and the adjacent bedroom into her studio. It was a creative solution, that gave Sharon and her students the privacy they needed.

Sight lines:

Those “privacy” curtains that go around hospital beds doesn’t silence your roommate’s conversations. The fence separating your yard from your neighbors doesn’t keep their dog from barking.

Keeping someone from seeing the person who is listening to them can offer a sense of security and privacy. It’s not a sure thing, but it can help.


If a private studio is impossible, you may have to bite the bullet and schedule for privacy. For example, give 45-minute sessions, but schedule clients on the hour.



We’ve all been the teacher who assumes her students will respect her policies, and then the student doesn’t. We’re left wrestling with how to get paid without damaging the relationship. 

Going forward, let your policies work for you more effectively. 

The first time you meet a new client, hand them a paper copy of your policies and talk through them. (The fewer policies you have, the better.) Having done that, the policies - or the client’s choices - become the bad guy. You can blame your policies, and never apologize for them.


 “Shoot! I wish you’d called me to reschedule earlier in the week… I might
have been able to find you a make-up time! But I know we went over that
policy together; you cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice, so I have to
charge you.”
“It’s exciting that Emily got cast, and I’d be happy to hold her space for her.
As you remember from my studio polices, I can hold her space for the month
if I can charge you for 3 of the 4 lessons she’ll miss (attach web page link). If
YOU ARE unable to save her space, please feel free to call me next month to
see if I still have anything available. If I can, I’ll try to accommodate you”.

If these are new ideas to you, you may be uncomfortable with them. Rationally defending yourself against these ideas is easy. Especially if you’re the warm, fuzzy person that we voice pros tend to be.
Plugging these holes in your business, though, will help protect you against those financial and interpersonal parts of teaching that you hate. That, along with making more money, might be worth a little change.

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Member Highlight Column


Reflections on Teaching a Linklater Workshop in Brazil

by Judith Shahn

Since I’ve retired three years ago from the University of Washington’s School of Drama, there have been a wonderful variety of professional work opportunities and I have taken advantage of many of them. After 26 years at the School of Drama’s Professional Actor Training Program, which had a vigorous structure and demanding schedule, it has been a creative endeavor to remake my life.

I continue with my business, Vibrant Speaking, where I work with professionals in the business sector, law, marketing, finance, the medical profession and others in Presentation Training, Public Speaking, Vocal Training and Accent Modification. I continue to dialect coach in Seattle area theatres. In the last two years, I have acted in two professional productions and I have begun teaching internationally, which has always been a dream of mine. My colleague, Kimberly White and I have taught Linklater Voice intensives in Seattle for years, but in the past two years we created a Women’s Voice Retreat in Chacala, Mexico. There is something unique about being away from home in a beautiful place by the sea with the support of other women to invite change to take place. In the past two years, I have been assisting and co-teaching with Kristin Linklater at the KLVC (Kristin Linklater Voice Center) in Orkney, Scotland. Although I became a DLT (designated Linklater teacher) in 1991, I have kept in touch with Kristin, participating in teacher trainings and conferences in order to stay current with the latest in the training. Kristin continues to explore new pathways through the voice. Every time I go to Orkney (once a year for the past three years), there are new and inspiring revelations. For example, Kristin has been fascinated by neuroscience and it’s effect on communication and the connection between singing and speaking.

It is at the KLVC that I met Danilo Souto Pinho from Fortaleza, Brazil. He invited me to teach an introductory Linklater workshop to Brazilian voice teachers who are not familiar with the Linklater method. The group of Brazilian voice teachers has been meeting once a year for almost ten years. They call themselves: Seminario a Voz e a Cena. They do not have the organizational structure of VASTA (or the budget), but their desire to understand and further the teaching of voice is powerful.  I had 22 participants and many among them had top University positions in Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and all over Brasil. We had 5 full days for the workshop. I had a translator, Isabella Floripa, who was familiar with Kristin’s book, but had never taken a workshop. I have great admiration for the task Isabella had. As you all know, the language of voice is imagistic as well as technical. Although we discussed and even rehearsed certain sequences, Isabella had to translate spontaneously everything I said. It challenged me to slow down and be very succinct.

My husband, Jay, came with me, and we spent two weeks traveling around this beautiful and passionate country so I would have some context with the people I was going to work with.

What I had no way of anticipating was the amount of openness and joy the Brazilian teachers brought into the room. Most of them were also actors, which gave them a sense of play, and as I have felt when I could remove my teacher hat and be a student again, it is liberating indeed.  We followed the Linklater progression of voice exercises as a structure and spent some time with short pieces of text in Portuguese on the last day. I had asked for English translations so I would have a clue as to what they were speaking. It still proved tricky for me. Many of them were poems by Portuguese writers with whom I was unfamiliar.  Nevertheless, the students were able to navigate some of the many things we had practiced during the week: Alignment, free breath, release of vibrations, resonance, clarity. All of these things in the service of “we don’t want to hear your voice, we want to hear YOU through your voice”, something Iris Warren (Kristin Linklater’s mentor) said many years ago and continues to inspire me to this day.

Jay came in to one session and photographed the work. I was worried that it might be intrusive in some way, but Jay used to be a professional photographer, and he knows how to fade into the wall. In all these years, he has never seen me teach, and I had never had someone document my work.  It is exciting to be able to share some of the images with you.

Many of you in VASTA know I have great joy in leading groups of people in song. This group took singing to a new level. They were unable to stand still and sing. They needed to move and move they did. Sometimes, the song spun out into playful improvisation. At different times during the week, I’d have conversations about the political reality in Brazil. One person said, “It’s like the dark night of the soul of our country.” I nodded in recognition.

Of course I felt nervous at the start of the workshop. I was prepared, I’d been teaching this work for 35 years, but the unexpected and the unknown can bring anxiety. I wanted to represent the Linklater work clearly, and, working with a translator, I was giving up a certain amount of control. But when I saw that I was being met more than halfway by these teachers, I could find my own joy! In fact, what I had to do was enter into their energy, their connection with each other and be curious about their experience. It was one of the most satisfying professional experiences I’ve had to date.

- Judith Shahn

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Voice and Speech Review

Rockford Sansom

Rockford Sansom

Hello, VASTA members,

The November 2019 (13.3) issue for the Voice and Speech Review (VSR) is available now on the VSR’s Routledge website. (See login instructions below). For those of you who signed up to receive the printed copy, you will receive the journal soon if you haven’t already. The 2019 volume printed and mailed in mid-November. Depending upon your global location, the journal may take 4-8 weeks to reach you.

There are several important announcements for the Voice and Speech Review (VSR):

1.     The VSR’s growth

Over the past two years, the VSR has grown tremendously. Readership has increased by over 300%. For 2019, we are on track to have over 25,000 readers (article downloads) by the end of the year. The readership and authorship are on six continents.  Nearly 57% of the readers are now outside of the United States, and nearly 41% of the readers are outside of the USA and the UK.

2.     The History of Voice Pedagogy…the book

This fall Routledge printed the VSR’s special issue, The History of Voice Pedagogy, as a book that is available in bookstores and online. All proceeds go directly to VASTA.

Add a copy to your home library and encourage colleagues and your university library to acquire a copy as well. Click here for more information. Get a 30% discount for a limited time. Use code: ADS19

3.     Free sample articles for 2019

Don’t forget that the VSR offers free sample articles each year. Please share these with your friends and colleagues. Click here for the list of the free sample articles for 2019. The next crop of free articles is coming in early 2020, so please share these current free articles while they are still available.

4.     Now accepting submissions for the 2021 volume

The next deadline for general article drafts is July 1, 2020. The 2020 volume is closed, so all new submissions will be for 2021 consideration. The journal processes articles in the order they are received. So, we encourage you to submit early!

Click here for the call for papers.

Please let me know if you have any questions, would like any further information, or would like to get involved in the VSR.

Most sincerely,

Rockford Sansom, Editor


Sample Articles from November 2019 (13.3) – Available Now!

Breath-Body-Self: Reflections on Performance-Based Approaches to Breath through a Women’s Theatre Project in South Africa by Sara Matchett

De-Colonizing Listening: Toward an Equitable Approach to Speech Training for the Actor by Daron Oram

An Integrative, Changing Practice: The Importance of Collaboration among Voice Professionals by Rachel K. Carter and Justin T. White

Vocal Traditions: Estill Voice Training by Kimberly M. Steinhauer and Mary McDonald Klimek

David Smukler: My Journey to Now by David Smukler


To Access the VSR Online

1) Go to the VASTA homepage (

2) Scroll to find “Click Here for VSR Online Access” on the right

3) Login

4) “Click to Read the VSR Online”


More Information about the VSR

About the VSR

Editorial Board 

Call for Papers

Author Guidelines 

Book and Media Review Information

Frequently Asked Questions 

Resources for Authors 

VSR Awards 

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Member News

Ann Marie Pollard

Please find Member News from members with last names S-Z below.Ann Marie Pollard

Questions or submissions for the Member News section should be emailed to Look forward to an announcement about submission guidelines in Early 2020! 

Thanks for all the updates in 2019,

Ann Marie Pollard                                                                      

Associate Editor, The VASTA Voice

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Angelicka NairAMY STOLLER (New York, NY) continues suiting the word to the action at Off-Broadway’s award-winning Mint Theater Company. Her most recent Mint projects were the American premieres of Elizabeth Baker’s The Price of Thomas Scott and Micheál mac Liammóir’s The Mountains Look Different. Also last season: the audiobook version of Anna Deavere Smith’s Notes from the Field, narrated by the author. This season Cheer from Chawton, a Jane Austen Family Theatrical, which Amy co-directed, enjoyed its fourth engagement in England as part of Bath’s annual Jane Austen Festival, and her client Ellen Gould’s Seeing Stars has been selling out at United Solo.


Linda Nichols Gidley

PHIL TIMBERLAKE (Chicago, IL) recently adapted Jane Austen's Emma for a cast of five actors. Lifeline Theatre (where Phil is an ensemble member) workshopped the play and produced it the summer of 2019. Following that, Phil attended Meredith Monk's workshop, "Voice as Practice," in upstate New York. Last year, he also dialect coached Mies Julie at Victory Gardens Theatre. This Fall marks the beginning of Phil's 14th year of teaching at DePaul University.


Andrew Papa

SARAH VALENTINE (Auckland, New Zealand) is celebrating the arrivals of so many new productions being shot in New Zealand including Lord of the Rings and Avatar.  Accent and Dialect Coaching has never been busier. With so many productions heading in from overseas the online courses created by Sarah have got lots of talent fizzing at the chance of using their American or British RP accents. Sarah runs a variety of 10 day Accent Challenges - in Standard American, British RP, Scottish, French English and Cockney, as well as one on one coaching via Skype for a myriad of other accents -including Standard American, Regional American Accents - including Southern, New York, Boston, California, Standard British and British RP, Regional British Accents - including West Country, Cockney, Scottish, Irish Welsh, Birmingham, Lancashire, Manchester, Liverpool, Geordie, West Country, Devonshire and Midlands. World Accents - South African, Indian, Jamaican, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Filipino. European Accents - German English, French English, and Russian/Eastern European. If you wish to learn an accent not listed please just email me on Sarah has also recently been asked by the South Seas Film School to come on board as a tutor for Accent Coaching starting in November 2019. Sarah can be booked at


Artemis Preeshl

DEB VICTOROFF (Brooklyn, NY) is happy to report that her play: "Letter From a Soldier: My Name is Al Saluter" has been accepted into the National Monologue Bank. She continues to offer accent reduction services via her work at AccentsOff, tutoring, coaching, correcting, and polishing Standard American English for a student body that includes executives, inventors, physicians, actors, students, journalists, engineers, lawyers, writers, directors; basically anyone with a dream to master Standard American English.


Sally Prosser

ELISSA WEINZIMMER (Brooklyn, NY) continues to build her coaching business Voice Body Connection, offering in-person and online training for speakers and performers. This past June she launched the How To Speak Your Truth podcast (available on apple, spotify, soundcloud, and stitcher) and an online coaching community to go along with it. And in January she will open enrollment for the second annual round of her online vocal tension release course Release Your Voice. She is also working on her first book.


Oscar Quiroz

COLTON WEISS (Columbus, OH) is finishing his first semester as an Adjunct Professor at Capital University. He spent the earlier part of the year coaching at Columbus Civic Theatre and Weathervane Playhouse (Newark, OH) where he dialect coached the Ohio premier of Matilda the Musical. He recently stepped into the role of Associate Conference Planner for VASTA at ATHE and is looking forward to working with the conference over the next few years. For the coming new year, he is working on a few journal submissions and will be attending the next KTS Experiencing Accents class in Long Beach, CA as he continues towards teacher certification.


William RyderDR PETRONILLA WHITFIELD  (United Kingdom)  Associate Professor in Voice and Acting on the Acting (Hons degree) at the Arts University Bournemouth, UK. My new book about helping acting students with dyslexia in their reading, understanding , speaking  and acting of the text (especially Shakespeare) has been published this year by Routledge (2019). It is called Teaching Strategies for Neurodiversity and Dyslexia in Actor Training: Sensing Shakespeare.  It addresses some of the challenges met by acting students with dyslexia and highlights the abilities demonstrated by individuals with specific learning differences in actor training. Utilising Shakespeare’s text as a laboratory of practice, the book offers six tested teaching strategies, created from practical and theoretical research investigations with dyslexic acting students. It is a valuable resource for voice and actor training, professional performance, and for those who are curious about emancipatory methods that support difference through humanistic teaching philosophies.

Rockford Sansom

JENEVORA WILLIAMS (Guildford, UK) has been running courses for singing teachers and choral directors in a variety of subjects through her company, Evolving Voice. Functional Anatomy is one of the main building blocks for these, learning what voice science feels, looks and sounds like. Vocal Health is also an essential part of all courses, but this training has been extended now for singing teachers wishing to be accredited Voice Rehabilitation Coaches. This is providing a much needed and highly specialised service for singers who are recovering from vocal injury. The most popular course, Teaching Young Voices, is based on her best-selling book Teaching Singing to Children and Young Adults. It has been run in cities all over Europe, and is coming to the US next summer - watch this space! In addition to these, Jenevora has been researching the neurology of singing, giving a new course on Singing in the Brain. This is a rapidly developing area of research, and we will be finding out a lot more information relating to this.


Joan Shirle

DAVID WILSON (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) is celebrating 8 years as Voice Teacher at MacEwan University, 7 years in a continuing collaborative relationship with the University of Alberta Voice Area, 8 years as Vocal Coach with Edmonton Musical Theatre, and 9 years as "Yoga, Breath & Support for Voice" Instructor with Cowtown Opera Summer Academy. In August of 2019 David received shipment of his Wilson Method Breath Balls, and has finished his accompanying downloadable user manual. These 4’, 5’ and 6’ Balls are made from high-quality vinyl (not plastic), and are softer than traditional body-rolling balls as they are made for soft tissue work. David employs these breath balls to help his clients help themselves: Challenges such as anxiety, hypertension, panic attacks, stage fright, asthma, COPD, lack of core strength, vocal pathologies and performance issues have shown marked improvement. He is currently working on his book and DVD “The Wilson Method for Voice”, and has recently joined Instagram and Facebook as The Wilson Method.  

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VASTA Board of Directors & Officers

Board of Directors

Michael Barnes
2018 - 2020

Betty Moulton
Past President 
2018 - 2020

Pamela Prather
President Elect
2018 - 2020





Micha Espinosa

Cynthia DeCure

Daron Oram

Kristi Dana


Antonio Ocampo-Guzman

Jeremy Sortore


Marie Ramirez Downing


Adriano A. Cabral






Nancy Bos
Director of Operations

Cynthia DeCure

Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion


Erin Nicole Washington 

Rockford Sansom

Editor-in-Chief, The Voice & Speech Review

Kate Glasheen
Reviews Editor, The Voice & Speech Review

Hollace Starr
Editor, The VASTA Voice

Ann Marie Pollard
Associate Editor, The VASTA Voice

Amy Hume

2020 Conference Co-Director

Jennifer Innes

2020 Conference Co-Director

Katerina Moraitis

2020 Conference Co-Director

Stacey Cabaj

ATHE Focus Group Conference Planner

Colton Weiss

Associate ATHE Conference Planner

Ginger Echart

Associate ATHE Conference Planner

Amy Chaffee
ATHE Focus Group Representative

Lynn Watson

Investments Officer

Kendra Kingsbury
Director of Technology/Web Services

Andrew Papa

Tech Team Member

Lauren Miller

Tech Team Member

Yolanda Heman-Ackah


 Officers, cont.

Amy Stoller
Editor, VASTA Links Page

Flloyd Kennedy
Editor, Workshop & Events Page

Janet B. Rodgers
VASTA Archivist 

Foster Johns

Social Media Content Manager







Committee Chairs

Liam Joynt
 Awards and Grants Committee

Joy Lanceta Coronel
 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Colton Weiss
Interdisciplinary Engagement Committee

Ann Marie Pollard
Teaching and Learning Committee

Indira Pensado
Global Communications Group

Dolly May and Cliff Miller
Business and Corporate Consulting Committee (BizCore)

Betty Moulton
Financial Oversight Committee

Ursula Meyer
Mentorship Initiative Committee




More organizational information available at VASTA.ORG


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©2010, Voice and Speech Trainers Association