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Christina Laur-Nuernberger: An Introduction to a Vocal Athlete

My career lightning bolt moment hit me as I was sitting in a five day voice workshop in Pennsylvania. For as long as I could remember, I had been seeking to integrate the two things I enjoyed most: art and science. I had been a performer, singing and dancing my way through the early years and into a degree in music, meanwhile devouring books and courses on anatomy, physiology, and rehabilitation. As I sat in a cool, darkened theater watching in wonder as magnified vocal folds moved on the screen, I realized the perfect intersection of my two opposite, yet extraordinarily intertwined interests: I wanted to train and rehabilitate the voice. I would become a voice specialist within the field of speech-language pathology. Fast-forward a couple years, and the presenter of that Pennsylvania course was mentoring me through a voice certification as I was completing my Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Now five years later, I work with singers, actors, teachers, business professionals, and other public speakers to optimize vocal performance and health while honoring an authentic voice.

On the most basic level, our voice is a primary way we express ourselves. Supporting others to identify and then manifest an authentic, healthy voice is the foundation of my approach. Whether I am working with a patient recovering from vocal injury, supporting voice modification along the path for transgender clients, refining a singer's technique, sharing vocal health tips with business professionals, modifying intonation with an accent modification client, or working alongside public speakers on presentation skills, I first help to identify the components being worked on, increase awareness of the voice, and then support a training process which leads to clients literally sharing their voices with the world. Using the voice for speaking or singing can be trained like any other physical skill. Just as an athlete combines body parts (arms, hands, legs, feet, torso, etc.) to complete different movements, speakers and singers can combine the components of voicing (including: vocal folds, thyroid cartilage, velum, false vocal folds, cricoid cartilage, among others) to produce different voice qualities. Singers, speakers and athletes can improve their practice or craft by cultivating focused, deliberate practice and training in an incremental, systematic way. Improving the voice can be approached within the context of the whole person: a blend of art and science allowing us to speak an inner truth clearly, both personally and professionally.

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