In the eighth episode of our This Is A Voice podcast we’re talking Turning Points and sharing some of the most dramatic and important turning points in our lives before and after our marriage.

What drove us to make some of our biggest life-changing decisions?
What crisis led to our meeting?
What Gillyanne said after leaving the Estill organisation
What happened when Jeremy damaged his hand (twice)
Why crises in your life might be good for you
And what happened in Jeremy’s worst audition ever

Today’s podcast is sponsored by Canu Publishing
The Featured Resource today is: Why Do I Need A Vocal Coach? Stories, tips and hacks from the studio of a voice expert
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Singing and the Actor 
Successful Singing Auditions

Below is the transcript of the whole episode – you can listen on your favourite podcast platform (we’re on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and a host of others) or click on this link to go to our own This Is A Voice podcast website: https://thisisavoice.buzzsprout.com

Enjoy!

This Is A Voice podcast episode 8 – Turning Points

Announcer : 

This is a Voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.

Jeremy : 

Hello, and welcome to This is a Voice podcast. I’m Jeremy Fisher.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

I’m Gillyanne Kayes

Jeremy : 

We’ve got a really interesting topic for you today, which is Turning Points. And we’re talking about turning points and all the moments in our lives where we’ve gone: “Actually, we’re not going to do this, we’re going to do that instead”. And a lot of turning points, well no, a few turning points come from outside influences where you suddenly find that you can’t do what it was that you thought you were going to do. And obviously, there’s been a big one this year

Gillyanne Kayes : 

The global pandemic’s been one of those for sure.

Jeremy : 

Yeah. You know, there were all sorts things that we were going to do this year, which which didn’t happen. Mostly, I think turning points come from inside, it’s a decision that you make inside from information that you suddenly either find or realise or it’s just a feeling.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah, I think they’re signposts as well. And I think we really have to listen to them and pay attention to them, and work creatively with them. Rather than going, “Oh, my God, I’ve hit a brick wall here. And I’ll just keep hitting that brick wall.”

Jeremy : 

Yes. So we’re going to share some of our

Gillyanne Kayes : 

We’re going to share some of ours!

Jeremy : 

some of our turning points with you and some quite dramatic and some are gentle

Gillyanne Kayes : 

What, drama??? In Vocal Process?

Jeremy : 

Good lord no.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Okay. All right. Well, look, I’ll start to kind of talk about my journey, starting off life as a career singer. And making that turning point to becoming a career teacher.

Jeremy : 

Okay go.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Because some people might not know that I was a classical singer, I worked professionally for about 15 years, I was a big fan of lieder and art song, and also doing professional choral singing.

Jeremy : 

And this was before I met you

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Oh yeah, long before. And you know, this is this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a singer, whatever that means, because there are many varieties of that. But yes, how did I move into being a career teacher? Because like many people who started off life as a professional singer, I was doing a bit of teaching on the side.

Jeremy : 

Yes.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Without really knowing what I was doing, I was by no means alone in that.

Jeremy : 

I think that’s fairly normal.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah. And one of the things that happened to me was that I was asked to teach in a drama school. And suddenly, I was presented with groups. Now, that was one of the signposts along my way that I needed to find a new way of thinking about the voice and how to enable people to learn about the singing voice. So it was different from what I’d learned in the sort of the one to one studio setting.

Jeremy : 

Well, so much classical singing training is one to one.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Absolutely.

Jeremy : 

And it didn’t really… it wasn’t that useful.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

I didn’t know of anybody who was teaching singing in groups other than people in the drama sector. I could be wrong. But well, although you could say choral leaders were. So that was definitely a signpost. And then I think what really was my big turning point was I had a voice problem.

Jeremy : 

Yes.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And I was 26 years old. And I, I kind of hit this brick wall, you know, and it was profoundly upsetting at the time, as I’m sure anyone listening, who’s also had a voice problem will will know how that feels, it can be quite devastating. And it was, in fact, just to the point where my career was about to go up a leg. And I just felt that I couldn’t perform anymore. I didn’t, I felt that I couldn’t rely on my voice, my voice would become unreliable.

Jeremy : 

And that’s really terrifying.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah. And I couldn’t really find anyone who could tell me what was going on there. And fortunately, my career which was emerging as a teacher then really helped me at that point in time. So I began to focus more on the teaching, it was through the teaching, that I learned to heal my own voice. And that’s often the way isn’t it, we often say on our courses to teach is to learn twice. And I really did grab that opportunity. The other aspect of that turning point was I became very interested in clinical voice and about the mechanism of the voice. So that was the time in which I joined the British Voice Association. And I’ve been a member of that for over 30 years, and kind of hanging out with clinicians. I mean, you know what I say? I think that I learned more about the singing voice from clinicians than ever I learned from a singing teacher. Very sorry, singing teachers, but that’s how it was when I was in my early 20s.

Jeremy : 

And sometimes still is.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And that kind of set me off on that first Turning Point. Do you want to talk about your first turning point?

Jeremy : 

Yeah, I have to go right back. In fact, I’ve got a couple. When I went to music college, I was actually 16 when I auditioned I was a precocious so and so. And I auditioned as a first study oboist. So I was playing oboe at the time, and I wanted to do joint first oboe and piano because I played them both to the same level. And so I went to the Royal Northern and got in, one of only three oboists at the time, and it was one of those I had to get – bless Shropshire which is where I’m from, but I had to get out because there wasn’t that much music making going on at the time.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

So that was a little turning point. That was a big deal actually.

Jeremy : 

It was a huge deal.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

It’s a very small town.

Jeremy : 

It’s a village village that I grew up in and went to Manchester and did two years first study oboe, and was in fact the only oboist in my year to pass my exam. And then decided – I had one of my front teeth out at the bottom. And I actually couldn’t play for a couple of months while they were sort of healing up. And I thought, Ah, I’m loving this. It’s so stressful playing the oboe, and I still love the sound of it. And I still work with professional oboists as an accompanist. But I thought no, no, this is not for me. I’m going to ask if I can change the piano.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Isn’t that interesting. So that’s sort of it’s not quite an external change, because obviously you had something happen with your teeth. Yeah. And I had something happened with my voice. But it was still something that was that we were presented with that caused us to change our mind.

Jeremy : 

It was a discovery certainly that I went, Oh, okay, well, this is not much fun. I’m having actually having more fun not playing. And by that time, I was already playing the piano for all the other oboists and bassoonists and clarinettists. And I knew… and flautists. So I knew all the, knew lots and lots of the woodwind repertoire. And so I asked if I could change to the accompaniment course there was a specialist accompaniment course at the Royal Northern. And they said, No, you can’t, you’ve got to do first study piano for a year, and then we’ll, we’ll allow you to change that was quite something and I went back a year. And this was in the day where everything was funded. So I had a full grant because my parents were not well off. And the whole grant just stopped. And so I had to self-finance for a year. And that was fun. Not. I ended up doing front of house in the college theatre every night for almost a year with my sash, and my ice cream tray. Yes, I know all about that. And so I then did the first study piano. And I still was determined to do the accompaniment course because I loved the idea. And I loved working with people and I loved, actually what I really liked was I could learn things very fast, I was a very good sight reader. But I loved the idea that somebody else would come along and bring their ideas about about a piece

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Their energy.

Jeremy : 

Their energy, their inputs, their ideas, their take on that piece of music, and then I would make it work, basically. And I still do that, that I will I’m very happy, you know, playing the same piece for 20 different people, they have 20 different versions of it. And it’s up to me to make their version and my version work together. And I think that’s when you have a really good rapport with somebody that you’re working with. It’s when you make something together that is bigger, or more or stronger than if you do it separately.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

I think that it’s such a clear marker that you were a collaborative beast.

Jeremy : 

Yes.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And that granted that when you’re playing in an orchestra. So for example, if you’re playing, you know, first or second or third oboe in an orchestra, you are working with a group, but there isn’t that sense of collaboration, that I think you get an ensemble playing or in duo playing. Do you agree?

Jeremy : 

Yes, yes. Actually, I would. And it’s it is very interesting. The other thing, which is fascinating for me is that I mean, and I know you wrote a note about this, which is dead ends.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yes.

Jeremy : 

And dead ends occur quite a lot in where I got to a point with the oboe where I was going, I can play all of these studies, I can play all of these pieces, you know, I can play concertos actually did concertos on the oboe, and I thought, do you know, it’s almost like the instrument itself isn’t big enough for me. It’s that feels like a little bit of a dead end.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Do you think you realised and obviously I didn’t know you at that time. And I’ve heard some of the recordings of you playing. Do you think that you realised that maybe you weren’t going to be a premier you know, orchestra oboe player and you thought well no, I’m going to pivot?

Jeremy : 

No, no, of course I was gonna be, course I was gonna be a premier oboe player, course I was

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah, yeah. Like I was gonna be a prima donna.

Jeremy : 

No, it was actually that I thought it. I’m putting the wording into my own mouth now. Which was there’s more to life than this.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yes. Okay. Okay. Got you.

Jeremy : 

I didn’t actually word it quite like that in my own mind even then. But there it was, there was more to life than this. And I felt that with the piano, I had more to do, I had more to express I had more to play with, actually. And also very specifically that I wanted to be an accompanist. And that was very clear, I pretty much fought the solo piano teacher that I was with because she wanted me to stay on the solo piano course. And I was like, I can’t imagine myself being in a room by myself at the piano for seven hours a day.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Do you think, then, that being a collaborative pianist was seen as second best?

Jeremy : 

It sort of was yes.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Interesting.

Jeremy : 

And the thing is that I’m a collaborative pianist by training and by nature. I love working with other people. And I love the sort of the duo or the trio or the small ensemble work, you know, I’ve done piano sextets, and stuff like that. I didn’t think I would go much bigger than a sextet simply because I love working with personalities and personas, and the energy that people bring.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Hmm, interesting. Okay, um, so British Voice Association. And I’m going to talk a little bit about the Estill turning point for me.

Jeremy : 

Yes.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And where you came in on that

Jeremy : 

where I came in, yes. Yes, it was all my fault!

Gillyanne Kayes : 

In the early 1990s, the British Voice Association introduced Jo Estill to the UK. And because I was in that sort of post voice problem phase, where I hadn’t really come up with the answers that I wanted. And because I was linked with the BVA as a member, a very keen member, it was very interesting to me to come across a singing voice trainer who talked about what was going on inside the larynx. So and you know, to be fair, I think Jo Estill was one of the first people to go out on the road and do that, and who was, certainly in the UK. And that was very attractive. And I found a lot of answers there. And as it happens, en route about when Jeremy had another one of his turning points, which I want to talk about in a minute, that was how we met. And I then went kind of all the way as as an Estill trainer, because when I find something that I want to be involved with, then I will really go with it. So that was a that was a kind of still along the the the outcome of having had a voice problem. And then what happened was a turning point away from Estill for me, and this is very interesting. Because what I found was that I had students in my studio reporting what I described as range specific events, and sensations that didn’t fit with the model of voice quality that I’d learned and was working with. And this kept on happening, especially with the female singers that there was, it was clear that there was a range specific event. And it kind of niggled at me because it wasn’t fitting the Model. And that was one of the things that caused me to look outside it and eventually took me to do my own research. Because, of course, that was to do with register mechanisms, which we might mention as we go along the next part of the way. Do you want to have we talked before about how we met, because you hit a brick wall didn’t you? And that’s how we met. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing.

Jeremy : 

Which particular brick wall was this one?

Gillyanne Kayes : 

The snapped tendon!

Jeremy : 

Oh gosh, yes. Okay. We have to jump forward quite a long way. After I left college, I was out of work for six months, nobody would employ me. So I actually moved specifically to Leeds and I rang Opera North and said, you know, to come and work for you as an opera repetiteur. And in fact, I ended up doing… recommended by them, I entered my first job was Carmen Jones at the Crucible, which is the European premiere I think of Carmen Jones where I was playing piano for that. And then I started working with Opera North and then I went into opera repetiteuring quite seriously. I was headhunted by Scottish Opera to go and do work with them. I learned, had to learn Lulu in two days, I think for them, which was quite something. And so and then I moved down to London, and I started working in musicals. So I was sort of one foot in the opera world and one foot in the musicals world.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

I want you to tell us how it was that you came to switch from classical to musical theatre because that one is a really interesting one.

Jeremy : 

My worst audition experience ever. Already done courses I played as I was an official accompanist on opera courses. I was working with Thomas Hampson, Brigitte Fassbender, Renata Scotto, there were all these people very, very high level opera singers, which I was playing for. And the it was actually Vic Morris at the time who was the head of the repetiteur organisation thing at ENO in London at the Coliseum. And he said, please come and audition for us as a repetiteur. So I went to did my audition, and they put something in front of me, which was which I’ve never seen before. And it was the sextet from Cosi fan Tutte I think it’s the end of Act Two, and they said, Can you please play and sing that now bearing in mind, I hadn’t seen it. I hadn’t heard it. I didn’t know at all. So I was sight reading six lines of vocals with the lyrics and two lines of piano part, so I’m sight reading eight lines at a time and this thing goes like the clappers. So I was. So basically I switched my overdrive on which I am able to do occasionally, and I went for it. And I ended up basically singing lines. I remember this, singing the lyrics of what whichever line I just went with. And literally never looking once at the at the piano part, I was just extrapolating the piano part from all the choral bits that I don’t think I’ve ever, ever told you.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah you have

Jeremy : 

All right. So I was extrapolating the piano part. And at the end of it, they said, were you were you genuinely sight reading that? And I said, Yes. And they said, Great. Okay, so come and sit down and have a chat with us. And so me being as that was quite hyped. And they said, so why do you want to become an opera repetiteur at ENO? And I said, I don’t, I want to work in musicals. Which was, that was the end of that audition.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

But that’s it. That’s the inner voice thing isn’t it?

Jeremy : 

That is when your mouth opens and words come out. And you didn’t realise that they were there? That was so embarrassing, looking back on it, but it took me into musicals. So I started working in the West End.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And well, I mean, I’ve got one is very similar. And I just want to say that there’s kind of no side in expressing this at all. But there was a point sort of after having moved away from being an Estill trainer, where somebody asked me, well, wouldn’t you like to teach the Model again? And Jeremy was with me.

Jeremy : 

Yeah.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Out of my mouth came the words? No, I don’t think so. I’ve done that.

Jeremy : 

Yeah.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And even I couldn’t believe that this voice came out saying that it wasn’t anything that I had articulated before in that way. And I realised at the inner voice was saying, Been there, done that got the T shirt. Dead End.

Jeremy : 

Yeah.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And that what I needed to do at that point was to move on. And it was that, you know, it took me another couple of years to decide that I was going to do a PhD, which in fact, a colleague of mine suggested to me and said, Look, go off, do your own research you’ve got you’ve really got something to say here. And that was obviously a big turning point. That took quite a long time to get to the end of that road.

Jeremy : 

It was a bit like a juggernaut reversing.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah. And actually the beginning of my PhD, just back-referring to students reporting range specific events and sensations that didn’t fit into the Model I’d learned. I spent a lot quite a little bit of time digging around for that hole in the middle, you know, the middle register the mythical middle register, you wouldn’t believe how much research there is on it. research that always concludes it doesn’t exist.

Jeremy : 

And for those who don’t know, don’t know about the middle register. We’re talking creak, modal, falsetto whistle, but then apparently, in women in particular, in classical women, there is a middle register, which is basically sort of E above middle C to the C or D,

Gillyanne Kayes : 

It’s D, D4 to E5. Yeah, so I was definitely trained in use of middle register in my classical singing.

Jeremy : 

And the theory is that that women have a completely separate middle register that men don’t have.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

If you look at some historical records, and you look at what happened to Garcia, who was the first person to use autolaryngoscopy and who spotted that…

Jeremy : 

Hang on let me just explain autolaryngoscopy.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Please do, I’m pleased I managed to say it!

Jeremy : 

Yeah, well done. He put a mirror in his mouth so he’d actually see the back of his vocal folds. That’s Autolaryngoscopy.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah. And he bounced the sunlight off the mirror didn t or something

Jeremy : 

Into another mirror.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah, yeah. And he was the first person as far as I’m aware, who spotted that what we now call mechanism one and mechanism two or chest mechanism and head or falsetto mechanism head-falsetto he ended up calling it falsetto-head okay. That those patterns of vibration looked different. Even then, without any high speed stuff, he could see that it was different. What happened then kind of historically, you know, once he presented all of this, and it was put out into the pedagogical world was that there was uproar from the singing teachers, “there is a middle register that women use”. So that’s why in the end, he talked about falsetto-head. Hmm, Isn’t that fascinating? Anyway,

Jeremy : 

so can I just say that our take on that is that there isn’t a middle register that is different in women, that it is a usage. And that you can do a middle register based on a modal vibration or on a falsetto vibration, and people do different things and call it the same thing.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And mostly in CCM singing, and in musical theatre singing again, in female voice, if we’re looking in that middle region, it’s often called a mix. And just as Jeremy said that that mix, which is really to do with a recipe of what you’re doing with the acoustics is based either on a mechanism one or a mechanism to and I will say that the understanding of and and the development of, you know, kind of sensory feedback of those mechanisms is very much at the core of our teaching, and at the core of the way that we work with teachers who come to us to train.

Jeremy : 

And one of the things that I mean, I was thinking, listening when you were talking and I was thinking, well, maybe we should, rather than calling this turning points, we should call this Dead Ends. Because we’ve actually said several dead ends so far that have made us go No, we don’t want to do that today.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

They were good dead ends .

Jeremy : 

And just going back to my story, and I decided pretty much after that interview that really opera repetiteuring only led to opera conducting, it didn’t lead to much else. And I didn’t want to do opera conducting. So to me, that was a dead end. And really, that was the decision that I went right, I’m going to go into musicals and see what that does.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Mm hmm. Interesting.

Jeremy : 

Oh, and you said, you mentioned my tendon.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yes.

Jeremy : 

10 minutes ago. Let me just say what happened with my tendon. I was… actually really interesting. I read my diary from that period. And I was so busy. I was working on about three or four different shows. I was doing private sessions. I was doing coaching sessions. I was doing audition pianist, I was doing all sorts of things

Gillyanne Kayes : 

You are about to go on tour again with Carmen Jones. He was on my radar there. And I’d heard him speak on the phone. I do love a bass. But I’m not sure we’d met.

Jeremy : 

I don’t think we had met.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

I don’t think we had no, no,

Jeremy : 

I think the the the first time you we met you tried to throw me out.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

That’s right. And we I think we talked about probably probably in podcast 1 so we won’t go over it again.

Jeremy : 

We think that’s a podcast one. Yes. And I had an accident with my hand, and I snapped a tendon in my finger, and it became what’s called a mallet finger, where the top joint of the middle finger bends over at right angles and just stays there.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Do you want to show people?

Jeremy : 

I do not want to show people. No, absolutely no, no, it’s horrible.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

He’s not going to show you.

Jeremy : 

And the thing is that when it happened, first of all, I didn’t know what it was. And I was actually taking my trousers off at the time. So it was a

Gillyanne Kayes : 

I wasn’t present.

Jeremy : 

No, nobody was present. It was me by myself a freak accident. And I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know what had happened. But I know it was a shock. And I remember that was another of those turn… extraordinary turning points, where I just looked at this thing. And I went well, that’s the end of my pianistic career. That’s it, I won’t be able to play the piano again. Because if it heals, I won’t be able to play the piano as well as I used to. And if I can’t do that, I’m not going to do it at all. And so it was at that point that I went right. I’m going to get a life. Because I haven’t really had a life up to then I’d done lots of work.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

He met me.

Jeremy : 

Yeah, that was part of the life.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

So sometimes dead ends are good.

Jeremy : 

Yeah. I mean, as it happens, my finger, 10 weeks my finger was in a splint. And it came out and it was healed. took another couple of months to get back to piano playing and I was playing as well as ever. As it then happened. It happened again.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

This time it was the socks

Jeremy : 

Different finger. I was taking my socks off. Clearly there is something for me about undressing. And again, it was another 10 weeks before that one healed, that has now healed and I am playing as well as ever.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Do you think? I mean, this is interesting. Do you think that revisiting your technique enabled you to play better and gave you a greater insight into it? Because I know it did for me having to rebuild my voice is one of the things that has made me the teacher that I am.

Jeremy : 

And this is going to be an odd answer because I’m going to say no. What did enable me to re work what I did was the gap where it was actually 10 weeks of not playing, 10 weeks of not doing music at all in any way. And then I came back to it and I could see it in a slightly different way. And that happened both times. So that in a way the getting my my finger movement and speed and dexterity back was just a job. In a way, it was actually the gap that gave me a very different insight into how music works.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Do you know i think that’s true, because obviously I was there when it happened the second time. And I remember the first concert that you were preparing for, which was the songs.

Jeremy : 

Oh, songs with the oboe. Yeah.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Jeremy was playing for that

Jeremy : 

20, 23 songs I think?

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah, something like that. And I think that your playing became more emotional. After you had that second incident. I think you played at a deeper

Jeremy : 

Well yes, I’d experienced life for the first time. It was actually interestingly, I remember going back to when I was 15. And I was doing O level music and people, I was playing some Debussy and one of my student friends said, Well you play, you know, technically very well, but you know, you don’t play with any heart. And I thought, Oh, that’s such a shame. So clearly took me about 30 years to get that going.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Isn’t it extraordinary? How musicians are critical of each other? I mean, when we were thinking about what we were going to chat about today, we joked about this. And I’ve come across other classical singers who’ve who’ve said this. And first of all, I want to do a disclaimer, which is I think that much classical singing teaching is different now. But when I was training, it was either wrong, or it was wrong. And if it got better, it was still a little bit wrong. In other words, it was very hard for you get for you to get to the point where you felt you were good enough. And that was hard. That was very hard for me.

Jeremy : 

I think it’s so interesting, because I think one of the big things that we do now is linked to context. So whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re required to do as a singer, whatever you’re required to do as a musician, there’s a context in which you do it. And I think what’s so fascinating about classical singing lessons, particularly when I was around, because I played for thousands of them, is that the context was never really made very specific. It was always about your voice must be this, your voice must do this. But not necessarily… you know, it was 35 minutes of exercises. And then maybe you’d sing a bit of an aria afterwards. And I always thought, why doesn’t Why don’t the exercises link to the ARIA? As in, why don’t you know, which are you going to sing when you first start the lesson and gear all of your exercises to that? And also, why aren’t you gearing the lesson to the context in which you’re going to be singing that aria. So if you’re in a recording studio, it will be one thing, if you’re on a 3000 seater stage, it will be another thing if you’re on a 500 seater stage, it will be another thing. And if you’re doing a recital version, where you just drop an aria in, it will be a different thing. If you’re doing the full opera or major excerpts from it, there’s a different context. And it always struck me as odd that context was never taken into account. It was always about your voice must reach THIS standard.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah, it had to be sort of trained to a certain level.

Jeremy : 

And I think the idea was, once your voice reached THIS standard, which would take you 30 years or so then you could sing anything. And I’m going well, that’s great. But what a waste of time.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

That’s also not doesn’t represent reality,

Jeremy : 

no doesn’t. So and then then you move into theatre. And with theatre, you’re doing eight shows a week and two rehearsals. And your task is very different. And partly, it’s again,

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Again it’s much more collaborative thing

Jeremy : 

Partly it’s a collaborative thing. Partly, it’s a stamina issue. And it’s also a repeatable issue, because you never repeat opera roles that much. You know, people are very proud that they’ve done this opera role 50 times, and I’m going my very first job in musical theatre was 126 performances, I’d never done 126 of anything. So it’s a very different mentality to start with. And then also, you’ve got the drama, and also the sort of the co-creating with the rest of the cast thing, which I think is different in musicals than it is in opera.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And that was a very big thing for me when I first went to work in in drama schools, the whole group class thing, in both spoken voice and sung voice. And, yes, there were certain, you know, training targets that people needed to meet and certainly in spoken voice. There were tonal qualities and sound qualities and clarity of articulation that were required. But it was much more of a group learning experience. And I found that very freeing, there was much more exploration rather than you had to learn to do it right.

Jeremy : 

hmm.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah. I mean, maybe we’re being unfair, but

Jeremy : 

Oh, I don’t think so.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

I think there was something there. Should we just talk a little bit about – did we actually make a decision to run a company? Or was it something that just happened?

Jeremy : 

I think we did. You know, I think we did. Because I remember you came up with the name,

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Right, Vocal Process

Jeremy : 

Just before in 2000. Because we incorporated in 1999. Yeah. And then we changed the name to Vocal Process in 2000. April?

Gillyanne Kayes : 

The time that was about the time that I was, my first book was published.

Jeremy : 

Yes, Singing and the Actor

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Singing and the Actor. And actually, what was, oh there’s a ping there. What was so important about that was the word “process”. And I realised, you know, maybe the word process is a bit conceptual, it’s not kind of, it’s not sexy, like a method name. Because we don’t teach a method, we’ve always been really solid on that. Since 2001, we don’t, we don’t teach a method because methods tend to be a bit boxed in, a bit closed.

Jeremy : 

Well methods are I think tick boxes, which is, here are the exercises that you do here are the sounds that you need to make Off you go and do them

Gillyanne Kayes : 

I think people, I mean, first of all, they have their value, because I think they’ve evolved to meet the needs of certain communities. And you know, because certainly, when I was growing up, the only approach to singing learning was classical. It was that that was the only one that was the only learning model. And as people wanted to learn to train in other genres, this is when some of these new methods came about. So they came about for good reasons. I think one of the reasons why people are attracted to methods is they want certainty. You know, right? If I do this, and I do all these tick boxes, and I do everything here, then I will be sure of myself and what I’m doing, and really, they’re only a starting point.

Jeremy : 

They’re a starting point.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And I guess that’s what I found, it was a starting point. And that’s why I moved on.

Jeremy : 

Yes. I’m totally with you on that.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah, um, and really Vocal Process is a is a vehicle for our creative output in all things to do with voice and understanding of voice and and training of teachers.

Jeremy : 

It’s not only that though, I mean, what you’ve got to remember is that because there are two of us, and because we have similar knowledge, but we come from very different backgrounds. So Vocal Process doesn’t just cover vocal technique. It’s actually context, it’s performance issues. It’s there’s all sorts of stagecraft. There’s all sorts of things that we both cover. And I think it’s important that because there was always, I mean, for ages, I was going well, I’m not quite sure where my skills fit in with Vocal Process. And it was why we wrote Successful Singing Auditions in 2002 together, because it was one of my biggest areas of skill where I go, look, I know how singing auditions work, I have done so many of them. I’ve coached so many people to be successful in them, all we need to do is get the information out. And you know, really, that’s what Vocal Process has done. Because underlying pretty much everything we’ve done is all we need to do is get the information out. And we have always been from the very beginning, pretty much from when we met. It’s always been, we have some amazing information, we have some amazing techniques that we’ve learned that we understand that we do. And it’s been very much about how can we get this out to other people? How can we go public on this? How do we get it out in a format that people do, how can we share it?

Gillyanne Kayes : 

people can use it, and use it for themselves? And then pass that on. Somebody said something so wonderful to me the other day. I won’t say who because I haven’t asked permission to use what they said. But I think it was along the lines of the work that you do. It’s like the the pebble in the pond, and that it spreads out and out and out via all of us singing teachers. I can’t tell you that was one of the most precious moments of feedback that I’ve ever received. And I felt then you know that somebody was really getting what what we’re doing and because we want to effect that change, and my feeling certainly now at this point in my career as a career teacher, is I can make the most difference by working with other teachers. I can reach more people that way.

Jeremy : 

I think also because I’m I’m so interested in different formats. It almost doesn’t matter what the format is. I’ll do something with it. So when we first started, we were doing courses. Then we did DVDs then we did online downloads, we’ve done books, we’ve done leaflets. We’ve done webinars, blogs, blogs, We’ve done, and then the podcast. So as far as I’m concerned, whatever the format is, let’s use it. And so that people have a choice about how they get information from us. And some of it’s free, and some of its paid. Because we have to live.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And I will say, Now wonderful thing about my husband is that present him with a new format, something he’s never done before, you know, he’s never made a video hasn’t trained as a videographer. And “I’m going to do videos of the voice”. And so we had our endoscopic footage. And, and then he turns around and creates a video.

Jeremy : 

You’ve missed the bit in the middle, which is a lot of swearing.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah, but

Jeremy : 

A LOT of swearing.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

You tuned round and did that. Yeah. So you are very good at thinking out of the box much better than I am actually.

Jeremy : 

The whole thing that drives it is how can we get this information out? Yeah, yeah. How can we share?

Gillyanne Kayes : 

So let’s go back to where we started, which is,

Jeremy : 

oh, I want to talk about turning points. Yeah. Because before we go to there, I want to talk about turning points. Because often, with an external turning point, it is a barrier, it’s a brick wall, it’s a block, it’s accident, it’s a, it’s a dead end, it’s a traumatic event, as well. And what I want to say, and I’m really starting to understand this on a much deeper level now is when you have a traumatic event like that, embedded in that traumatic event is something amazing. Because it can be an impetus to get you out of what you’re doing into something new, it can be a really obvious sign to you that what you’re doing isn’t working. Or it can be if I mean, let’s say, I mean, you know, I was I was very successful as a as an audition pianist and rehearsal pianist. But it was something that made me when I couldn’t play anymore, it made me rethink what I was doing. And I sort of want to highlight that which is somewhere in any trauma that you that exists for you, there is something that is very positive. And actually, if you can find it, if you can work it, if you can look for it, it’s going to be there.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And that’s not uttered as some trite truism

Jeremy : 

That’s experience.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Aside from the fact that we’re all you know, faced with a pandemic at the moment. Each of us has, has had those moments. So, which, again, we talked about before.

Jeremy : 

So bringing us up today.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah, bringing us up to date, obviously, the global pandemic, cause many of us to have to make a massive turning point, you know, a huge pivot.

Jeremy : 

And we in webinar one, we talked about how we survived lockdown. So there’s

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Podcast one, you mean?

Jeremy : 

Podcast one. Yeah, there you go. I’ve already got my formats mixed up. Yeah, Podcast one, which is who we are and how we survived Lockdown.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

So we don’t need to talk about that again. But what’s interesting now for us in the UK, because as Lockdown has begun to ease, then we’ve had to do another flight correction, because I don’t know about others of you out there who may be doing offering trainings online, as we’ve been doing, especially over the last six months, is that suddenly people are less available. And they’re starting to go back to work. People are also unsure of how much they they’re going to be able to pay for. Because of the I think there’s going to be a global recession as a result of all of this as well.

Jeremy : 

I think people are zoomed out as well.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah. And people get zoomed out and so one of the things we found that was better for us to do. We are doing a week three aren’t we?

Jeremy : 

we are

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Our Online Singing Teacher Training by special request

Jeremy : 

which in fact starts this week, invitation only!

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah, this Friday. We’re psyching ourselves up nicely for that. Which is going to be brilliant. One of the things we found is that we’re doing these Popup zooms Yes. Which is a two hour zoom training

Jeremy : 

Workshops.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Popup Workshops. Yes, that’s the one. Yeah. And we did our first one last Friday didn’t we?

Jeremy : 

We did our first one

Gillyanne Kayes : 

On our favourite topic

Jeremy : 

Registers!

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Mechanisms

Jeremy : 

M1 and M2.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And these Popup Workshops are very practice based aren’t they.

Jeremy : 

The interesting thing about, I mean, the first sentence that we said when we started the M1/M2 Workshop was Hey, look, no PowerPoint. It was entirely practical, was two hours online. The Popups that we’ve got organised we’ve got M1/M2, which is registers, which is ca completely practical version of what are registers, how do you find them? What are they What are they in men’s voices? What are they in women’s voices? How do you teach them? What do they feel like in your own voice? What are the variations of them?

Gillyanne Kayes : 

You have tasks to do. So we’ve got our trained teachers who act as moderators so that people can work in small groups.

Jeremy : 

Yeah, you can get actually get to try try everything out. What is interesting about the Popups that we’ve got planned, we’ve got one The M1/M2 Workshop, we’ve got one plant on Belting & Power Sounds, we’ve got various ones planned and some of them are going to be in-house. So that only for the people who have already done at least one three-day training with us

Gillyanne Kayes : 

so they can work more in depth on things they’ve already learned.

Jeremy : 

To be honest, that’s really practical for us, because we know that if people have worked with us on at least one three-day training, but we don’t have to explain where we’re coming from and what or what you know, you don’t have to spend an hour

Gillyanne Kayes : 

it would be an hour

Jeremy : 

it would be an hour explaining why this is M1 and why this is M2, they already know that so we can get straight on with the product and why it matters. Having said that, we are going to we are planning to do an M1/M2 Workshop that is open to everybody. And we’re going to make it slightly longer so that we can put that stuff in. So some of them are in-house and some of them are public.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah. And also we haven’t we haven’t set dates for these, but we want to do some masterclasses because one of the things we have been doing in the Online Singing Teacher Training is masterclasses.

Jeremy : 

Yes, live masterclasses with the teachers’ students

Gillyanne Kayes : 

The teachers love them and the students love them. So we bring them online, and we work with them. And so far, so good. It’s worked really well. Yes. And we want to do more of that.

Jeremy : 

In fact, we’re doing an online masterclass on Friday.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah. Four singers, Friday and Saturday. Yeah. And that’s part of Week 3. Yes. Good. Anything else you want to say about turning points? Because I think, um,

Jeremy : 

I think we’re probably done

Gillyanne Kayes : 

That’s everything that I wanted to say,

Jeremy : 

I think one of the fascinating things about turning points is listening. So sometimes you have to listen to what’s going on, around in the world around you, aka Lockdown. Sometimes you have to listen to the voice inside you going, I’m not comfortable with this, you know, there must be something different I can do. And by the way, I’ve have come to the conclusion over the years that there is always something different that you can do it’s just a question of deciding and finding it.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And if it’s a health event, you’re like, you know, my voice problem, the heart event that I had in December. Yes, you have to look at that and go, okay. What can I change about my life that will make it easier for me to manage with this, to keep myself enjoying doing the things that I do without overloading?

Jeremy : 

I think there’s a there’s a viewpoint, there’s a mentality that says, some something traumatic like that happens, and you look at it, and you go, right, this is now part of my life today.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

oh, you’re much better than I am at doing that

Jeremy : 

I’m good at doing that. Because it’s happened so often. But the and the mentality is this is now part of my life today. What about my life has to change to accommodate and incorporate that. It may not be part of my life in a week’s time, but today it’s here and today I’m dealing with

Gillyanne Kayes : 

You’re very good, you do that instantly. I will kick and scream all the way until I get to a point where I go. Okay, then.

Jeremy : 

It’s true. Yeah.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And on that note, shall we? Is there anything else?

Jeremy : 

No, just Today’s episode is sponsored by Canu Publishing. Thank you, Canu Publishing. And by the way, we should say just this morning, I did tweet about this. This is the 21st of September, normally takes me two or three days to edit this and put it out live. Yeah. But today, we passed 2500 downloads for the podcast.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Hurrah! Excellent.

Jeremy : 

So thank you very much for everybody who has downloaded us and if you haven’t, why not? And also this week, we appeared on Amazon Music Podcasts for the first time. So we’re on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and various other things. But we are there on Amazon Music for the first time.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

And I know that people are still just discovering us because occasionally on Facebook or someone will simply write “Capo”. If you don’t know what that means, go to Episode Three.

Jeremy : 

Yeah, go back and listen to the episode. So we are done.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Yeah.

Jeremy : 

Thank you very much.

Gillyanne Kayes : 

Thank you for being with us.

Jeremy : 

Yeah.

Announcer : 

This is a voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.