A holistic vocal pedagogy program
A year-long online & in-person experiential program for therapists, bodyworkers, coaches, Somatic practitioners, and any human who wants to deepen their understanding of singing, speakingvoice, the throat chakra, in order to better serve their clients and themselves.
About the program
This is, first of all, a practical, body-based program.
This means that, while I value, honor and am in awe of the rational mind, the analytical mind, the thinking brain - in this program (and in my work in general), we consciously invite the brilliance of our minds to serve the wisdom of our bodies instead of the other way around. Practice, practice, practice. Learning through doing. (I was raised in Amherst, Massachusetts. Broadly speaking, critical thinking and analysis were the primary lenses through which I experienced the world and how I looked out at the world. But my journey of the past twenty years has been a journey back into my noticing my body, loving my body, respecting my body, listening to my body, engaging her wisdom, and then clarifying my body-wisdom with the beautiful sharpness of my mind.)
When it comes to creating a Teacher Training program, especially a singing Teacher Training program, this order of priorities matters.
It's also how I learned to teach. I put my body near my teacher’s day after day after week after week after year after year.
I witnessed her teaching lesson after lesson after lesson.
I spent hours with her, lying on my back, arms wide open, head on a pillow listening to recordings of opera singers from the early 1900s (singers like Amelita Galli-Curci, Tito Schipa, Alma Gluck, Claudia Muzio).
Our listening to these singers wasn't directional or analytical as in - “Do you hear the healthy forward placement in the mask there," or "Do you notice where they lost some breath control," or “Do you hear how she manages her passagio well?” Nope.
I was invited to just be. To observe my body-response. To feel vibrations in my own body at the level of sensation. To notice where they were located and how they were traveling. I was invited to feel what I really felt. To invite my own experience to speak to me. (Only later have I come to understand how connected this early work is to Somatic-based therapeutic practices. Side note: I share many more stories about my singing journey and experience in the book I'm writing. It's taking forever, but a first draft is forthcoming! Can't wait to share.)
At its core, this singing work is actually human-ing work. It’s about deepening into our human experience.
And for me it is about - perhaps most of all - freedom of expression.
This Teacher Training is first of all experiential and practical. But there is also plenty of theory: There are readings, there are teaching videos, discussions about gentle phonation, and breathing. I'm creating specific units on anatomy, breathing, Tantra and sexuality, emotions and Core Sounding™, power dynamics and ethics, music and embodied musical practices, and more.
I’ve also got incredible guest teachers lined up. We'll work with my teacher Deborah Carmichael and our guest teacher is Ishita Sharma who will be offering a module on embodying power (as part of the larger power/ethics unit).
Can you tell I’m excited?
I strongly believe we need more teachers doing this kind of powerful, transformative healing holistic vocal work. Each teacher brings their own desires, interests, sets of experiences and gifts. Because different students will be drawn to them than are drawn to me, this transformative work will be able to reach people I might never myself connect with.
Alysa Ain is a musician and psychotherapist based in Washington, DC, dedicated to exploring the path to freer and freer singing as a way to individual and collective truth and wholeness.
Improvisation and Core Sounding™ are a central focus of hers in this apprenticeship, and she is fascinated by the ways that intersubjectivity, co-creation, desire, and aliveness manifest in both musical and healing spaces. She is also deeply interested in investigating embodiment, relationality, and space holding from a holistic vocal pedagogy perspective.
Alysa holds a Masters in Social Work from NYU and a JD from Harvard Law School; critical theory, particularly in the areas of feminism and race, is a foundational influence on her approach to all of her work, alongside her 13+ years of Buddhist practice and study. A violist by training, her primary musical lineage is Western classical, within which her most beloved spiritual inspiration is the music of JS Bach.
Margo Seibert is an actor, singer, songwriter, vocal coach, and most importantly, mother to Lana. She was last seen on stage at Berkeley Rep in Dave Malloy's Octet, for which she also received a Special “Ensemble Award” at the 2020 Drama Desk Awards at Signature Theatre Company. On Broadway, Margo won critical acclaim for her performance as “Adrian” in the Broadway musical Rocky, a role she originated and for which she was nominated for a Drama League Award. She later starred in the lead role of “Jane” in Circle in the Square’s Broadway production of the acapella musical In Transit. Other Off-Broadway credits include Playwrights Horizons’ Unknown Soldier and The Thanksgiving Play; as “Tamar” in Marisa Michelson and Josh Cohen's acclaimed Tamar and the River, for which she received a 2014 Drama Desk Award Nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Musical; and in Rattlestick Playwrights Theater’s The Undeniable Sound of Right Now. She has developed work at The Public, MTC, Playwrights Horizons, NAMT, The O’Neill Center, New Dramatists. Television: FBI: International, Instinct, Elementary, The Good Cop, and Boardwalk Empire. Margo's debut album, 77th Street is out now. www.margoseibert.com
Margo has been studying with Marisa for over a decade and has offered vocal coaching through her own vocal studio for the last three years. After truly falling in love with her own voice thanks to Marisa she is thrilled to be taking a deeper dive into this work to help spread the good word and bring easeful joyful singing to all!
Meryl Yecies’ intense vocal journey began after being diagnosed with a "vocal cord paresis" five years ago. Unable to sing or speak without pain, she began working with voice doctors and voice-oriented massage therapists and other healers in search of some relief. When she began working with Marisa, immediately it felt like there was a cascade of unlocking and unravelling that happened inside her body and psyche. As she began to sense that this work could create lasting change, her body said yes to this path. In many ways, this path offers a kind of embodiment of freedom that so many other professionals speak about, but aren’t working with in practice.
Meryl’s deepest desire is to emerge from a long and difficult time even more fully and authentically expressed than she was before her injury. She has a strong intuition for noticing where energy is blocked in the body and looks forward to offering healing work that uses voice and breath to support people in letting go.
Meryl also runs a crystal business selling gems that she gathers and collects. You can find her shop on Instagram @embodiedgems.
Sarah Beth is a theatre, film, television, music, and voice over artist in New York City. Proudly queer, cat mom, excellent cook if she doesn't say so herself, extrovert.
Shawn Shafner (he/they) is an artist, educator and facilitator. Creator of The People's Own Organic Power Project (www.thePOOPproject.org), he has catalyzed conversation about sustainable sanitation from NYC's largest wastewater treatment plant to the United Nations; look for his book Know Your Shit available now from Cider Mill Press and Simon & Schuster. Shawn teaches movement through the lineage of acclaimed choreographer Tamar Rogoff, sings with Marisa Michelson’s Constellation Chor Ensemble, and develops arts-integrated curriculum for learners of all ages. Shawn is also a community educator, corporate facilitator and mindfulness coach. He is currently attending George Washington University earning an MFA in Social Practice with an Emphasis in Public Policy. Shawn has been singing since he could make sound, and has been studying with Marisa since 2007. He is thrilled to take this practice further and step into the role of teacher, offering singing and somatic vocal practice for the benefit of all. He is devoted to manifesting a world of creativity, community and joy. So let’s get started already! www.shawnshafner.com
(Photo by Bridget Badore, insta @bridgetbadore)