Schedule Lessons

Voice Work We Do Here

I work with people who are interested in learning more about themselves and their voices, especially if something doesn't feel good while singing, or if their voice feels uncontrollable or "unknowable".

 

I also teach voice coaches about voice physiology and anatomy, vocal acoustics, and pedagogy (how to teach).

 

We achieve the best possible results by focusing on the following topics:

  • Rebalancing, organizing, and strengthening the voice in a systematic way (think physical fitness training)
  • Learning how the voice works from the inside out
  • Teaching the voice (functionally) to sing the right notes
  • Learning to accept, and even love, the voice you were born with

 

Vocolgy (voice science) and psychology research have come a long way in the last 30 years, offering us a chance to explore sounds based on an understanding of physical function and the connection between the brain, body, and psyche.

 

 

The Goal:

Create freedom of vocal expression. When we program vocal efficiency into the body with calm, centered practices, we experience sound in profound new ways.

There's more substance and resonance to my sound, and I'm able to hit notes more easily. It's made a difference in how I feel about my singing - more positive - and I project that from the stage. Plus, I'm having more fun, which for me is what it should be about.

 

- Mickee C.

The work we do here is founded on becoming more authentic and skillful. This requires patience with ourselves on all levels. If you are looking for quick fixes or voice “tricks”, I am probably not the voice instructor for you.

 

The studio is a safe place to explore sounds - here we learn to trust, hopefully even love, our voices. They are more powerful than any of us can imagine - acoustically and metaphorically.

 

The Studio

Liz Johnson Voice Studio is centrally located in the FilmHouse Building in Nashville’s Metro Center neighborhood. From this beautiful hilltop location, clients can access I-65, Germantown, Music Row, and the downtown area within minutes. Click here to see a map.

 

When visiting the studio, enjoy free parking, a breathtaking three-story atrium waiting area, front desk service, and a modern, discrete atmosphere.

 

I’ve learned not to be afraid of the size of my voice, to trust that my body knows what it’s doing, and that my instrument sounds exactly like it was designed to sound.

 

- Kristie McCarthy

Liz has helped me to learn to observe the differences in both myself and my voice on a daily basis. I am learning how to accept and work through many difficult challenges with more insight, patience, love and clarity.

 

- Christa Mercy

What to Expect from Vocal Lessons in this Studio

Dispelling common fears about the voice

Many people have fear around singing or making sound in general. I often hear things like:

  • My voice will never get better - “it will always be this way.”
  • Someone told me I can’t sing, and I believed them. So, I can’t sing.
  • My voice is mysterious and unknowable.
  • My voice is fragile.
  • I feel powerless over my voice.
  • I’m afraid of losing my voice over time.
  • I feel disconnected from my voice,
  • I’m afraid I’m singing “wrong,” or hurting my voice.
  • I feel pain or tension when I sing.

 

All of these fears can be addressed through voice work. There are many things we can do to make our voice function more efficiently, and to experience a free, authentic singing or speaking sound. Unless there are medical reasons against singing or speaking, many vocal exercises and sounds can and should be explored.

 

The voice is intimately connected to our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves - for better or for worse. That means our voices can be used as an expression of who we are and who we are becoming.

 

 

I’ve gained confidence and a sense that I can grow as a musician. I’ve made better practice habits and seen their fruit. My mind is more open to my voice - I think less about ‘correct’ sounds and more about healthy, new or satisfying sounds.

 

- Abigail Flowers

I learned there is a way to be more me.

 

- Danny Strimer, songwriter, recording artist

How do we learn new sounds and vocal expressions?

Consistency, persistence, patience, and openness are the keys to any lasting self improvement. Singing is no different. Again, part of vocal training is programming efficient coordination into the body. This, done with a positive attitude and willingness to have fun with sound, gives people a great advantage in voice training.

Some of the tools used in this studio are:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Straw technique
  • Other SOVT (semi-occluded vocal tract) exercises
  • The Blaylock Method®
  • Belting technique
  • Vocal Function Exercises of Dr. Joseph Stemple
  • Physical relaxation techniques
  • Upper body stretches
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness exercises
  • The Work® by Byron Katie

 

 

I know my singing skills have improved because I can sing 4 to 5 gigs a week for 2-3 hours each and keep going if I need to. I used to get tired after one gig, but the Blaylock exercises are a game changer.

 

- Nikki Elias

What results come from voice work in this studio?

Training a reliable voice is not mysterious or haphazard. Sure, there are cases where voice training does not comply with practiced wisdom. In those instances I refer clients to other voice specialists in the fields of physical therapy, medicine, and psychology. It really does take a team to support our healing and personal growth!

Most voice clients can hear a noticeable difference in even one session. Over time and with consistency, voices of all ages can sound better and more vibrant.

Clients regularly experience improvement in:

  • Ease of vocal production
  • Clarity of tone
  • Resonance
  • Pitch
  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Range
  • Stability
  • Endurance
  • Emotional connection to the music
  • Musical delivery
  • Rhythmic awareness
  • Trust in vocal ability
  • Trust in self
  • Other areas of life like career and home organization (regular practice teaches organization, and better voices get more and better work)

 

There are many benefits to voice work beyond just having a better voice. I hope more people discover their ability to make great sound and have fun in the process.

 

 

I’ve learned that developing your instrument isn’t grueling work that takes hours each day. Improvement can be easily achieved by working on it a little bit everyday. After I made this discovery through Liz, my voice drastically improved because she helped me change my mindset and approach. People are often shocked at the progress!

 

- Claire Maisto, Belmont University Student

 

About Me

Liz Johnson SchaferLiz Johnson

I have a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from Belmont University, and have also completed a Certificate in Vocology through the University of Utah and the National Center for Voice and Speech. I love learning how things work and then using that knowledge to help people grow and heal. My first and second loves are psychology and jazz, which have become the basis for helping singers regain voice ability and more awareness of their innate talents.

 

In addition to my primary work as a Vocologist (Voice Instructor), I perform jazz, play saxophone, compose, and teach jazz style. I also serve as the Central Region Governor for the Pan American Vocology Association (PAVA) and as the Certificate Program Coordinator for Nashville Jazz Workshop (NJW).

 

Additional Training

  • Ploger Method (Music Perception), Levels 1 and 2
  • Neuro Linguistic Programming and Hypnosis Certification Training
  • Mental Health Workers Certificate, University of Illinois

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT

VOCAL INSTRUCTION OPTIONS

Liz Johnson Schafer

Schedule Lessons

Dispelling common fears about the voice

Many people have fear around singing or making sound in general. I often hear things like:

  • My voice will never get better - “it will always be this way.”
  • Someone told me I can’t sing, and I believed them. So, I can’t sing.
  • My voice is mysterious and unknowable.
  • My voice is fragile.
  • I feel powerless over my voice.
  • I’m afraid of losing my voice over time.
  • I feel disconnected from my voice,
  • I’m afraid I’m singing “wrong,” or hurting my voice.
  • I feel pain or tension when I sing.

 

All of these fears can be addressed through voice work. There are many things we can do to make our voice function more efficiently, and to experience a free, authentic singing or speaking sound. Unless there are medical reasons against singing or speaking, many vocal exercises and sounds can and should be explored.

 

The voice is intimately connected to our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves - for better or for worse. That means our voices can be used as an expression of who we are and who we are becoming.

 

 

How do we learn new sounds and vocal expressions?

Consistency, persistence, patience, and openness are the keys to any lasting self improvement. Singing is no different. Again, part of vocal training is programming efficient coordination into the body. This, done with a positive attitude and willingness to have fun with sound, gives people a great advantage in voice training.

Some of the tools used in this studio are:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Straw technique
  • Other SOVT (semi-occluded vocal tract) exercises
  • The Blaylock Method®
  • Belting technique
  • Vocal Function Exercises of Dr. Joseph Stemple
  • Physical relaxation techniques
  • Upper body stretches
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness exercises
  • The Work® by Byron Katie

 

 

What results come from voice work in this studio?

Training a reliable voice is not mysterious or haphazard. Sure, there are cases where voice training does not comply with practiced wisdom. In those instances I refer clients to other voice specialists in the fields of physical therapy, medicine, and psychology. It really does take a team to support our healing and personal growth!

Most voice clients can hear a noticeable difference in even one session. Over time and with consistency, voices of all ages can sound better and more vibrant.

Clients regularly experience improvement in:

  • Ease of vocal production
  • Clarity of tone
  • Resonance
  • Pitch
  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Range
  • Stability
  • Endurance
  • Emotional connection to the music
  • Musical delivery
  • Rhythmic awareness
  • Trust in vocal ability
  • Trust in self
  • Other areas of life like career and home organization (regular practice teaches organization, and better voices get more and better work)

 

There are many benefits to voice work beyond just having a better voice. I hope more people discover their ability to make great sound and have fun in the process.

 

 

Liz Johnson Schafer

  • + A short story about my career path

    This profession chose me, I didn’t choose it.

     

    I majored in psychology, and after graduating with a degree and certificate in mental health work, moved to Nashville to start my first job.  Music City, USA. Saxophone in hand, and a research position to get my adult life started, I jumped into the big pond of music making and the music industry.

     

    A year after moving to Nashville, jazz singing became my first taste of making music vocally, and I instantly fell in love. For over 20 years now I have immersed myself in the world of singing through gigging and, eventually, teaching.

     

    Voice science entered the scene a few years after starting my teaching career. Both which, by the way, happened by accident. Vanderbilt University needed a “jazz voice teacher,” and I enthusiastically said “yes!” only to discover that I love teaching more than any job I’ve ever done.

     

    After attending a seemingly random voice science lecture, my heart again fell for another field: the science behind the voice. A master’s degree in vocal performance and a certificate in vocology later, I now work as a full-time voice technician and entrepreneur.

     

    My career is modeled after and mentored by people like Tom Blaylock of the Northwest Institute of Voice, as well as countless researchers and clinicians such as Ingo Titze, of the National Center for Voice and Speech, and Tom Cleveland, of the Vanderbilt Voice Center.

     

    I’ve spent the last 15 years soaking up as much information and experience as possible in order to be able to help people solve the technical issues that hold their voices back - both physically and emotionally. All of the experience from my seemingly disparate career paths - from research, to domestic violence advocacy, to performance - blend perfectly in the work of helping people find solutions to any number of voice “challenges.”

     

    Check out my free YouTube series called Interviews on Voice Matters, our new store called Straws For Voice, and social media and blog dedicated to sharing voice information. You can find this information on the resources page of this website.

     

  • + Click here to view my CV

    Liz Johnson

    Website: lizjohnsonvoice.com

    Email: liz@lizjohnsonvoice.com

     

    Degrees

    Master’s in Commercial Vocal Performance (MM), Belmont University, August 2013

    Certificate in Vocology, National Center for Voice and Speech, University of Utah, August 2012

    B.S. in Psychology, University of Illinois, Champaign, Urbana, May 1997

     

    Voice Teaching Experience

    Adjunct Artist Teacher of Jazz Voice, Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University, 2005-2016

    Applied Voice Instructor, Trevecca Nazarene University, 2014-2016

    Adjunct Professor, Belmont University, 2012-2013.  Interim Director: Jazzmin, Jazz Vocal Ensemble I

    Private Voice Instructor, East Nashville School of Music, 2007-2011

    Adjunct Voice Instructor, Nashville State Community College, 2011-2013

    Voice and Performance Faculty, Nashville Jazz Workshop, Nashville, TN, 2008-Present

    Private Studio Owner - Specializing in vocal habilitation, Love Revolution Vocal Studio/Liz Johnson Voice, 2009-Present

     

    Leadership Experience

    Central Governor, Pan American Vocology Association (PAVA), 2017-2019

    Certification Program Coordinator, Nashville Jazz Workshop (NJW), 2017-Present

    President and Co-founder, Nashville Vocal Pedagogy Colloquium, 2014-2017

     

    Professional Associations

    National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), 2011-2016

    Jazz Educators Network (JEN), 2016-Present

    Pan-American Vocology Association (PAVA), Charter member, 2013-Present

     

    Online Publications

    Interviews on Voice Matters, YouTube, 2016-Present

    Quick Tips for Voice, YouTube, 2015-Present

    Studio blog: blog.lizjohnsonvoice.com

     

    Presentations and Workshops

    Caterpillar Financial Corp., Employee Education Outreach Presentation, Nashville, TN, September 2017

    • “Finding Your Voice: Empowerment Through Vocalization"

     

    Voice Foundation, Vocal Workshop, Philadelphia, PA, June 2017

    • “Jazz Training and Vocal Function"

     

    Jazz Educators Network, Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, January 2017

    • “Functional Voice Training Through Jazz Literature and Style"

     

    Pan American Vocology Association, Annual Symposium, Scottsdale, AZ, October 2016

    • Nashville Vocal Pedagogy Colloquium: "Practical Ideas for Building Community Connections and Sharing Vocology", Co-presented with Jennifer Coleman, DMA

     

    Caterpillar Financial Corp., Employee Education Outreach Presentation, Nashville, TN, September 2016

    • “Finding Your Voice"

     

    American Association of Physics Teachers Conference, Winter Meeting, January 2013

    • “Vocal Technique in Jazz,” Co-presented with Dr. Ingo Titze, Director of the National Center for Voice and Speech, University of Utah

     

    Vanderbilt University Medical Center Conference: Contemporary Perspectives and Health in the Commercial Voice, March 2013 and March 2014

    • “Jazz vocal technique: A model for contemporary voice training”

     

    Vanderbilt University Jazz Department Improvisation Clinic, March 2013

    • “Jazz improvisation for H.S. singers”, Hinsdale Jazz Choir

     

    Christian Music Industry Academy (CMI) Conference, Nashville, TN, June 2013

    • “Vocal health and the working musician”

     

    Graduate Lecture/Recital, Belmont University, June 2013

    • “Jazz Vocal Technique: A model for contemporary voice training”

     

    Nashville Jazz Workshop Jazz Camp, July 2013 and June 2015

    • “The basics of vocal warm-ups”
    • "Beginning jazz vocal improvisation: the blues"

     

    Musical Theatre teacher’s training seminar, Mt. Juliet, TN, January 2014

    • “Training the vocal athlete: an overview of vocal function and vocal techniques”

     

    Private Studio Seminars, Nashville, TN, March 2016

    • “How to teach jazz voice: a preliminary guide for classical voice pedagogues”
    • “The aging voice: a seminar for professional vocalists”

     

    Vocal Performance Experience

    Special Guest Performer with the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, 2010-2011

    Lead Vocalist with The Establishment Big Band, 2001-2011

    Festival performances in the Southeast

    Jazz performances in Denver, NYC, and Chicago

    Radio appearances, Live in Studio C, WPLN, Nashville, TN

     

    Awards

    Semi-finalist at the Montreux Jazz Festival Vocal competition, 2004

    Recordings played on Bob Parlocha’s nationally syndicated jazz radio show

     

Liz Johnson

I have a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from Belmont University, and have also completed a Certificate in Vocology through the University of Utah and the National Center for Voice and Speech. I love learning how things work and then using that knowledge to help people grow and heal. My first and second loves are psychology and jazz, which have become the basis for helping singers regain voice ability and more awareness of their innate talents.

In addition to my primary work as a Vocologist (Voice Instructor), I perform jazz, play saxophone, compose, and teach jazz style. I also serve as the Central Region Governor for the Pan American Vocology Association (PAVA) and as the Certificate Program Coordinator for Nashville Jazz Workshop (NJW).