Liz Jackson Hearns (she/they)
Master of Music from North Park University; Vocology from University of Utah and University of Iowa
Co-Founder, Owner, and Principal Voice Instructor
Singers, speakers, and fellow voice teachers from all different backgrounds seek out Liz’s teaching for her ability to illuminate traditional voice pedagogy with evidence-based discoveries and methods in a creative and playful environment. In 2014, Liz began working with transgender/non-binary individuals, helping clients to develop voice and communication patterns that align with and affirm their identity. She also works with trans/non-binary singers, supporting a sustainable, healthy singing voice technique during medical transition (or not) and beyond.
Liz teaches fellow voice teachers who are eager to support their transgender and non-binary students through workshops, public speaking, training sessions, and online courses. Liz is the author of One Weird Trick: A User's Guide to Transgender Voice and co-author of The Singing Teacher's Guide to Transgender Voices. Liz's youngest family member, Robin (he/him until we hear otherwise from Robin), also eagerly helps The Voice Lab staff with new ways of exploring voice.
Why do you sing?
I’m a pretty textbook extrovert, so I mostly sing to express myself. I can’t imagine my life without singing - it’s just part of who I am.
Why do you teach other people to use their voices?
If you can get on board with something like life purpose, mine is to light things up. Naturally the “light bulb,” or “aha!” moments that happen in a voice lesson fit into that idea, and teaching is overwhelmingly fulfilling for me. I also try to keep things light, and most of the time my students and I are laughing and smiling while also getting some wonderful insights. Teaching, like singing, is part of who I am and I can’t imagine my life without it.
How do you describe your lessons?
Fun, encouraging, and doused with the word “good!” Nerdy, challenging, but in a way that empowers and enlightens.
What makes your teaching style unique?
I try to have a blend of technical explanation and gentle understanding. I’m a big proponent of voice science and the use of science in the lesson studio, so I try to use all that geeky stuff that’s in my head to guide my students toward their voice goals by putting all the jargon into accessible language.
What do you do with a new student at their first lesson?
Get to know them. We talk about their voice goals, what they think of their current voice, and ways to start moving toward those goals. We laugh, we make weird sounds, we explore and challenge the human voice. My goal is to make new students feel safe, so that they’ll be able to discover and start to develop their voice quickly and naturally.
What is your favorite teaching tool?
Straws are definitely my favorite teaching tool, since I use them at every lesson with every student. The basic idea is that straws allow voice students, whether working on singing or speaking, to maneuver through the voice in new ways without risking damage to the vocal fold tissue. It’s such a groovy, simple, yet powerful device!
What are your dreams for The Voice Lab?
My dream is for The Voice Lab to continue growing into a vibrant, supportive community of voice and music nerds. It fills my heart to see students succeeding and to see them creating community here. At every show, event, recital, and gathering, all the students are talking and laughing together and congratulating each other on successful performances. I want to keep fostering that and providing this empowering and creative space to as many people as possible.
Learn more here about Liz's One Weird Trick training for teachers
In the media/publications
Presentations and engagements: