Liz Jackson Hearns
Master of Music from North Park University; Vocology from University of Utah and University of Iowa
Co-Founder, Owner, and Voice Instructor
Singing voice, Trans voice
Singers from all different environments seek out Liz’s teaching for her ability to illuminate traditional voice pedagogy with new scientific discoveries and methods, encouraging a balanced and sustainable singing technique over a range of singing styles within a creative and joyful environment.
In 2014, Liz began working with transgender and gender nonconforming/nonbinary individuals, helping clients to develop a speaking voice that aligns with their affirmed identity. She also works with trans/gnc singers, supporting a sustainable, healthy singing voice technique during medical transition (or not) and beyond.
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 become something much larger than myself. It fills my heart to see students succeeding and to see them creating community among themselves. 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.
In the media/publications
Presentations and engagements: