Thursday, May 26, 2016

Stephanie Heidemann, Authentic Voicework Singer & Instructor, Tells Her Story

The Tao does nothing, but leaves nothing undone.”

I am a singer, a lover and listener of nature … a woman, a poet, a mother.  My relationship with music has been that of a “conjurer”, rather than an obsession with notes running through my fingers and vocal cords. My passion is demonstrated through my voice. I have made many choices in commitment to the conjuring of music as energy, a divine partnership with the muse that is my beloved. A dear friend of mine (who was a devotee of Sri Satchidananda Swamiji) once said “why sing for people when you can sing for the gods?” That is my purpose, and a calling that haunts me when I don't listen to it.

“Your playing small does not serve the world. We were born to make
 manifest the glory of God that is within us.”

-Marianne Williamson, Return to Love  

The Resonance Founders, Julian Douglas & Stephanie Heidemann

My first experience hearing this type of music for the very first time was sitting in the woods of southern Indiana, in early spring, with drummer friends. I was 20 years old.  While they played the drums, I began to hear a song within the rhythmic pattern.  

And within the pattern, a tune that taunted me: “dum-da-dum-da-dum-dum-** - DOUBTS!”  

At first, I couldn't believe my ears, but then quickly I could not ignore the clarity of the message. I suddenly knew, that I had many doubts within myself that I still had to deal with -- and that they were “in the way” of something.  Shortly thereafter, I heard a voice from far off in the woods, as if the sun was rising on the horizon. At first, I looked for it, but there was no one there. Listening closely, it was the most pure and beautiful sound I had ever heard. The more I focused on it, the better I could hear it, as if it was coming closer. I suddenly put it all together ... if I could remove self-doubt, a great gift would be given - the gift of voice. 
I quickly became committed to unraveling self-doubt and self-deprecating habits because it was the wall keeping me from this gift waiting to come in.  It was painful, facing them, but the more I did it, the less fear I had. My commitment to receiving the gift was more important. I obtained a Bachelors in Expressive Arts Therapy (Indiana University) through an Independent Major Program, as they did not represent the field yet at that time (1998).  Years later, I studied with Metropolitan Opera singer, Brenda Boozer. 

As my voice teacher would say “singing is a bridge between heaven and earth”.  The voice is a passageway for holding heavenly space for myself and others. We must clear these passages in order to elevate ourselves and others.

I gave birth to my son in 2009, and tried to keep singing yet the stress of trying to hold up my commitment to singing seemed impractical for me.  I have included links to my music, below, and invite you to listen. 

My music partner, Julian and our son

I did a TEDXSarasota performance and soon after fell into a depression. So, I went and got a full-time job to settle the threat to my psyche, finances and my family. I stopped trying to manage working full-time plus find ways to hold after-hours rehearsals. I took a hiatus from music altogether to raise my son, to recover financially and diminish my stress. Every day, I felt the calling of my voice, but was not able to answer. It was devastating, as if I was doing something wrong, by turning my back on my one true calling. I felt support from my parents to keep a steady job, without the stress of the financial burden.

Performing at TEDXSarasota

Three years later, I withstood office work for as long as I could and quit my job. Now, with more financial stability, and my son older and in school, (only one week ago), I decided to stop prioritizing my financial goals over my gifts, to refocus on singing and teaching my Authentic Voice workshops!

And here I am today, in this moment, facing the music. I have started practicing again, even taking lessons to touch base with classical voice foundations, to find myself and my voice again. I am registered for Yoyo Ma's Silk Road “Global Musician's Workshop” next month, to explore and perform with other musicians. I am working toward opening the creative path again and to hearing the divine flow of music again.  I know it is my path, though even still, I find it scary to face the music. Will I succeed? Will I support myself? Will I let my family down? Fear will always be there, but the ultimate act of courage is to sing into the face of fear, and  keep going.

Teaching an Authentic Voice Workshop

Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you Brenda for this wonderful platform, and your amazing angelic support! Please stay tuned for more to come.

This is Week 20 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Stephanie’s story today. You can connect with Stephanie through Facebook and her two websites: Authentic Voicework and Stephanie Heidemann. Links to Stephanie's music are listed below so please take a well-deserved break and enjoy listening to the magic she creates with her voice:

1) "Night's Horizon"*This is the first song I ever “heard”/composed- waking up in the middle of the night to the chord progressions here... (1997); A rendering composed by simply following instructions, not by trying or aspiring, but by simply recording what is heard. Music by Stephanie Heidemann & Julian Douglas.

2) "Hello Now Goodbye"
*Video by David Gittens; Music by Julian Douglas, Stephanie Heidemann, David Gittens and Chinling Hsu.

3. "Devotion": (
Begins with a 13c Spanish Cantiga de Santa Maria.

4."Talafawa": *Words and Music by Julian Douglas.

5."Awaken Tiamat" (Video) *Video by David Gittens; Music by Julian Dougas, Stephanie Heidemann, David Gittens. Includes an Ethiopian folksong “Ewa beleyo”.