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Finding your voice

January 30, 2018 Updated: January 30, 2018 at 4:15 am
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photo - Crystal Bliss Lardy. Photo by Jana Critchlow, Noa's Art Photography.
Crystal Bliss Lardy. Photo by Jana Critchlow, Noa's Art Photography. 

This is for the ones who want help finding their voice.

Crystal Bliss Lardy sees you. She was one of you.

"I didn't sing in choirs growing up," said Lardy, a licensed professional counselor and performing artist who plays with Crystal and the Curious. "It was just me listening to music and singing. When I had the opportunity to sing with a group or other musicians, I hesitated. I was shy, although I wanted to badly."

Enter voice movement therapy, an expressive arts therapy modality much like music, drama or art therapies.

Lardy completed a 500-hour training on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., in 2003-2004 and is now a registered voice movement therapy practitioner. She'll offer a four-part series called "Voice Movement Therapy: Exploring the Embodied Voice" on four Sunday afternoons February through May at SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs. Attendees are encouraged to take all four workshops to gain the most benefit, but it's not required.

"It was really profound for me," Lardy said about the training. "I was finding my voice as a singer."

The 90-minute classes aren't intended only for those interested in singing. They're aimed at anybody who wants to explore the range of their voice, which could mean the tonal quality, volume and nonverbal aspects of sound - all the information a voice can convey that's not linked to language or words.

Teachers, actors and anyone who uses their voice in a professional capacity are welcome. The work also benefits those reluctant about voicing opinions or ideas who want to speak up and contribute their voice to the world.

Lardy will focus on helping folks develop their personal, spherical space in which to explore 10 vocal qualities. Techniques and breath work also will help people access a wider range of expressive capacity, which could result in reaching a higher or lower note or bringing a new color or emotion to a song for those who are musically inclined.

"My involvement with the therapy has brought a lot of self-awareness and self-acceptance of more aspects of myself," she said. "On a daily basis, I may be more willing to express myself authentically. That is huge and one of the incredible opportunities that people can gain through this kind of work."

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