About Melissa

My career as a coach, teacher, and practitioner of Voice, Somatic Awareness, and Sound Therapy began in 1999 while pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Acting. I found the voice and movement classes challenging in a way that helped me find my deepest gift as a teacher; I know what it is like to struggle to understand, and integrate, a new way of working. And I know many effective techniques to shift the struggle into an empowering journey towards success.

I went into a deep exploration of this work because I started having anxiety attacks. Luckily, the doctors quickly deduced what was going on and they recommended that I talk to one of the campus therapists right away. Every exercise she gave me to get through the performance that night was precisely what I was learning in Voice class. She explained that people have anxiety attacks because they forget to breathe. And that began my process of learning how to open to my breath, my center, my voice, and to the flow of life. I began to find balance again. I found the beginning of the path that led me to heal from anxiety, depression, and to regain an ability to speak my truth.

That moment in my life, and the many years that followed, helped me develop methods I now use with clients.

I used to be very adept at looking like everything was alright when it was anything but. I, like many people, had learned just to survive in this world. I learned not to speak my truth for fear of being abandoned or ridiculed. I used to be very good at having a “good voice” to the untrained ear and appearing confident. Luckily, I’ve had the best teachers and I didn’t fool them.

I got by, and I got by well. So why change? Because, eventually, I started receiving clear signs that “getting by” was becoming detrimental to my physical, mental, and emotional health. As I continued the work I found just how many walls I had created between me and other people. I wanted a better life for myself. And I saw the beginning steps towards achieving that life. I have now learned how to allow for authenticity. I am able to speak truthfully, powerfully, relationally, and with compassion.  

I started teaching Voice, Movement, and Speech (accents) at Texas State University – San Marcos in the Department of Theatre and Dance in August of 2002. I resigned from the tenured position and started my own private business in the summer of 2012.

My work has two basic approaches – one I call “active” and the other “passive”. In the active approach I work with you to give you exercises and strategies to achieve your goals. In the passive approach you lie on a table while you receive an energy work/sound therapy session. Client population varies, and includes, veterans, yogis, Somatic Therapists, teachers of all subjects, performers, motivational speakers, and business professionals looking to gain power in their voice and become effective in communication.

In both approaches, I aid people who are in the midst of transformation. Whether looking for help in professional or personal development, the techniques of grounding, finding and expressing the truth of the moment, becoming clear in objective and message, and feeling present, connected, and empowered during communication allow clients to have success towards their chosen goal.

I’m also skilled in Knight-Thompson Speechwork and have worked in TV and film, most notably as the Dialect Coach for the AMC series The Son, starring Pierce Brosnan. On that show I coached every accent and language spoken – it was an incredible challenge and an absolute delight! I have worked with actors, and business professionals, who need to acquire a new accent or sharpen their clarity of speech.

All of this work has a physical, mental, and emotional component. During our work, we address each of these three elements of the human experience. I get specific with the physiology behind WHY exercises work. I do that because it is my goal to have the work be yours forever. Empowerment is my aim and that means you need to understand why something works the way it does. This is the path to mastery. Whatever level of mastery you seek is the one I want for you. I help people remember their potential and then put it into practice.

I’m not only a teacher of the work, I continually practice it. Training is an ongoing pursuit; a lifelong endeavor. I was certified as an Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework in August of 2004, have taken workshop intensives in Knight-Thompson Speechwork, and have trained in Body-Mind Centering since the summer of 2012 where I am pursuing my certification as a Somatic Movement Educator. I am a Yoga Instructor (200 hr), Meditation Instructor (300 hr), Reiki Master Teacher, Advanced Pranic Healing Practitioner, and Sound Therapist. I study psychology, spirituality, and Eastern and Western Philosophy.

I’ve been teaching in the Austin area since 2002, have held workshops in Peru, Dallas, Mexico City, Utah, Colorado, Florida, and many other states in the United States. At the foundation of all of my classes, sessions, and workshops is the goal of getting the body and voice to be one.

One client, during an initial consultation, said “You’re like a one-stop shop!” And that is true. My curiosity around the esoteric, and practical, elements of living a balanced life have led me down many paths of expertise. My slant is always holistic. I am always looking for what is underneath the issue – where the seed of the “problem” begins. And that is where we start our work.

I use techniques of voice, sound, somatic movement, mindfulness, breath management and freedom, yoga, creative visualization, and applied physiology to teach people how to become the masters of their instrument. If you are looking for a compassionate, and knowledgeable, guide to assist you in achieving your goals of showing up in this world authentically, then let’s chat. This is precisely my passion and I am looking forward to beginning work with you!

Some notable teachers include: Catherine Fitzmaurice, Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen, Phil Thompson, Dudley Knight, Patsy Rodenburg, Nina Martin, Ralf Jaroschinski, Alicia Grayson, Margery Segal, Saul Kotzubei, Donna Snow, Lynne Innerst, David Howey, Joan Melton, Master Steven Co, and many more.

I have been a member of VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainer’s Association) since 2002 and am a former Secretary of the organization.