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Episode 1: Why I Can’t Wait to Hear You

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Why I Can't Wait to Hear You

I wasn’t always a singer and a voice teacher. In fact, as a child I was told to “mouth the words.”

Listen in to hear more about that, and how I found my way to singing, and why, if you struggle with singing or speaking, there’s hope for you, too. 

You can subscribe to Can’t Wait to Hear You wherever you get podcasts.  If you have a question about your voice or how you’re using it, please email

Our music is thanks to Katya and Ada.
The show is edited by K.O. Myers at Particulate Media.


Your voice is unique to you. It grows as you grow. It changes as you change. If you’re curious about the relationship between your voice and your body, your heart and your mind, welcome. My name is Michèle Voillequé and I can’t wait to hear you. 

Today I want to say a little bit more about what I mean by, “I can’t wait to hear you.” I’m a singer and a voice teacher and a real voice geek. I’m fascinated by the human voice, how it works, the art and science of it. And I am enthralled by the uniqueness of it. 

A voice is unique to the body that’s producing it. Even if you have a twin, you and your sibling do not have identical voices. Your voice is unique to you. There won’t be another one like it throughout all of time. And that is just amazing to me. 

And I’m hoping that this podcast will help you appreciate your own uniqueness, because I certainly do, even never having heard you, maybe. I know that there’s gold there, and I can’t wait to hear it. I want it to be expressed in the world. 

Because when we are our truest, clearest, strongest selves, the world is made more complete. The world is more whole. When we show up more… things get better. The world needs us, and I can’t wait to hear you because I know somebody needs you. Maybe many somebodies need you, and I want you to show up for them.

And there’s one more thing that you need to know about why I can’t wait to hear you. And that’s because I was not always a singer and a voice teacher. 

I started my life as a violin player when I was seven or eight years old and I did pretty well. And in fifth grade, part of the curriculum was learning all of the patriotic songs. in our class, um, for this big district wide assembly that was going to happen at the end of the year with the Up With People people, if you remember who the Up With People people were. 

So we’re singing all year long. I’m loving it. And we get to the performance time and my teacher pulls me to the side and says, “Michèle, you know, you can just mouth the words. That might be better.” 

I don’t have words to convey the shame and humiliation I felt in that moment, but I think if you’ve had a similar moment, you know what I’m talking about. 

It might not have been about your voice, it might have been about something else, but just like that. The shame that makes you wish that you could just be vaporized, and just not have to be on the planet anymore. It was that kind of a feeling. 

So Mrs. French, my 5th grade teacher, she was totally fine with not hearing me. And, I kept singing at home. I sang in the car. I had parents who, supported my musical interests. They never told me that I sounded terrible or was horribly out of tune or anything like that. 

I think there might have been some truth in what Mrs. French said. That was not a good way to, if I was really creating a problem for the class with how I was singing, that was not the way to deal with it. But, you know, maybe I did really suck. You know, it’s possible. 

Um, so, I didn’t start singing, you know, in a, air quotes, “official” kind of way or, outside of the campfire or the car trip, um, until I went to college and I was in my freshman English seminar, introducing myself to the girl next to me who played the flute, and I played the violin, and the woman who was teaching the class overheard that and made a beeline for us at the break or at the end of class, I don’t remember, and she said, do you two read music? And we looked at each other and we said, “yes.”

And she said, “I’m in a community chorus that really needs altos and um, I would love it if you could come.” And my friend Elizabeth said, “I’m a soprano. I can’t sing alto.” And I said, “I’m not really a singer.”

And the teacher, who was also named Elizabeth, Beth looked at me and said, “you don’t need to be a singer in order to be an alto, you just have to be able to read music,” which, if you’re a musician, is a pretty funny joke, because you do need to be able to sing to be an alto. 

But her point was that the alto line in a chorus is a harmony part. It’s in the middle. It’s often very difficult to hear. And you really need to be able to read what the composer intended in order to, um, do what the composer intended. You can’t fake your way through an alto part, for the most part. 

Anyway, Elizabeth looked at me and said, “well, I’ll go if you go,” and I said, “well, I’ll go if you go.” And so we went to this community chorus rehearsal and I sat in the alto section and I read the part and I used my voice. I just said, okay, well, it’s just pretend you’re playing the violin and let that sound come out of your mouth.

And I did, and they didn’t tell me that I should mouth the words. They asked if we would come back the next week and we did. And that is what started me singing. And now, many years later, let’s see, I was 17 when that happened and I’m 52 now, I’m a singer and a voice teacher. 

I have years of experience to prove that practice makes better, that just because you can’t today doesn’t mean you might not be able to one day. 

I can’t wait to hear you because I know that your voice is a muscle and muscles change as they’re used. And if there’s something about your voice that you don’t like right now, we can probably fix that. 

Maybe not with my podcast alone. You might actually need some voice lessons and there are plenty of people on the planet to help you with that. But, there is hope. You’re not stuck where you are.

When children struggle with math or reading, we don’t, put our arm around their shoulder and say, “Darling, you know, math just isn’t for you. Reading is just not going to be important in your life.” We don’t say that. 

We make flashcards. We, um, find after school programs. We do drills at the kitchen table. We sound out words. We try everything we know to help the child succeed with math and reading because we don’t want them living in our basement unable to balance a checkbook when they’re 35. Right? 

It’s important: learn arithmetic, learn to read. These are non-negotiables for success in life. But when a child struggles with singing or when a child struggles with public speaking, we’re very quick to say, “It’s just not your thing. It’s just not your talent. Spend your energy somewhere else.” 

And I think that does just a horrible disservice to the human population because your voice is part of your body and it’s part of your birthright. And I want you to use it to the fullest extent you care to. So I can’t wait to hear you because I know it will be a glorious sound. Even if it’s not today, it will be a glorious sound. 

Thanks so much for listening.

If you enjoyed today’s episode, please rate and review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. Every positive review helps new people find the show. Subscribing ensures you’ll learn about new episodes as soon as they come out. If you have a question about singing or speaking or being, please send me an email at

That’s letters at M as in Mary, V as in Victor, M U S I 

Transcripts and show notes are available on my website. You can subscribe to my newsletter there, too. Can’t Wait to Hear You is produced in conjunction with Particulate Media. I’m your host, Michèle Voillequé. I can’t wait to hear you.

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