Read testimonials from some of Emily’s students and those who have embarked on An Odyssey of Song:
Opening the Voice…and Authentic Expression
It’s December 2015 and I recently performed my Odyssey song, the product of diving head and heart first into Emily’s An Odyssey of Song: A Musical Journey Into Your Creative Heart. I gotta say, singing from the heart knowing I was fully supported felt incredible. My heart-felt thanks go out to Emily for her support, guidance, and encouragement throughout the entire journey from start to song!
Emily’s An Odyssey of Song led me on a journey through my inner world. Her coaching and the activities and stories in the workbook were my guides and way-pointers. As a child I loved choose your own adventure books so being able to pick the activities that resonated best and challenged me most was a joy. Along my journey I encountered a number of trials. With Emily’s guidance, I turned, faced, and embraced my trials. Things that were once locked up and blocking me from expressing creatively started to open and flow, bringing with them a sense of playful ease (and at times, tears, laughter, and many other emotions!): I explored the guitar; while playing music live I heard melodies and musical themes in my head, enabling me to explore further with more confidence and a light, open heart; I found words pouring onto the page as I wrote.
One of my favorite parts of my personal Odyssey journey was when my voice started opening more fully for what feels like the first time in my life, giving me felt-sensations of change in connection, tone, quality, and power. For a few months now—since releasing and redirecting some blocked up energies—I have been excited to play with my changing, strengthening voice. For the previous three decades my voice was wrapped in fear—fear which I previously attempted to confront but had somehow stayed stuck inside. Not anymore! I am emerging from my Odyssey of Song journey excited and curious, ready to explore my voice more and sing louder and more proud than ever before!
Just like all my favorite teachers over the years, Emily is engaging, energetic, enthusiastic, fun, light-hearted, clear, and compassionate. I am grateful for Emily’s compassion-driven approach to learning and self-discovery. Emily created and held open a safe environment where my mistakes became lessons in and of themselves, then strengths I could play with and build upon. I am deeply grateful for Emily’s creative approach toward unlocking authentic self-expression as well as her her commitment to supporting her students and their finding their own, unique path to self expression. Many thanks!
Patrick Broom (2015)
A Breath of Fresh Air…
Emily is a breath of fresh air in musical study. I would describe her approach as more holistic than technical and she has the unique ability to meet students where they’re at in their musical journey rather than force a prescribed method. The results are dramatic. I started with her to strengthen my voice and performance skills and in turn have increased my confidence, understand better why I’m doing it, and have learned to better share what it is I have to say. She helps you travel around the ego and let your real voice shine which we so often bury beneath layers of emotion, shame, fear, pain — you fill in the blanks. And she does it in a light, non-threatening manner with so much passion and laughter it will make you want to sing — the reason you came to her in the first place. 😉
Guitars and Knowing Emily
I started my musical “journey” in high school in the 60’s, trying to be cool while singing folk songs on the guitar. Now that I am in my 60’s, I decided it was time to try again, and I am stubborn. After discovering that, at my age, I am neither cool nor can my voice fill a room with emotion-packed folk songs of yore, I have had to re-think my motivation and direction regarding my interest in music…and time is a-wasting!
Through luck and happenstance, I met Emily almost two years ago. Since then, she has tirelessly humored and encouraged me as I have struggled to discover what it is about making music that compels me.
In my “travels” with Emily, I discovered that I wanted to find answers to the mysteries of music theory. Knowing all the G, C, D and A chords in the world didn’t clarify any of this to me. Emily got it! She has the patience of a saint and sense of humor that is infectious. She finds joy in the concept of process, which she refers to as the “journey’ and shares this joy enthusiastically. She makes it clear that the destination is only secondary. These qualities are, of course, why she is such a wonderful teacher and a pleasure to know!
So Emily has been leading me, and sometimes following me, down my path to “enlightenment” with energy and insight. She challenges me with books, CDs and her own considerable musical talent, always explaining what might be learned from them. The “joy” is following along too, and with it, my sense of humor and self-esteem are slowly evolving. In fact, currently I am toying with the idea of buying yet another guitar-electric of course, and perhaps my destiny will be playing lead for a geriatric blues band.
“We love Emily!” She has helped my daughter not only learn Piano at 8 yrs old, but has opened up a world of other avenues; singing and composing music too. We really feel “lucky” to have her in our daughter’s circle of influence.
—Sheree Sagely, Templeton, Ca. (2012)
Finding My Breath, My Voice…
As a pastor, student, teacher and speaker of twenty years, I was led to learn to lead worship in the small congregation I pastor. I know this call is from God and so ordained, but in the beginning I was also driven by frustration, anger and a miss guided I will show you personality.
It had been an exhausting and challenging year of ministry and life and knowing that God inhabits the praises of His people. I wanted to praise.
My first lessons with Emily can best be described as sharing moments of rest along a bubbling brook, catching my breath in the cool shade, refreshing long pressed feet in the cool flowing ripples, a cold class of pure cold artesian spring water to my lips, a gentle almost chilly breeze tingling over my skin.
Emily taught me to once again find my breath, taking deep the very spirit of God, my body responding with healing, my mind cleansing, clearing, expanding.
Emily guided me on a journey in search of my singing voice. Along the way we both were led to realize it was time for me to take up an instrument and I began to learn the guitar. How could I have known God had placed so much healing in the strings? As I learned to fret the cords the vibrations moved deep within and stirred my soul. In my heart and soul motives driving my desire to sing and play began to be exposed, some good and some missing the mark. God caused me to understand that music and song must come from a holy place. I was led to repent and release wrong motives, hurt and pain. I am beginning to find my voice and music and song and in so doing joy. Joy shared with God, with self and I believe one day with others.
To be sure I am just beginning to find my voice and my song. I am just an infant with guitar and music, but I am already blessed and forever connected to the process.
I truly consider Emily a friend and a minister of God ordained to guide others to a place of healing and discovery, releasing the song that has been lovingly and carefully placed by God Himself into the hearts and souls of every one of His children. I am grateful to God for setting Emily apart as His chosen guide in this sacred journey. I give Him all the glory.
God bless you Emily and keep you in His eternal love. I pray you will be always faithful to your special calling.
It’s Never Too Late!
Let me start by saying that I am 53 years old, and I have always wanted to sing. There is a pure, sweet, soprano living inside my body; I can hear her, but when I open my mouth to let her out, she’d go missing, disappearing for the duration. For many reasons, singing became a source of shame to me; I gradually stopped trying to sing at all.
When I met Emily, I instinctively felt that not only would she understand my need to sing; but I also knew that she could help me learn to sing. I told her that I wanted to recapture that innocent child inside of me who loved to jump on the bed with her best friend, singing “Happy Together” at the top of her lungs.
Well, perhaps not literally.
But I definitely wanted to get the joy back. I wanted to sing without worrying that I was bothering people; I wanted to sing with confidence that I was hitting the right notes.
My first lesson was a total blur. I remember almost nothing from it, save the feeling as I walked away that this was the best decision I’d made in a long time. Despite my insecurities and fears, I knew Emily was going to find that soprano (or her contralto cousin) and convince her to come out.
We’re still working on that; it’s only been a little over a month, after all. I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m getting there. Every now and then I actually startle myself as a pure, beautiful note comes out of my mouth. It brings such joy to me to be able to do that; I can’t describe the feeling, but it’s amazing. Emily has been a wonderful leader on this journey; she makes me feel safe, and she challenges me to try new things and keep growing.
I’m singing again—and no one can stop me!
A Life Changing Experience…
Songwriting for your Soul is a life changing experience and an ongoing exciting journey. You’ll find yourself not only writing songs but creating a new way of conscious living. This work will be the best money, time, investment in your life. You’ll learn how to really take care of what’s most important in your life (YOU) and have fun learning and doing it. I’m so grateful that Emily Yurcheshen has come in my life and taught me this wonderful work. Namaste.
—Lulu Orozco, musician and music teacher