Discover the Potential of YOUR Unique Voice
I specialize in guiding singers to discover the incredible potential of their voice, by resolving muscular, postural, and mind-body-breath imbalances that prevent them from singing at their best and sometimes even have caused pathologies. As the only certified advanced MDH Breathing Coordination practitioner in the US, I am uniquely qualified to work with clients dealing with breathing and voice pathologies involving muscle tension with or without breathing imbalances. By eliminating muscle tension, dysfunctional posture, and inefficient breathing, the voice is free to reach its fullest performance potential.
Singer, teacher, arranger, music director, pianist, performance coach. For almost 30 years Crystal has been living in the world of professional music. She has coached professional and aspiring professional singers in Pop, R&B, Indie, Musical Theatre, Country, Classical and Jazz styles and has had students as finalists of National Vocal Competitions, Semi-Finalist on NBC’s “The Voice” and National Tours of Broadway shows.
AZUSA PACIFIC UNIVERSITY
BA, Vocal Performance & Music Theory, 1993
Cal State Long Beach
MM, Vocal Performance, 2004
• Certified MDH Breathing Coordination Practitioner
• Voting Member, Pan-American Vocology Assocation
• Mentor, Vocology in Practice
• National Association of Teachers of Singing, Los Angeles Chapter,
• Association for Popular Music Education
• Performing Arts Medicine Association
From the time I was very young, I knew I wanted to be a singer. I started piano lessons at age 6 and would spend hours playing and singing just about any type of music my parents could find. I threw myself heart and soul into all my activities, using my voice at full volume for sometimes hours a day. By the time I was 14 I was diagnosed with nodules and was prescribed speech therapy for the first time. After my course of speech therapy my vocal condition did not improve. My voice teacher eventually informed me that if I continued to be non-compliant that she would drop me as a student. This of course was heartbreaking to me. I was so passionate about singing, I didn’t understand why I wasn’t improving.
During college I continued to struggle with my vocal health. As my musicality grew and matured, unfortunately my voice did not. I eventually changed my major entirely, and completed my Bachelor’s degree without fanfare. After graduation I realized my heart was still in music, and decided to go back and finish my degree, since it was all I really wanted to do with my life. I became a star pupil of vocal protection, limiting the amount of singing I did each day, getting plenty of rest, hydrating, and everything else I was instructed to do. In spite of my limitations, I was able to complete my vocal performance degree, but it became clear to me that I was vocally fragile, and it seemed I always would be.
Over the next 12 or so years I performed when I could, and taught both voice and piano, always seeking the balance between freedom in performance and vocal protection. At various times, I experienced vocal chord spasms, muscle tension dysphonia, and eventually discovered that I had quite severe acid reflux and chronic post nasal drip. Beginning in 2005, the power and clarity of my speaking voice started to deteriorate quite rapidly. It got to the point I could barely speak above a gentle conversation level without discomfort. The harder I tried to correct the issue, the worse it became.
In 2007 it became clear to me that teaching was going to be my life’s work, and I determined that I should learn everything I could about teaching so that I would not pass on my own vocal issues to the next generation. My nodules finally disappeared, through rigorous application of self-protection, but vocal chord scarring remained. In spite of all my studies, my voice was getting weaker, instead of stronger. Intuitively again, I suspected it was my breathing. I desperately sought answers, asked every master teacher I could get time with to describe what proper breathing should be, and felt I never received an answer that made sense to me, based on what I was feeling in my body.
In the course of my quest, during the winter of 2014, I was introduced to MDH Breathing Coordination, and immediately realized this was what I was missing in my training. I began my MDH Breathing Coordination studies in the fall of 2014, and received my certification in February 2017. In March of 2019 I became the first MDH Breathing Coordination Advanced Certified Practitioner in the US. In the course of my studies, I can only say that it was absolutely transformational for me. I realized that while I struggled in my vocal training, the harder I worked, the more stress it was putting on my vocal cords, the more my voice deteriorated. As I learned what the proper role of each structure was, combined with appropriate breath flow and muscle engagement, I started to see improvement in my voice. And not just minor improvement. The power, clarity and stamina that I achieved was dramatic. I went from barely being able to teach 3 hours without strain and fatigue to now teaching 9 hours with no problem, demonstrating along the way as needed, then switching gears into family life—talking to my kids, reading books to them, singing, and any other normal vocal activity that used to be so limited for me. My acid reflux diminished to the point that it is almost non existent (I’ll save that story for another day). I also saw huge improvement in my students. Not only are they healthy and strong, but there is an ease to their facility that was never there before.
So, why do I share my story? Throughout my vocal journey, and in the course of my training, I have become very aware of what is being taught in studios all over America and the world. I have studied with traditional and non-traditional voice teachers along the way. Although there are many wonderful things that I learned, there WAS something missing. It was breathing coordination: that precise coordination of various muscle sets in the body that lead to maximum performance with minimum effort, allowing the voice to find the special balance of resonance and power that is unique to every individual. It is my sincere wish that no student should ever have to suffer through the dysfunction that plagued me throughout my entire life. When I look back on my journey thus far, I am so grateful for every step along the way. I absolutely believe that all the issues I have struggled with make me a better, more compassionate teacher than I would have been otherwise. When I look to the future, I believe vocal training must include a highly individual approach to each singer, assisting them to find the balance that is unique within their own body. For those singers who struggle with their vocal health, it I can be literally career-saving. For others who are already performing at a high level, it takes their skill, ease and freedom to an even higher degree.