Estill Voice Training – Certificate of Figure Proficiency passed!

I can now proudly say that I am CFP qualified. Battling a never-ending cold, I started 2016 by passing the foundation exam that demonstrates the 26 different exercises of Jo Estill’s Voice Training. I won’t go into a long history of her life and work. You can find out more from the legacy which is her organisation Estill Voice International I will however give a brief summary of my experience so far and why I’m so in love with Estill Voice Training.

What is Estill Voice Training? 

Jo Estill said that “Everyone has a beautiful voice.” I love that: Everyone can sing. She listened to the human voice, ignoring aesthetic bias, and categorised singing into 6 styles or qualities:

  • Speech quality
  • Falsetto quality
  • Sob quality
  • Nasal & oral twang
  • Opera quality
  • Belting

Each quality (singing style) uses our mechanism, the voice, in different ways to create the effect we recognise. Estill Voice Training breaks each quality down into a list of ingredients you need to create the chosen sound: For example how high the larynx is; how close the vocal folds are; whether the muscles in your throat are constricted or retracted; whether the sound is bright or nasal… I could go on and on!

Why Estill?

Understanding the voice as the amazing and highly sophisticated instrument it is has helped me no end in my practice, performance and teaching. Since I was a teenager, I have craved a visual aid and more detailed understanding of how my voice works. Despite a music degree, singing diploma and years and years of lessons and experience, the voice remained rather mystical – an occasionally temperamental gift.

I now understand the mechanism. (Although you can never stop learning!) I can listen to my voice and add to or alter the “ingredients” to change the sound in a way I haven’t previously: I see it as something to be trained and strengthened, like an athlete. If my voice is tired, I can approach a note differently. If I want it to cut through more, I know what to change in my naturally breathy tone. I now have more colours in my vocal palette and feel more adventurous in the repertoire I choose to learn, stretching my range and trying different styles. I also find that it helps me help others, pin-pointing the reason for the sound they are making and providing exercises to help try and achieve a different one.

I recently heard a parent praising the performance of a child in a school concert. They meant well when they marvelled at the luck of his “natural gift”, but their comment annoyed me. This 8 year old child, who had just performed a grade 5 piano piece, had not reached this point solely by luck. He had practised and practised to get to the level he was so far… Yes, some are blessed with a superior vocal instrument. Some are blessed with less aesthetically pleasing instruments. But I feel that Estill Voice Training helps to prove that we can all master our own instruments and unique sound with the tools we have been given and of course some hard work.

Everyone can sing and singing brings great joy to the singer and their audience. Thank you Jo Estill and Charlotte Shorthouse, my amazing Estill teacher for all your knowledge, enthusiasm and patience.


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Jennifer Maslin
Based on 17 reviews
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Luisa Santos-Stephens
Luisa Santos-Stephens
14:56 20 Nov 19
Jennifer is an incredible singer. We had her with Cafe Society to play at my 40th and it was everything I could dream off- they played beautiful music, and brought a very good vibe to the party. All the guests talked about how great they were, with a repertoire of very nice songs which we loved to listen to, but at the same time allowing us to keep the conversation going. I can’t recommend her enough.
Lisa Purcell
Lisa Purcell
19:34 03 Sep 19
Jenny sang beautifully at our wedding in August 2019! She moved many members of the congregation to tears with her amazing singing. We absolutely loved it and would highly recommend her. Each time we meet up with friends and family that were there, they all comment on how amazing her singing was and how much they enjoyed it! She sang a Maori love song perfectly - commented the relatives from New Zealand! X
Rachel McGuckin
Rachel McGuckin
16:06 27 Jun 19
Jenny was the absolute highlight of our wedding ceremony. We picked some tricky songs and she had the whole audience joining in at the chorus. Luckily they didn't join at all points because it gave everyone a chance to hear her beautiful voice as well! I can't recommend highly enough.
Kate McNamara
Kate McNamara
14:36 12 Jun 19
Jenny was amazing from the moment I enquired about her playing the violin at our wedding ceremony. So quick to respond, helpful, friendly, flexible & professional, and was able to recommend songs and even learnt a new song for the exit music. I was so confident that she had everything under control which was invaluable and it was something on the day that I knew I just didn’t have to worry about. Jenny is so talented and it really added to the ceremony, I am so pleased that I found her! Thank you so so much!
Aimee Curry
Aimee Curry
13:56 15 Feb 19
We highly recommend Jenny! She played amazing violin music beautifully at our wedding. Jenny was so lovely and was so approachable and helpful to plan our ceremony music which was a highlight of the day and also the drinks reception music.
T Whyte
T Whyte
19:17 30 Jan 19
Jenny sang at our wedding - her music set the tone and made for a truly special experience. She has a beautiful voice, is very easy to work with, and worked seamlessly with our (very exacting) venue to get everything just right. Thank you Jenny!
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