Neil McLennan of Time Out: session/interview with Blue Marsden

Psychotherapist and Vocal Coach Blue Marsden is crucially aware of the strong association between the body and the mind. In fact, he’s combined the two in a unique treatment that boosts both the ability of anyone who believes they can’t sing and the confidence of anyone who can but is just a bit shy.

As he tells me, vocal inadequacy is as much to do with mental blockage as physical deficiency. It’s all about belief. While bad posture can be easily sorted, hypnotherapy is an effective way of freeing the subconscious from its shackles.

But before that, a quick assessment has me on my feet running through a few scales. I make a few squeaking stabs at the high notes and there’s rather too much air down low but, remarkably, he doesn’t wince. Infact, he declares that within my mid-register lurks an ‘attractive quality’, which is odd as they’re words I’ve never heard used to describe my voice before.
After a tongue-loosening exercise, Marsden checks my breathing, urging me to fill up from the stomach (easy), then my sides (more tricky) and my back (much work needed).

Next comes the hypnotherapy part. I’m to cast my mind back to a time when I was super-relaxed. Next thing I know, I’m feeling a beach in Mexico. When Marsden’s voice shifts a tonal gear, I know there’s no going back. I’m under and he’s free to chat to my subconscious. I hear the words, but am powerless to resist till he counts me back to reality, five minutes later.

A quick stretch, a deep breath and it’s time to check for results. Instantly, there’s a vocal agility I didn’t have before. Rather than strain for anything, I’m making vocal leaps and bounds, even showing off with a few improvised flourishes. It’s not exactly miraculous (though Marsden has plenty of these stories that are), but I have newfound confidence. Move over Pavarotti, there’s a new kid in town.