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Natural Awakenings New York City

Business Spotlight - Jean McClelland Empowering Through Voice

Every one of us was given a tool—our natural voice—that we can use to feel and appear more confident. If we allow that voice to become suppressed, however, our confidence suffers, and so does the image we project. 

Since 1986, Jean McClelland has taught Awakening Your True Voice at the New York Open Center, using breathing and postural techniques to help people restore their powerful natural voice, one that’s spontaneous, open and expressive. 

“This is the voice we discover when we’re completely at ease and comfortable in our surroundings,” she says. “Often, however, past experiences, fears, and mental and physical tension lead to habits that restrict the natural flow of breath and voice, resulting in a forced, unnatural sound. So I give students lifelong tools to help them uncover their true voice.”

A former stage performer, McClelland says she’s found unparalleled joy in singing and speaking freely and spontaneously. Now she sees that dynamic at work in her classes at the Open Center, which bring together participants from all age groups and all walks of life.

“There is nothing more inspiring than the community that comes about from people joining together in song,” she says. “Students leave the class energized and uplifted, and in many instances, lives are transformed and empowered. People who have never sung or have been told they can’t sing suddenly do so, and people who have lost their love of singing regain it.” 

While McClelland describes her work with students as “highly creative and intuitive,” it’s also grounded in science. She says developing a physical understanding of breath support helps us become more musical and truthful singers, no matter the style, and more engaging and committed speakers. 

Her lessons incorporate the Alexander Technique, which focuses on posture and movement, as well as the groundbreaking breathwork of Carl Stough, under whom she studied, to help students find more freedom in their body and strength and expression in their voice.

Ultimately the goal is self-empowerment through the freeing of body, breath, and voice—a goal we’re all naturally equipped to achieve. 

“Throughout all my study and searching, all my teaching and all my performing, I have come to understand that everything that helps us sing and move freely and spontaneously is already in us,” McClelland says. “We only need to learn how to open to it and bring it to consciousness.”

For more information, contact Jean McClelland at 201-281-5138 or