Cork soprano shares the power of voice vibration in her online classes

Mantras and chants can increase joy and creativity, improve sleep, and reduce stress, says soprano Kim Sheehan, who tells EMMA CONNOLLY how these practices have changed her life and why she wants to share the benefits with others
Cork soprano shares the power of voice vibration in her online classes

Kim Sheehan. Picture: Joleen Cronin

IF you’re looking for something to go straight to the jugular to make you feel better and lead a more fearless, authentic life, voice vibration could be for you.

And before you dismiss it as ‘hippy dippy’, one Crosshaven woman promises that the practice of mantras and chants can increase joy and creativity, improve sleep, decrease stress and anxiety, and provide relief from the ‘stuck-ness’ of Covid.

In fact, Kim Sheehan says it will help you live a highly fulfilled life, even in the most ordinary circumstances.

And the professional opera singer should know as she used it to help recover from the career burn-out and become pregnant after five years of trying.

Kim Sheehan. Picture: Joleen Cronin
Kim Sheehan. Picture: Joleen Cronin

Kim has been a professional opera singer for more than 20 years, singing in some of Europe’s most prestigious opera houses, and performing many iconic roles.

Nine years ago, when she was in her early 30s and her career was taking off, she performed in 11 operas in a single year, compared to a more standard three or four. That was followed the next year with a 12-month stint with a German Opera House.

During the same time period, she produced an album, completed a masters in CIT and built a house in Myrtleville with her husband, composer Tom Hodge.

Suffice to say it was a gruelling schedule, which caused both her love of singing, and her happiness, to dwindle.

“I realised I had no identity beyond that of performing opera, and I began to realise how out of alignment I was with my true purpose — my voice. 

"So it wasn’t burn-out where I had to lie on the couch and sleep for a month, but the absolute opposite where I was completely purpose-driven to find a way to live a balanced, relaxed and normal life,” said Kim.

Part of her quest for balance and normality was her and Tom’s desire to start a family, which she felt the stress around her career was inhibiting.

“I spent five years trying to get pregnant, and when you’re not in your twenties that’s not an ideal position to be in. 

"So that was also an enormous part of my search for balance, and to find peace. I would call myself fearless, but after so many years performing really demanding singing, all the time, my body needed to rest,” she said.

Through working on herself, calming the cortisol in her body, meditation, acupuncture, yoga and more, Kim is mum to two girls, Florence (4) and Vivienne (3), and says her passion is now to help others “heal with the vibration of their unique voice”.

She still performs, but says she’s far more discerning about what she commits to, and has launched a business called Good Vibrations, which uses mantras and chants to help others calm the stresses of daily life.

“I created Good Vibrations during the second lockdown to help some of my friends to feel better using their voices,” she says.

“I had completed my 200-hour chanting qualification the year before and had been itching to try out all I had learned.

“This unique and highly successful concept is the product of all my passions mixed together, voice, yogic philosophy, mental wellbeing and EFT (tapping). I opened it up to anybody who wanted to come and it took off from there.

“It’s important to stress that you don’t have to be a singer to do this class. It’s purely about vibration of sound and not at all about singing, although this method does benefit professional singers greatly too!”

Voice vibration, Kim explains, dates back thousands of years to ancient India and even Ireland.

Kim Sheehan has set up Good Vibrations.
Kim Sheehan has set up Good Vibrations.

“I mainly approach the class from a professional understanding of voice, breath and linguistics. I also have great personal understanding and experience of anxiety and with that in mind, I lead the class members gently in the exploration of how the vibrations of their vocal chords can calm and purify their nervous system, which in turn sends calming signals to their brain, telling their body all is OK and well. I’m also an EFT practitioner and I add that to the class too.

“All in all, the class has a real atmosphere of care, compassion, safety and trust.”

Now, more than ever, she feels people could benefit from this.

“In this day and age, people are time poor, have work demands and busy careers, and due to Covid their workloads have often doubled without increase of pay, or for others their careers vanished overnight.

“People now need to schedule self-care into their diaries or to simply tick that me-time box. Not only that, but they want classes that go straight to the jugular of the issues that need solving.

“This unique and special offering, if done consistently, can have enormous benefits such as improved sleep, increased joy and creativity, decreased stress and anxiety.

“If you’re willing to give it a go, you’ll find it a very effective use of your time.”

Kim is creating a series of new live online voice vibration classes especially for the Cork Midsummer Festival in June and also invites people to try out a free Good Vibrations class on Tuesday nights at 8pm at kimsheehan.com.

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