We are passionate about enriching life through teaching adults of all ages. Our students continue to inspire us with the changes and choices they make.
We have been married for 40 years – the first 30 years we credit to lots of singing, dancing, determination and good luck. For the last 10 years approx, we are grateful for the added bonuses that teaching and practicing Nonviolent Communication (also known as Compassionate Compassion) has brought us. Together, we have been learning this model developed by Marshall Rosenberg for 13 years, teaching for 5 years and are Candidates for Certification with the Center for Nonviolent Communication.
Valerie is also a Certified Practitioner of Feldenkrais Method® This work supports body habit changes. Consider it if you want less pain, more comfort, less anxiety, more confidence, a more balanced nervous system. Feldenkrais learning is often recommended by and for sports people and musicians.
“Voice” is an important element of our everyday lives and work and helps us to connect with one another and the change we want to be in the world. Valerie has recently retired from 30+ years of teaching singing and performing. We have been part of many choral and vocal groups, and continue to sing with 2 groups which Valerie co-directs. “Singing for Our Lives” activist singers focus on encouraging folk to act for climate and social justice and “Reflections Threshold Singers” have as their mission ‘kindness made audible’ at the bedsides of those in palliative care.
I have been active in performance singing since University. A mechanical engineer by profession, I worked part time initially to allow me to be more hands on as a father of preschoolers, and again later in order to participate in a daytime choir and to teach singing. I left engineering for good two years ago, and I now devote my work energy to teaching communication and singing.
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) enhances my relationships with Valerie, my siblings, my friends, my children and my students. NVC also supported my communication with workmates, customers and suppliers in my last years of working as a project engineer (mechanical). I’m delighted to be finding NVC helpful in changing the way I talk to myself, allowing me to be kinder and more self-accepting.
We offer courses for the public and for community groups, coaching for individuals, and mediations for couples and families by appointment.
As well as teaching NVC, I learn from other trainers. I was able to learn directly from Marshall Rosenberg (originator of the model) in 2010, and amongst several other international trainers, I am inspired by Miki Kashtan and Sarah Peyton.
Besides the courses which Valerie and I offer to the public, I am available to do “in house” trainings for businesses or community groups, or “at home” courses specifically for your group of interested friends and family.
Here’s what workshop participants say about my teaching:
“His personal openness, humour, warmth, and unassuming way of instructing helped us all feel we are all learning this subtle teaching together.”
“Jim helped me feel ok with displaying vulnerability in my process of NVC. He also was very good at listening and holding space.”
“I witnessed and felt an experience of genuine empathy due to Jim’s openness and vulnerability. This is rare.”
I have enjoyed singing all my life, particularly in small groups and I’m involved in 3 vocal groups at present – Honeycomb (a mixed vocal sextet), Singing for Our Lives (activist singers) and Reflections Threshold Singers (for end of life).
I studied solo repertoire with teachers Betty Page from Christchurch, Helen Caskie from Palmerston North, Emily Mair from Wellington, Annelies Pekelharing from Christchurch and Rosemary Turnbull from Christchurch. My studies of Voicecraft with Alison Bagnall provided exciting knowledge and awareness of how the human voice works and inspired me to teach singing. I particularly enjoy teaching choral singers, beginner men, and students learning music from the rock genre.
I discovered international folk dancing 20 years ago and have been enthusiastically learning dances ever since. I love that folk dancing exercises both my body and my mind, and I value the friendship of the other group members. I also enjoy being exposed to musical styles I’d otherwise never have experienced. I greatly enjoy sharing folk dances with others. Contact me if you’d like me to teach or lead dancing for you.
Valerie Wycoff, communication coach, mediator, self-esteem mentor, and Certified Feldenkrais Method® Practitioner.
- My mission is to empower you to more fully love, accept, and enjoy your life, and to joyfully support you with the changes you wish to make to your habits (habits includes your ways of relating to self and/or others, your voice, or your movement)
My curiosity about people, relationships, emotion, breath, voice, and body has been life-long. I work with adolescents and with adults of all ages right into their senior years. My oldest student/client has been in her 90’s. I delight in teaching my elders and am inspired by their learning and continued openness to new ideas and change.
I am coach and trainer of Compassionate Communication. I have been learning this model developed by Marshall Rosenberg for 13 years, teaching for 5 years and am a Candidate for Certification with the Center for Nonviolent Communication. You can read more about the coaching and courses available on our COMMUNICATION page.
I am also a licensed mentor for “The Power of Self-Esteem” (More to Life Foundation) and will be happy to talk with you should you be interested in learning to regard yourself with respect, kindness, and care.
What they wrote about Valerie’s Communication teaching and coaching:
“Valerie was approachable and reassuring, well-resourced, non-judgemental and supportive. Valerie’s honesty and compassion helped me with connection, and I felt understood.”
“Valerie exuded confidence as well as vulnerability, and held us very well.” Communicate with Compassion course participant
“I like the way Valerie heard what I said in group discussions, and responded summing up what I had expressed. I never normally share in groups, but felt very comfortable and accepted to do so in this environment.”
“Training was exciting and fun. I enjoyed (Valerie’s) colourful energy, alertness and clarity. Her sharing of an experience in her life was insightful for me in my own life. I felt welcomed and invited to be part of the workshop. I enjoyed the variety of learning modes.”
After studying Feldenkrais privately for a number of years, I trained for 4 years as a practitioner of Feldenkrais Method®, trained in Awareness Through Movement® and Functional Integration®. I have been teaching this method for 12 years primarily with active adults. Challenges which my clients address with me include pain, posture, stiffness, anxiety, and challenges involving, breath, posture and voice.
You are welcome to contact me to discuss areas in which you’d like to see improvement, and to determine if we are a fit for working together with regards to any of the work I do. In New Zealand ring 021 295 3979
What they say about Valerie’s Body Teaching
“Many of the hurts disappeared after a session and my overall feeling was a lightness and a bounce that I hadn’t felt in years.”
Rick Silver, Feldenkrais Methos® Functional Integration® client
“A severely stressed body and bad back pain was interrupting my work. Valerie is so supportive and empathetic. During the one on one sessions and classes, I have noticed profound releases that I would never have expected.”
Lynn Wilson Remedial Massage Therapist, MNZ, Bowen therapist ISBT
“Thanks for body lessons learned. I’m enjoying my piano even more.”
Claire Emergency Physician
“Not only did my posture improve, but my breath flowed more openly and easily and I had the bonus of improving the quality of my sound. Thanks, Valerie for your relaxed and supportive approach.”
Christine Hunt Trumpet Player
Vocal awareness and habit change work
With over 30 years voice teaching experience, I enjoy working with singers, speakers, actors, preachers, teachers and others who want to get the best out of their voice. My students have replaced habits of strain and pain, with effective healthy habits. I have taught people to be louder or yell without damaging their voice. I have supported students to rehabilitate from vocal nodules without surgery. Speakers and voice users from a variety of professions have used my support to develop a voice that both engages their listeners and is authentic.
I have recently retired from taking regular singing students. You are welcome to approach me for short term “troubleshooting” by appointment or short series of lessons. I especially love vocal technique, body use, and confidence issues, where combining empathy, Feldenkrais and my experience of teaching voice for over 30 years are all usefuI.
Though singing came naturally, along the way I have had significant challenges that have been learning points for me. My own difficulties have inspired my learning paths, and given me empathy and understanding. These problems included:
- voice loss
- neck pain and immobility that caused me to wear a brace and give up driving
- significant anxiety and clinical depression
For many years I taught as part of the Voice and Movement staff at National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art. I have worked professionally as an actress and opera singer and also have public speaking experience.
What they say about Valerie’s Voice and Singing Teaching
“I really enjoy Valerie as a teacher – fun, and encouraging and informative.” Ali Watersong – “Vocal Vitality” course
“Valerie’s coaching is inspiring, (she) gives you ‘permission’ to do what you didn’t think was possible.” Carolyn Searle – Singing Musical Theatre course
“You’ve been an amazing teacher. You were OK with however I turned up.” Private adult student