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Here, My Voice, A USC Arts in Action project.

I am so honored to take part in this project. To learn more about this amazing project visit the website,

An Arts-based Intervention

The power of voice of the hard of hearing community.

Voice and the ability to create sounds that emanate from the body are fundamental to human experience. Yet, many people in the hard-of-hearing community have no relationship to the creative power of their voice, and as a result do not experience an entire aspect of human embodiment. In a collaboration between students from USC’s Thornton School of Music and the Hearing Loss Association of America LA (HLAA), “Here, My Voice” supports members of the hard-of-hearing community in developing confidence in the creative and expressive possibilities of their voice by providing personalized voice lessons.

Sandy Blake, Here My Voice Participant/Former Performer and Michele Patzakis, Here, My Voice Teacher | Doctor of Musical Arts, Alumna of USC Thornton School of Music.

From Sandy

"Michele has been such a cheerleader and confidante during these lessons. She has extraordinary perception and endless energy. With her guidance I am able to perform with ease and presence. As a performer who sang professionally and for my own joy, getting to work on my voice in a most healthy way is incredibly satisfying. My enjoyment of music is growing and seems to know no limits."

From Michele

"I was invited to collaborate as a vocal instructor in a pilot research program involving Cochlear implant recipients as voice students. Due to my recent tenure as a DMA Teaching Assistant at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, I was matched with a hard-of-hearing student from the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). Previous to earning my doctorate, I received a BM and MM in vocal performance and spent decades as an operatic soprano, voice teacher and arts administrator. Exploring therapeutic interventions through musical instruction greatly interested me. The primary investigators paired me with Sandy Blake.

My goals were specifically based around feeling free and confident when singing and with the amazing vocalizing exercises and lesson protocol, including physical movement, I more than reached my goals. With the sheer joy of singing notes above High C, I began to trust my voice and musical ear.

During one lesson I became overwhelmed by an emotion in a song which made us both teary. This song is one I have performed often and yet never experienced such a moving moment until during the lesson. It’s an example of what kind of bond and trust had been created between us. It became a joyful experience for us to share."

Read more about our journey, here.

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