Claire Michelle Burgess

Claire Michelle thought she had mastered her voice. She had toured nationally and internationally in choirs, fronted bands, and studied vocal performance at Central Michigan University.

But after transitioning, she realized she had a problem: her voice didn’t represent her, and there was no reliable formula for matching who she was to how she sounded.

On her quest to find her voice, she engaged countless vocal coaches, with limited success. So, after experimenting, exploring and researching on her own, Claire finally developed a formula that worked. Others soon took notice of her natural, comfortable speaking voice - and began asking her to help them find theirs.

It didn’t take long for Claire to codify her process and create Seattle Voice Lab. Since then, SVL has grown into a successful voice coaching school - having helped hundreds of trans and non-binary people find their voice, and own it.

Financial Disclosure: Ms. Burgess has no financial relationships to disclose. 

Non-Financial Disclosure: Ms. Burgess has no non-financial relationships to disclose.

​​Paper Presentation - Attacking the Passaggio: a Creative Starting Point for Working with Trans Singers

​Every singer presents a unique set of challenges to an instructor, and not less the trans singer. However, when working with a trans singer, instructors shouldn’t discuss gender much at all. It is necessary to avoid the discussion of gender all together and instead focus on building the student up through passaggio control. This presentation will highlight the three types of passaggio and how each requires a different approach, as well as how the passaggio control allows us to build healthy tonality and range in the trans singing voice. Instructors will learn that going against the grain of typical singing pedagogy will in fact allow the trans singer to properly achieve their desired, gendered tone. When learning to expertly control the mixed voice, the vocalist can adapt to myriad changes to continually refine their tone without tension or pain until trust in their own voice has been achieved. Personal experience as a trans singer will also be presented as support for case illustrations.