I am a voice and public speaking coach in Los Angeles who works with performers, professionals, and people interested in personal development.
Learn how I approach voice coaching.
Public Speaking Coaching
Learn how I teach public speaking.
Want private coaching? Learn more about private lessons.
Next Introductory Voice Workshop in Los Angeles
September 12th - 14th, 2014
For actors, singers, and performance teachers.
Learn more about or apply for the next voice workshop for performers.
My clients include actors, professionals (including executives, teachers, clergy, administrators, lawyers, and people from a wide range of other businesses), singers, and people looking for personal development. Most of my clients are in Los Angeles, but I work with clients all over the world.
I graduated from Columbia University with an MA in Buddhist Studies. For several years I worked as a conflict resolution and organizational development consultant. During that time, I was also doing some acting. Because my voice was holding me back in both areas, I took a class in Fitzmaurice Voicework®, and to my surprise I realized I was home. Its emphasis on being present and vibrant, and bringing that to communication, became the perfect bridge for my coaching practice which over time became more and more focused on voice and public speaking. See my bio for details.
Updated September 2014
Water matters. Once you feel dry, and you drink a glass of water, it takes about 4 hours for the water to hydrate your vocal folds. Don't wait until you're dry. Drink water, and drink it often.
See how I approach being a Los Angeles voice coach.
Public Speaking Tip
Are you seeing the whole room? Even professional speakers have an unconscious tendency to favor one side or part of a room. That leaves the rest of your audience in the cold.
Find out more about how I approach being a Los Angeles public speaking coach.
There is no breath in your belly. If you push out your belly as you inhale, you actually reduce the efficiency of your breathing. Discover how it's possible to release your belly out instead. Afraid of having a pooch? Then learn to release it out just enough.
Learn more about how I work as a Los Angeles breathing coach.
Five MYTHS about speaking in front of a group:
1. It's important to look at each person for 3 seconds (or any other specific number of seconds) while I speak.
This leads to robotic speeches and presentations. Instead of counting the seconds, learn to feel the audience and sense when it's helpful to shift your focus.
2. If I can just get rid of my anxiety, I'll be fine.
You might feel fine, but it's likely you'll also be boring. When you try to dull anxiety, it either makes it worse or it tends to dull all feelings. A presentation without feeling might as well just be a report on paper. The key is learning how to make use of the energy that you experience as anxiety. Here's an article which references good scientific research on dealing with performance anxiety. Here's a great Ted Talk that addresses the significance of how we view and deal with stress. The realities of what leads to effective public speaking are more nuanced than in the study or Ted Talk, but the principles are worth understanding.
3. It helps to imagine the group with their pants pulled down.
This does help if your goal is to talk to a bunch of half-naked people. Instead of doing this, focus on what matters. If you're not sure what's important, figure it out. It will make it much easier for the people you're talking with to follow you.
4. If I pause, or slow down, I'll lose the group's interest.
A well-timed pause, or just about any pause in which you're present, tends to draw an audience closer to you. It makes them wonder what you're thinking. And their curiosity is a good thing. Talking quickly often makes an audience feel like you don't really want to be there. Do you like being with someone who seems like she doesn't want to be with you?
5. If I prepare, I won't be spontaneous.
This is half true because there are better and worse ways to prepare. If you learn to prepare in ways that really work for you, it leaves you open to responding to what is happening in the moment. And that engages an audience.
Summary of Los Angeles Voice Teacher and Public Speaking Coach Saul Kotzubei's Business:
For public speaking, I work with clients preparing for speeches and presentations (both content and delivery), interviews, classroom scenarios, communication challenges at work, and many other areas. I do work on Skype, but because it's is a highly interactive process, I do most of my public speaking coaching in my Los Angeles studio. See a summary of my approach to public speaking coaching.
For voice coaching, I work with clients who want to strengthen or free up their voice, who want to be more present in their communication, and who want to open emotional channels for their work. At least initially, all private voice coaching is done in my studio in Los Angeles. See more on my perspective on voice coaching.
I also coach breathing. This can mean working with clients who feel they have limitations in their breathing, who want to learn to breathe more freely and efficiently in life or for specific tasks, or who want to use breathing as a touchstone for being more present. Read more about my practice as a breathing coach.
VOICE COACH LOS ANGELES: I am a private voice coach for Los Angeles-based performers, professionals, and others seeking to develop or find their voice. I work with clients whose voice tends to get hoarse or feel weak, or with people who lose their voice, or don't feel their voice is adequately conveying their experience. I also train people to become more resonant and gain a fuller, more vibrant voice. This can be literal and metaphorical. I help people whose voice is habitually tight, high, or soft.
I work with people who experience anxiety around their voice. I work with people who mumble. Mumbling in particular is often easier to work with than people expect. I also have experience working with stuttering and conditions such as muscle tension dysphonia. Some of this work is done with voice therapists or medical professionals. Some of my clients are receiving voice therapy while they work with me, or have undergone voice therapy and are looking to continue their development. As a private voice coach in Los Angeles, I work with many different kinds of clients with different needs.
PUBLIC SPEAKING COACH LOS ANGELES: I am a coach for public speaking in Los Angeles. Private public speaking coaching may seem like a contradiction. But it isn't. Instead, private coaching provides an opportunity to focus on what is important. How to prepare your delivery (and when needed, content), how to engage an audience, how to work with typical challenges, and more importantly how to approach your own challenges in ways that work for you.
So many people feel anxiety or fear when public speaking. Finding genuinely helpful ways to address the anxiety can be challenging, but it also worthwhile.
LEADERSHIP COACH: in the course of working with leaders in many fields, helping them communicate and helping them own their voices, I realized I was beginning to work in a specific area: leadership coaching. Effective communication is the basis of good leadership. This isn't only about preparing specific presentations, it's also about clarifying your role as a leader. How do you inspire a group to want to follow you? How do you allow yourself to recognize when your goals need changing because the landscape has changed? How do you stay engaged as a leader in a healthy way? These are the questions I address in my executive coaching.
If you need an executive speech coach in Los Angeles, or simply want to develop your leadership capacity, please contact me.
VOICE TEACHER CERTIFICATION: I am the lead trainer for the Fitzmaurice Voicework Teacher Certification Program. For more information on voice teacher training, visit the Fitzmaurice Voicework site.
BREATHING COACH LOS ANGELES: breathing is so fundamental, and it's often unconscious. It gives us the energy we need, moment by moment, to do what we are doing. It also reflects, moment by moment, our experience. For many of us, however, the physiological processes of breathing have become encumbered such that our breathing inhibits our actions and reflects our rigidity rather than our freedom. Is it possible to relearn how to breathe in a meaningful and useful way? Authorities on breathing have so many different opinions about what constitutes correct breathing. Rather than showing you what is "correct," I will help you undo any unhelpful learning you may have done over the years. That process of undoing, which at its root involves awareness, is itself a lesson in breathing. Then we will look at what is possible, paying special attention to what your body wants to do when it is feeling more free. As a Los Angeles breathing coach, or breath coach, I find special satisfaction in helping people discover what is possible. The work I do in this area is rooted in Fitzmaurice Voicework.
SINGERS: Saul is a vocal coach for singers and singing teachers. He doesn’t teach singing, but he does teach singers how to find greater freedom and expressivity with less effort. His emphasis is on linking freedom and control in breathing to being being vocally expressive.
FITZMAURICE VOICEWORK: specific adaptations of yoga, shiatsu, Reichian bodywork (from Wilhelm Reich) combined with classical theatre voice training techniques form the basis of this work. It was developed by Catherine Fitzmaurice over several decades of teaching, coaching, research, and personal exploration. Catherine adapted various disciplines -- such as hatha yoga and shiatsu -- to make them relevant to the voice. In many ways the specific genius of her work is the synthesis that she has developed -- that she then asks the voice teachers she has certified to discover anew for themselves. Her work was originally designed to train theater professionals, but has since found wide-ranging application. It is taught as a core class in many professional theater training programs along with acting technique, movement, etc.
Speech pathologists have increasingly become interested in Catherine Fitzmaurice's methods as an aid in treating people who chronically suffer from a lost or hoarse voice, as well as those who lose their voice often, have a weak voice, or have restricted breathing patterns which limit their expressivity, or other voice problems such as nodules or muscle tension dysphonia.
WORKSHOPS: Saul offers voice workshops of varying length and emphasis. Most of the voice workshops are intended for performers or teachers of performers (including voice teachers); however, some workshops are also open to everyone who wants voice training. Every one or two months, Saul offers a two-day introductory voice workshop in Los Angeles for performers and teachers of performers. From time to time he also teaches five-day workshops that explore the whole arc of Fitzmaurice Voicework. In addition, he teaches workshops of varying length that cover specific subjects.
The core of these workshops involves breathing techniques useful for speaking; finding a free and easily managed breathing system. If you feel like your acting technique is solid but you know you can be more available and don't know how, the introductory workshop is an ideal place to start.
VOICE CLASSES: Saul’s voice classes in Los Angeles are for performers and teachers of performers. They are ongoing and offered at a variety of times each week. See above for details. Saul’s voice classes are used by LA-based actors who employ a wide variety of acting techniques and have a wide variety of experience. For some actors, attending voice class means having a place to develop and practice effective, healthy vocal technique; for some it is becoming more vocally expressive or developing certain aspects of the voice; for some it is overcoming phobias and facing their fear of revealing themselves in front of others in specific contexts; for some it is opening up the body and finding a deeper connection to oneself; for some it is about repatterning a habit of getting hoarse after being very expressive; for some it having a place to play each week. Saul's Los Angeles voice classes are appropriate for theater actors as well as television and film actors.
Often actors in Los Angeles don't consider voice to be a relevant part of their training. In most professional actor training programs, however, voice class is considered an essential companion to acting technique. For examples of how voice training can specifically benefit actors in Los Angeles, see Saul's article, To Breathe or Not to Breathe.
TOUCH: while it isn't necessary, touch can play an important role in the work I do. Through touch, students can learn to become aware of previously unconscious areas and invite the breathing into those areas in subtle ways.
EMOTIONS: it is never the goal of this work to make someone emotional. Instead, the easy attention and awareness that is developed in this work can lead to people gradually opening their emotional experience, or learning to integrate emotional experience in safe ways. Saul uses aspects of Somatic Experiencing® in order to make the work more easily digestible.
EXPERTISE: if you need an excellent Los Angeles voice coach, view my testimonials to see what my clients have to say. Whether I am the best coach depends on your needs. If you are looking for the best public speaking coach in Los Angeles, I have a unique approach, based on being present with an audience, to help you reach your goals. Need a celebrity voice coach? Or a top public speaking coach? If you need a great private coach in Los Angeles, read about my clients' experiences. Live in Los Angeles and need a breathing teacher? Or a voice workshop or a voice class? I've worked with people from all walks of life to help them feel more integrated and effective. If you are in Los Angeles and need private voice coaching or private coaching in public speaking, I hope you will contact me.
EXCELLENCE: some students feel they need the best voice coach in Los Angeles in order to work well. But it's worth wondering what best voice teacher means. Is it someone who has good technique, who understands what good technique looks like? Is it someone who is or was a performer or public speaker; in other words, is it someone with personal experience? Is it important that your mentor works with celebrities or successful clients? Is it crucial, if you are an actor, that you find the top voice training for actors? Or if a public speaker, the best coach for public speakers in Los Angeles? All of those might be important. But it isn't enough. Just as important as your teacher knowing something is that you have a good relationship with the teacher. Why? Because the voice is so intimately linked to relating, to connection. Sometimes the top voice teacher is the one with whom you have the best connection. So, do you need the best coach in Hollywood? Do you need the best voice training in Los Angeles? Or would you do better to find the best voice coaching for you?
It may take time to find a good fit. No need to be discouraged. Think about it like food or even better like clothing. We have different tastes. Sometimes it's easy to find a good fit, sometimes it takes a while. It may take a little more work to find who the best voice coach in Los Angeles is for you, but it's worth it.
TRAINING: for many years, I worked with a great conflict resolution and business consultant. During that time, I went to Columbia University and got a Masters degree in Buddhist Studies. I also began to train in Fitzmaurice Voicework. As I got deeper into my work, I joined the first Fitzmaurice Voice Teacher Certification Program in 1998. My passion for performing took center stage for a couple of years when I trained in the conservatory at the Actors Center in NYC and with Philippe Gaulier in London. All of these experiences slowly made their way into my coaching practice. I now do voice training for many kinds of clients. I also do public speaking training. To see the kinds of people I work with, see below.
CLIENTELE: I work with actors, executives, academics, lawyers, clergy, singers, directors, coaches, teachers, tradesmen, artists, models, and anyone else looking for a voice coach or a public speaking coach or teacher of breathing or presence.
My students range from those who are just beginning voice lessons to those with enormous experience with vocal training. If you're looking for a voice coach in Los Angeles, Fitzmaurice Voicework is an exciting approach to consider.
Some people come to me because they do a lot of public speaking and experience vocal fatigue, or frequently lose their voice. Some of my students have had extensive training in public speaking techniques but find that they have a hard time connecting with their audience. If you're looking for a Los Angeles public speaking coach, I have extensive experience working with professionals in a wide range of fields.
Some theater actors come because they are about to open a big show. Some of my students have extremely successful careers based primarily on their voices but want a vocal coach in order to increase their range. Some people had a great voice coach a long time ago and simply want to renew their study.
Many models in Los Angeles come to work with me because they want to become actors, or because they have other jobs that require public speaking. If you're a model, there are specific challenges related to breathing and aesthetics that it is important to face directly. If you are a model transitioning to acting, it's important that your voice expresses who you are.
Some people with no prior training want coaching because they have been told that they are hard to hear. Some feel inhibited vocally but cannot put their finger on what is holding them back. Some have a phobia of public speaking that they want to address.
LOCATION: although I am based in Los Angeles, I travel widely to teach. I have clients from all over California, the United States, and the world. As a voice coach and Public Speaking Coach, I work with clients in these and other Southern California cities: Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Century City, Culver City, Studio City, Burbank, Venice, downtown L.A., Bel Air, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, and many other areas.
Because I am located in West Hollywood, just between Beverly Hills and Hollywood, my studio is conveniently located for many people. Many students come from Santa Monica, to the west, and from downtown, to the east.
Actor and director David Schwimmer says of his experience with me a voice teacher: “Saul’s approach is invaluable for any actor working on camera and essential for working in the theatre.”
Singer and actor David Rasche says of his vocal training with me, “When I worked with Saul, things moved very quickly. I have been able to do things vocally that I would never have imagined possible.”
Catherine Fitzmaurice, the founder of Fitzmaurice Voicework, says, “Saul is the lead trainer in my teacher-training program because he teaches with a rare combination of clarity and compassion.”
Public Workshop Schedule:
December 20th - 22nd, 2014
Introductory Fitzmaurice Voice Workshop (co-taught with Catherine Fitzmaurice)
(open to everyone)
Los Angeles, CA
September 12th - 14th, 2014
Introductory Voice Workshop
Los Angeles, CA
August 7th, 2014
Principles of Fitzmaurice Voicework
(Annual Conference of the Voice and Speech Teachers Association--VASTA)
July 11th - 18th, 2014
Public Conference on Fitzmaurice Voicework