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Singing, a spiritual path


For professional information about Marisa as a theatre composer and performer, go here:

Marisa is a veteran teacher, guide, and mentor.  She is also an accomplished and award-winning composer of music-theatre, oratorios, choral works, and more.  (For her professional bio and CV, click the link above.)

For over two decades she has lived her life unwaveringly devoted to deeper and deeper creative, vocal, musical and pedagogical practice. 


Fiercely following her soul’s calling and pursuing her passions since she was a child, she began singing and playing piano at age five, acting at age six, and composing her own (unruly, dissonant, chaotic!)  piano pieces at age nine.

(A bow of gratitude to the support of her artistic parents, who encouraged her passions, rather than snuffing them out.)  

At the same time, certain experiences lodged themselves in her body, expressing via panic attacks, chronic pain, disordered eating, and a debilitating insomnia that began as a young teenager and lasted for years. 


Needless to say, her breathing and her singing and her existing were impacted.  


While on the one hand music, composing, writing songs, and acting and singing provided ways to express a rich inner world full of spiritual longing, at the same time (and despite being a naturally gifted singer),  singing began feeling more and more cumbersome and unsatisfying.  Sometimes it was even physically painful! 


 A professional singer early on, many of the best of the best teachers tried to  “help” her via all sorts of mechanistic directives about how to manipulate her body in order to sing better.  


But none of these instructions “worked,” except sometimes as a bandaid. In fact, such directives made everything feel more difficult.  And that made things worse because it compounded her already present story that there was something wrong with her.  


So many people carry this story about themselves.  


Marisa knew there must be another way. Singing did not need to be about lifting this and holding out that, even if you were seeking advanced level singing skills, did it?


 She didn’t find that other way in her advanced conservatory training at NYU or during her studies at Tanglewood.  And even in vocal spaces explicitly intended towards healing or “freeing,” she still experienced pain and felt unsatisfied by what seemed like a lack of rigor.  


But at age twenty (so young! what destiny!) she came upon a teacher and an approach to singing that was somatic, intuitive, and rigorous. That approach, called Libero Canto is her primary lineage. Her teacher for twenty years has been the head of that school - Deborah Carmichael.  

Over time, her music-making transformed, her body transformed, her singing transformed.


Her life completely transformed. 



Of course, that transformation took time.  (Devotional, committed time.)


In the years since that first meetiMarisa studied singing pedagogy in Vienna and New York City, continued to compose music and theatre and had two off-Broadway shows produced...


She founded a vocal performance ensemble called Constellation Chor || an immersion in voice, movement, and spirit and ran that ensemble for a decade.  (For a list of their great accomplishments and high-level performances, click here.) 

She studied Anthroposophy for years...

She practiced yoga and became a very young yoga teacher before deciding yoga felt way too trendy and commercial for her.

She went to India to study Hindustani singing. 

She learned about Jewish mysticism. 

She explored neo-Tantra, bdsm and sexual de-armoring work.  

She Circled and studied the nervous system and did meditation retreats and learned from incredible teachers like Joan Halifax. 

She did a year long Akashic Records Training with Leah Garza. 

She studied breathing through various modalities. 

She received her certificate in Integrative Somatic Trauma Therapy. 


And through it all she remains in close contact with her strongest lineage path and her greatest teacher, Deborah Carmichael as they do research projects together and continue to be students of the work itself.  

Out of that work, Marisa has founded Vocal De-Armoring™ in order to train teachers and to bring this unparalelled liberatory vocal work to professional singers in all genres and to people working with different healing modalities.  


Marisa lives in upstate New York and  is still practicing, composing, singing, performing, and joyfully connecting with those musical, vocal, sensual, playful, deep, powerful, brilliant, hard-working, caring-hearted, fiercely independent-minded, and curious souls who are called to singing through an approach that is rigorous and wildly liberating. 

sampling of INSPIRATION & Gratitude
(books, authors, pRACTICES & Mentors)

“The Mysticism of Sound and Music” by Hazrat Inayat Khan

“The Prophets” by Abraham Joshua Heschel
“Zen and the Art of Archery” by Eugen Herrigel

“Modern Techniques of Vocal Rehabilitation” by Dr. Morton Cooper

“To Have Or To Be” by Erich Fromm
“My Grandmother’s Hands” by Resmaa Menakem
“Deep Listeners” by Judith Butler

“Cosmos and Psyche” by Richard Tarnas

“Waiting for God” by Simone Weil
“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl

"Eastern Body/Western Mind" by Anodea Judith 

Thankful for many teachers including: 

Deborah Carmichael, Leah Garza (Akashic Records Mentor), Meredith Monk, Pauline Oliveros, Nadia Boulanger, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Rudolf Steiner, Erich Fromm, Elana Behar (myofascial, connecting with spirit), Hafiz, Krishnamurti, Kimberly Anne Johnson (Nervous System), Christine Schneider (Vocal Anatomy), Adam Guettel (Musical Theatre Composition), Richard Michelson (Father, Acclaimed Jewish Poet and Children’s Book Author), Jennifer Michelson (Mother, Massage Therapist and Ordained Minister)

And for practices such as: 

Judaism (Including Kabbalah)

Yoga (Trained to be an Anusara Yoga Teacher in 2003, taught Vinyasa Yoga in NYC for five years)

Neo-Tantra (Student and Practitioner since 2012)

Anthroposophy (Studied and Practiced from 2006 - 2011)

Circling (an authentic relating conversational practice, ongoing)

Hindustani Singing (Trained with a private teacher in India for four months in 2005) 

Classical Piano (Studied for fifteen years with Eugenie Malek)

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