Author Archives: Barbara McAfee

About Barbara McAfee

Barbara is a voice coach, singer/songwriter, keynote speaker, and author who merges lessons from 12 years in organization development with the transformational power of sound. Her book, Full Voice: The Art & Practice of Vocal Presence (Berrett-Koehler Publishers) was a #1 Amazon bestseller in Business Communication. The book is based on her 25 years as a voice coach, supporting people from many professions in learning how to access the full power and expression of the voice in service to their work and relationships. Barbara’s musical keynotes blend practical content, sophisticated humor, and thought-provoking questions on topics including voice, leadership, and engagement. She was “the band” for Margaret Wheatley’s Women’s Leadership Revival Tour, which visited 15 North American cities. She also appears with authors Parker Palmer and Peter Block. Barbara has produced seven CD's of mostly original music and is founder of the Morning Star Singers, a volunteer hospice choir in the Twin Cities. She lives across the street from the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

On Naming Kip

A handful of us are standing around our cars, preparing to leave after singing for a woman in hospice. We are all members of the Morning Star Singers, a volunteer comfort choir I founded in 2007 to bring singing and … Continue reading

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Laughing and Crying

Like many other young women of my generation, I knew every word of Joni Mitchell’s iconic record, Court and Sparkby heart. I had some recent experiences that illuminated one particular line of her song “People’s Parties.” Photo Beauty gets attention … Continue reading

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Improvising Kindness

I am in a small city in the Upper Midwest to deliver several keynotes for health care professionals. The morning after my arrival, I am taking an early morning walk along the banks of the Missouri River. The geese are … Continue reading

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Humbly Courting a Song

I have been slowing savoring Robin Wall Kimmerer’s beautiful book, Braiding Sweetgrass. Among its many charms, the book opens the world of plants through both traditional indigenous wisdom and scientific inquiry. In many of the exquisitely crafted essays, Kimmerer refers … Continue reading

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She Will Take It All With Her

  When an old person dies, a library burns.     African proverb Mom is turning 94 in a few days. She is still kind and funny and self-aware. Her memory, though, is developing gaps. As I watch her struggling … Continue reading

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Thank You, Jim

As a younger person I used to think that all of my problems could be solved. There was a light at the end of every tunnel if I just talked it through or gained the correct insights or wept enough … Continue reading

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Catching a Day, Catching a Moment

It is September 2, 2009 in the late afternoon on a tiny island in the northern waters of Minnesota. I am sitting at the piano with tears in my eyes, catching the last few lines of a song. It’s that … Continue reading

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