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Episode summary:

This is a double-whammy of an episode, with words of wisdom about the power of our unique voices AND a performance of one of Susan’s favorite songs by The Brothers Koren: Abraham. An extra special treat you won’t want to miss!

Over the course of their musical careers as The Kin and The Brothers Koren, Thorald and Isaac Koren have performed live on Conan, earning a Gold Record and performing to over a million people while touring with Coldplay, Pink, Rod Stewart and Bon Jovi. Now, their mission has shifted to one that seeks to include many voices, as they listen and study the transformative effect of music on human wellbeing.

Things you'll learn from this episode:


Ensuring our children feel empowered to use their voice

The power of song to unite, soothe, and enliven our joy

Music and song as expressions of influence

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1: (00:11)
Hello there and hello brothers. So excited about our conversation.

Speaker 2: (00:16)
Yeah, us too Susan. Thank you for having us grateful.

Speaker 1: (00:19)
So welcome back to the Parenting Without Power Struggles podcast. I'm your host, Susan Stiffelman, the author of Parenting Without Power Struggles and Parenting With Presence. I'm a family therapist, parent educator, teacher, and a mom. And it's just my joy to do these episodes with you and with friends like Isaac Koren, to share some of the things that are making such a big difference or can make such a big difference in your day to day parenting life, but also help you grow and transform through the process of raising your kids. So we cover everything here with guests like Kristen Neff, Trudy Goodman, Janet Landsbury, Maggie Dent, Rachel Macy Stafford, Debbie Reber. So many wonderful people before we get started, please make sure that you're taking advantage of everything that we have on hand to offer at There's a whole host of 90 minute master classes on everything from the gifts of ADHD, with Dr. Ned Hallowell to the Resilient Brain, with Dr. Dan Siegel and then topics like meal times, chores and sibling, and a super fun, family friendly singing and songwriting class with my guest today, Isaac and Thorald Koren, the Brothers Koren, on celebrating every voice that's for you. And if you want for your kids to join you. So we're gonna talk about that right now. Here they are.

Speaker 3: (01:44)
Hello everyone. Thank you. I'm Isaac. This is my brother Thorald and we're yeah, we've good friends with Susan and we, we have young children of our own and they're growing. My, my boy is eight years old almost. And

Speaker 2: (02:00)
I have a seven year old and an eight month old now. And you know, we, we obviously got into a great conversation recently about the power of voice and, and where, you know, really our connection and our relationship to our voice starts from a young age and, and our health of our connection to that is, is something that is a beautiful thing vital for all of us to, to have in our lives.

Speaker 1: (02:22)
You know, I've never really offered other than the sing along that you did with me. So kindly during the pandemic, we've never done a class like this, particularly something like a space and an activity that parents could do with their kids to learn and to grow. But I think it's so important that we do new things. It's one of the elements that create more bonding. You have little adventures with those you love, and then you have these special memories, you know, some unique way of kind of changing how you see the world or what you can do, developing new mastery. These are such stressful times. Hmm. One of the reasons I wanted to do this is that making music is one, is one of the most ancient ways, right. That we can relieve our stress, come together, bond to connect. And I know you have this beautiful offering called the choir and, and that, you're just all about the voice. So can you say a little bit more about that?

Speaker 2: (03:11)
Yeah. Well, our work together, of course, we started in the music world as brothers creating a band called the kin that we toured around the world and, and lived out so much of our dream and on a, on a gut feeling, we, we had this idea to help nurture and foster other people's voices. And we thought it would be in the music industry, but it quickly became voices from all around the world. You know, a lot of adults that maybe left music to the wayside or, or felt inhibited in their voice. Yeah. And so it fast became about voices from everywhere, including kids. Even though our focus has been adults we, we have seen, especially over the last two years, how thirsty people are to return home into their bodies and begin to connect to how they feel through expression creativity, how wellness comes to the surface. So we've started this thing called the choir, which is a free monthly experience. And we have hundreds of singers from all around the world singers. We don't really mean singers. We make people just claiming being a singer for the first time. Mm. So it's been so wonderful to see what happens when we connect through the power of this, this incredible gift who have each been given.

Speaker 3: (04:15)
Yeah. And what we've learnt is that the voice can be really daunting and scary, terrifying to share in public in front of others, whether it's speaking in public or singing, you know, some people are very afraid. You rather go parachuting without a parachute fear, one in four, it turns out. And so, you know, how can we create safe spaces in the family unit for, you know, perhaps to prevent the trauma that can lead to that fear. And, and we're curious too, obviously we are students of this. And so when we got together with, with Susan, we had this amazing question, a series of questions, and, you know, we're, we're slowly putting some of our own answers to it, and we're really cur to, to speak, to have a conversation with everyone. But the idea is how can we, you know, like to said, after inviting ourselves home into our authentic voice, you know, that is unique, like our fingerprint you know, when you call your mom or your best friend or any family member, you know, really well, all they have to say is, Hey, it's me. How are you? And you know, their voice, cuz it's distinct, it's immeasurably distinct.

Speaker 2: (05:28)

Speaker 3: (05:29)
So, you know, can we create harmony in the family unit you know, consciously, even, even knowing that there's always resistance from each person, but can each person have their own distinct place as a voice exactly. The family unit. And that's the

Speaker 2: (05:44)
Question, each of us are these, I am, you know, these beings that come home into these instruments and Susan so often, well in our work, the adults we work with were, were inhibited at the child age almost always. And so how do we come back and say, this is valuable. This is worth expressing. This is worth making sound with and receptively listening to each other with, and how do we set like a really healthy space around voice culture in the family.

Speaker 3: (06:11)
And what we see is the voices both vulnerable and powerful. It's, it's been given to us a, is our greatest kind of weapon of influence, so to speak. But it's easily, it's very easily shut down yeah. With other words and, and shame. And and so it's easy to go sh when your kids are yelling. Yeah. And so how do we set boundaries? And, and, and that's why we were coming to an expert, like,

Speaker 1: (06:40)
You know, one of the things that you glossed over, but I just wanna share with people that you guys performed with Coldplay and pink and rod Stewart and Bon Jovi, I mean, and then you had this sort of epiphany to shift your mission, to include many voices and to study this transformative effect of music on human wellbeing. And I've been privileged to have a friend stay with me who attended one of your workshops for a few days where they went through this beautiful process with a small group, and then they did a performance at the end. And I remember my friend literally shaking like a leave. Mm. And telling me ahead of time, you know, nervous, cuz she had so shut down her voice as a child. And it is so powerful. And I think one of the things that, that the three of us talked about was could we engage parents now to prevent their kids from having that? You wanna say more about that?

Speaker 2: (07:34)
Yeah. Well, one of the ways we can do that is to create a space in the family where the parents venture to come home into their body instruments. You know, we call it the whole body instrument and to begin to let themselves connect to their voice and make sounds and find that worth. And we model that. Yeah. And we model that expression for our children. And so, you know, our children are born in our belief. We're born whole and complete. We're born with this incredible instrument that we're naturally in when we're young, you know, pre any inhibition or trauma. And we have at our disposal, everything will ever feel and have ever felt access to. And it's only through a series of thing times we got shut down or embarrassed or scared that we start to close off certain parts of our expression. And so our, our kids can teach us right here. So that's where music and voice give access to this incredible embodied experience. And when we're home in our bodies, we, our health comes to the surface too.

Speaker 3: (08:38)
Yeah, exactly. We find that there's five main voices. We call them the small voices that come up when we generally adults go towards speaking, singing in public and, and they are, you know, I'm not enough, you know, I'm not good enough in singing, particularly around singing. You know, I'm not, I'm not worthy of having a voice. You know,

Speaker 2: (09:01)
I'm not safe, I'm

Speaker 3: (09:02)
Not safe.

Speaker 2: (09:03)
Yeah. It's, it's not perfect, you know, or yeah.

Speaker 3: (09:06)
Or I'm too much.

Speaker 2: (09:07)
Yeah. It's too much maybe being all of your voice, you know, got you in, in trouble or made others jealous, you know, there's these little markers that so innocently occur because so much of who we are shows up right here, Susan, and, and, and so we're each in that beautiful and where there's great. Vulnerability is great possibility.

Speaker 3: (09:26)

Speaker 1: (09:27)
Wow. And what a gift like, you know, my mother is a hundred years old and almost every night we speak with her every night and I, right when we're gonna finally end the call, I sing to her. Now it's time for me to say, you know, I sing her this lullaby and I gotta tell you my whole being, I can't even talk about it. The beauty of that moment.

Speaker 2: (09:59)

Speaker 1: (10:00)
Incredible song. So do you wanna sing a couple of lines and we'll give people sort of a flavor of, I didn't ask you to do that, so you don't need to, but you know, sing a little something that people can kind of get a feel for the fun, fun in store for them with your work or with our class together.

Speaker 3: (10:18)
Thank you. Well, there's this, you know, moment that as a world, we are brought together and we are, you know, my, my son went to bed, put it, you know, put a little wish wishing jar with, by his bed. And he put, he wished for world peace. And so you, you know, about 15 years ago, we wrote this song it's called Abraham. And maybe we'll sing, we'll sing that for, for for all of the world. And also particularly the Ukrainians and, and the Russians, you know, that, that are suffering, you know, in, in between this as well, all of the whole world attention to sing.

Speaker 3: (11:00)
This song's about two brothers that have been fighting for

Speaker 4: (11:05)
Years, visiting two son, the father, as the, to son, these brothers seal to bury the father. They fight you'll be when I am able, it'll be the

Speaker 5: (11:52)

Speaker 4: (11:53)
The table. When

Speaker 5: (11:56)
All is said and done,

Speaker 4: (11:58)
Could you, I was told by a stranger younger to the United, the present, he, he would stride the spring of you be meek. When I

Speaker 5: (12:46)
Be the souls upon the table,

Speaker 4: (12:50)

Speaker 5: (12:50)
All this said, So

Speaker 4: (12:59)
You'll be, you'll

Speaker 5: (13:03)
Be the on the

Speaker 4: (13:05)

Speaker 5: (13:11)

Speaker 1: (13:33)
Love, love it. Love you.

Speaker 2: (13:36)
Love you.

Speaker 1: (13:39)
Music music have charms to soothe the Savage beast. Isn't it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 2: (13:48)
We can't wait for this class.

Speaker 1: (13:50)
I know it's gonna be so much fun. Can you so the class y'all is at It'll be on the homepage, Celebrating Every Voice. That's March 18th at 4:00 PM. Pacific, there will be a replay if you can't make it, there'll still be lots of ways to engage with, with the process. But we're also gonna write a song for those who are able to show up. You can contribute a little idea, lyric, melody, write

Speaker 2: (14:16)
And no experience, no experience necessary. So if, if, even as a parent, you're a little nervous about this. You know, this is a very safe space. We create a very safe space for all of us to play and to find that kindergarten within us, to let that be the gravity of our creativity through song and music and voice. And just being a beautiful is just as much a part of it together. So all voice is welcome. Join us. Yeah.

Speaker 1: (14:41)
And you don't need to sing. Nobody's gonna put the spotlight on anybody. You're welcome to contribute or not just to play along. It'll be fun. And tell people again how they can find out more about all the things that you do cuz of lots of things that you're offering.

Speaker 2: (14:55)
Well, thank you. You well, brothers Koren, K O R E And we also have a little link for, to share in the, in these notes to, to, for a little free gift of ours, but also how to join the choir once a month and yeah. Be part of our global voice, community, voice, positive voice, positive community. Yeah.

Speaker 1: (15:16)
Voice positive community. Yay. Yay. Thank you. Thank you. And you guys listening, thanks for showing up. Thank you for being a parent who's growing and learning with us and advantage of these kinds of opportunities to hear from some of the wonderful people, walking this earth, making it such a safer and more lovely, beautiful rich place. So as we grow with our kids, we ourselves grow as well. Please remember if you'd like to subscribe to this podcast that way you'll know about any new episodes which we produce here and there as often as possible. And if you like the episode, you can certainly leave a rating or a review that really helps. Remember, stay in touch, get all your regular doses of parenting, free newsletter, lots of classes, and do check out our upcoming class, Celebrating Every Voice with the Brothers Koren. You can attend on your own, bring your kids along, and it's really gonna be a special and, and fun activity. And all right, then, thank you again, Isaac and Thorald.

Speaker 2: (16:24)
Thank you, Susan. See you all then hopefully,

Speaker 1: (16:27)
And then everyone watching listening. Remember, no matter how busy life. Yes. Look for those moments of sweetness and joy stay well, stay safe and I'll see you next time.