I have decided to go with The Potent Voice as a way to gather together the various aspects of the whole-self voice-work that I have been honing and refining over the last 30 years – its essence is fully grounded in The Feldenkrais Method and thus the name feels right…
My Embodied Voice training combines Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® with the state-of-the-art vocal training techniques that have emerged in recent years, thanks to the more refined observational equipment available to modern vocal science.
My intention is to enable anyone who wishes it to develop a flexible, strong, healthy and fully self-expressive voice. Whether your interest is singing, speaking well as an actor or presenter, or freeing your natural voice as part of a self-healing or spiritual development process – and of course any combination of these elements – then there is something in Embodied Voice for you.
I organise the group classes and workshops in such a way that there is no pressure on anyone to perform – the idea is to become more conscious of exactly how your voice works, and to develop your vocal confidence and awareness so that with practice your voice can become fully integrated both physically and emotionally – a totally spontaneous fully-embodied voice. For this reason it is very important that you feel relaxed and able to explore making (often rather silly!) sounds without any embarrassment or self-consciousness.
Functional Integration For The Voice
Hands-on muscle-releasing training sessions, focussing on integrating the neck, throat, face, rib cage, and the respiratory (and other) organs.
Feldenkrais comes in two formats, group training, known as Awareness Through Movement®, and individual hands-on training, known as Functional Integration®. Using sensitive touch as a teaching process can be a valuable addition to more familiar methods of vocal training, and may be particularly helpful if you feel your issues with performance are connected to deep muscle tissue holding patterns.
During this period of lockdown, this aspect of my work is obviously on hold, hopefully we will be able to resume some version of normality at some point, in the meantime do not hesitate to contact me directly if you would like to know more, or discuss online alternatives.
Sounding Out & Tuning In
Online Voice & Singing Workshops, via Zoom
Bookings by email, or using this contact form.
Toning, Overtoning, Vagal Toning
Sunday July 5th, 2 – 4.30pm
£30* (suggested fee or donation)
In our previous workshop we began to explore the possibilities of the sustainable consonants – mainly the fricatives and the nasal consonants.
In this workshop we will begin to explore the carrying power of the vowels. These are the vocal qualities that enable us to sing with musicality and intensity; they are what makes a voice distinctive, colourful, and resonant.
The vocal overtones are the subtle frequencies that shape and colour the voice, and calibrate our listening skills. They are the sounds that enable us to distinguish the different vowels of our own language so precisely that we can easily detect the presence of an accent in a non-native speaker, even if we don’t know what the origin of accent is. Overtones have many names: instrumentalists may refer to them as ‘harmonics’, in audio technology they are known as partials . They are very common in forms of chanting, and are fundamental to the popularity of the sound [Om].
Many self-development systems have a meditative process at their core – sitting in contemplation, and communing with an inner sense of ‘oneness’ with ‘the universe’ is pretty universal. Prayer, and affirmations are both standard tools for promoting emotional health the world over.
Dr Stephen Porges PolyVagal Theory provides an explanation for the efficacy of these practises at a neurological and evolutionary level. Our nervous system is focussed on our safety, and our sense of safety is fundamental to our sense of wellness. The vagus nerve manages both our older reptilian stress management circuits and our newer mammalian circuits, and we can use the management of our to soothe ourselves, increase our sense of safety, and shift our nervous system into our rest-and-recuperation mode – the neurological state that switches on our self-healing mechanisms, and helps to promote our physical and mental resilience.
This is I am sure why so many of the systems designed to integrate mind, body, and soul involved a chanting element – mantras and formal prayers such as saying rosaries all encourage the extension of the exhalation which enables the switch from stimulating-sympathetic to palliative-parasympathetic functioning.
Every time we inhale we briefly stimulate our sympathetic state-of-readiness (known as our fight-or-flight mode), and then, as we exhale again we shift back into our rest-and-recuperate mode – so all we need to do to soothe our nervous system is to exhale for a little longer than we inhale – it is that simple. This is I am sure the reason why there is so much evidence that singing is proven to be good for the health. When you examine the evidence you quickly discover that it is all based on research into communal singing, but once you understand Porges theories then you can easily see how to use these practices in a way that is effective even when you are singing while home alone.
Is is exciting to understand that this is the mechanism that allows us to synchronise our heartbeats via our breathing, whenever we are singing, or chanting, or praying together, and that it also works when we are playing games or performing dances that allow for movements to synchronise our rhythms. Many cultures that rely on physical labour use rhythmic sounds and work songs to both coordinate their movements and generate a heightened sense of community spirit and ‘togetherness’. This research enables us to understand how this sort of activity bonds us as communities and generates communal health benefits.
This workshop will be beneficial for:
Singers, presenters, performers, and anyone interested in the voice.
Anyone dealing with chronic stress issues
Anyone interested in meditation and chanting
Anyone interested in the potential for improving their vocal tuning in particular, or their hearing in general
THE NEXT SUNDAY WORKSHOP IS ON AUGUST 2nd, Details to follow shortly!
Power Up Your Inner Voice:
Self-Hypnosis for Self-Healing
Wednesday July 8th, 4 – 6 pm
£20* (suggested fee or donation)
This short workshop will be an introduction to my self-healing work, and will be recorded so you can continue to practise easily at home. One seldom-discussed aspect of the potency of the voice is the influential presence of an internal voice, constantly commentating on our lives. The voice inside our own heads can be an ally or an enemy; for a while now I have been discovering how to train my inner voice to be a better ally in my on-going project of self-healing. Here is an introduction to the process, from an article on my website: “Self-Hypnosis – also known as Autogenic Training – has been around for a long time. I first came across it back in the Eighties, in a book called Superlearning. This was at right at the beginning of my interest in meditation, and practising the autogenic sequences from the book were the closest I came to achieving the deeper states of inner calm that are reportedly the most effective brain wave frequencies for healing chronic conditions.
Thus, when a bout of chronic fatigue left me with fibromyalgic pain that did not easily respond to the mindful movements that had helped me free myself of sciatica in the past, my investigations brought me full circle, and this time I made a connection I had somehow failed to make before. I remembered that Moshe Feldenkrais was also interested in self-hypnosis at a similar age, except that – being the over-achiever he was – he translated a significant book on the subject into Hebrew, and boldly added his own thoughts in a 26 page commentary. The book was The Practice Of Autosuggestion by the Method of Émile Coué (1929), and Moshe’s original contribution has recently been published as Thinking and Doing, A monograph by Moshe Feldenkrais. He retained his enthusiasm for these concepts throughout his life, attempting to republish his translation in 1977, and using the techniques he still valued to speed his recovery after his stroke.
This workshop will be ideal for anyone seeking to improve their own health and wellbeing and the health and wellbeing of others.