Potent Voice brings together all the various elements of whole-self voice-work that I have been gathering and refining over the last 33 years – the essence of my is fully grounded in the Feldenkrais process, so the name feels right to me…
Voice & PolyVagal Theory
Potent Voice is also central to Inner Voice, my Feldenkrais meditation system.
The benefits to the health of our nervous system that can be generated by:
a) sustaining vocal sounds, and…
b) focussing our attention on the sounds we are sustaining as we are sustaining them…
…while obvious to those of us who love to sing, have now been recognised by many in the therapeutic community, thanks to the pioneering work of Dr Stephen Porges and his ground-breaking PolyVagal Theory of mammalian neurobiology.
If you are not aware of Dr Porges theories, this film is a useful introduction – he details the relevance of extending our exhalation, the importance of attentive listening, and the healing potential of music, from around 23 minutes in, but watching the whole film is recommended if you would like to understand the relevance of these behaviours in context.
Of course those of us who love to sing don’t need scientific evidence to encourage us, but that there is a sound scientific foundation to the health benefits of singing is very pleasing for any voice teacher, and the ramifications are huge, so I will be writing more about it in my blog, as and when time allows.
My Potent 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 to develop a flexible, strong, healthy, authentic self-expressive voice to be able to do so. 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 will be something here 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 experiment with making – often rather silly! – sounds, without any embarrassment or self-consciousness.
Functional Integration For Voice
Hands-on muscle-releasing training sessions, focussing on integrating your 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.
Potent Voice: Monthly On Sundays
Sunday January 15th
Online + Recordings & Notes
2 pm – 5 pm GMT [9 am – 12 pm EST]
£40 (suggested fee, or any donation welcome)
During my first proper gig for a local jazz festival, nerves overcame me and I forgot the melody of the first line of Duke Ellington’s lovely In A Sentimental Mood. Usually I would begin by singing the whole song as written, and play around with the melody only after the band had played a few choruses. Now I had no choice, I improvised the very first line, hoping to remember the right notes by the second verse, but my memory stayed blank, and I felt hot in the face and steadily more embarrassed as I bluffed my way to the end of the song, forced to masquerade as a much bolder improviser than I considered myself to till that moment. The audience applauded, but audiences are always kind. It was the supportive comments of a highly respected saxophonist that eased my embarrassment, and showed me that ‘winging it’ could be ok in a professional setting.
Spontaneous improvisation in the moment is precisely what you are learning to master effectively in a committed Awareness Through Movement practice. More details about this class will follow soon, in the meantime I have written more about Feldenkrais and improvisation here.
This workshop will be beneficial for:
Singers, presenters, anyone interested in the performing voice, and anyone with issues around self-expression
Anyone dealing with chronic stress issues, or breathing problems/conditions
Anyone interested in meditation and chanting
Anyone dealing with chronic tension in the tongue, jaw, neck, and throat
Weekly WellBeing Zoom class…
Potent Inner Voice
Sensory-Self-Awareness & Self-Hypnosis for Self-Healing
7 – 8.30 pm GMT / 2 – 3.30 pm EST
Online + Recording £15*
(*suggested fee, or any donation welcome)
These extended* evening classes focus on my Feldenkrais-based self-healing strategies, and the recordings are intended to make it very easy for you to develop these skills for yourself. I am exploring the evening format with the intention of supporting better sleep as well as pain relief and self-calming.
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.
You will need to book with me directly to get the Zoom link, and a recorded version of the lesson is included in the fee. Bookings are by email, or via my contact form.
*I am aware that 90 minutes is a long class, so do please know that you can choose to join us for the first hour only, particularly if that would make joining the class regularly more manageable for you.