12. Communication III: The Voice

1. Lips, Tongue & Jaw. How many words do you say in the course of a normal day? Perhaps several thousand. What happens if your lips, tongue, and jaw aren't perfectly coordinated when you talk? You compensate with awkward movements of the skull and neck, also the shoulders, arms, and hands, perhaps the pelvis too! Over thousands of words, this becomes handicapping. We'll establish a play of opposing forces within the face using two simple but effective procedures; and we'll employ everyday speech, tongue twisters, and simple songs to train ourselves to take care of the voice by taking care of ourselves.

2. Vowels. The vowel is the primary sound of human existence. If you're alive, you're already an informal expert on making vowel sounds. In this workshop we'll increase our innate expertise through a mixture of practical exercises and analytical tools.

3. Consonants. Consonants may be defined as "stimulations to the vowels." You have remarkably varied mechanisms for making consonants, and to become alert to these mechanisms is to become alert to your thoughts and feelings about voice, language, and the pleasures of self-expression.

4. Harmonics. We’ll learn a series of simple vocal exercises that require no singing experience. For the most part the exercises involve passing from vowel to vowel (for instance, from “oo” to “ee”) while sustaining a sound, although some of the exercises also make use of certain consonants. The exercises create shimmering vocal harmonics that have an energizing and calming effect upon the whole person.