Your Voice is Yourself
To work on your voice is to work on your deepest inner resources.
You don’t need to be a singer or actor to benefit from coordinating and freeing your vocal energies.
The voice has multiple dimensions. Your body plays a role in everything that you say, and sometimes you can liberate your voice simply by the way you stand and move. Every sound you make your voice is a form of vibration. To become attuned to vibrations—in yourself and in the environment—has the effect of amplifying the power of your voice. And what we tend to call “the voice” is inseparable from the things that you say . . . which are inseparable from what you think and feel.
Your body and your mind, your words and emotions, and the vibrations you put forth all collaborate to make you connected, present, attentive, and creative whenever you speak—and also in silence, which happens to be an important part of how you use your voice.
To help you unlock the power of your voice, I use many different practical tools that I’ve developed over the decades. Some of these tools are described in my books Indirect Procedures: A Musician’s Guide to the Alexander Technique and Integrated Practice: Coordination, Rhythm & Sound, both published by Oxford University Press. Other tools come from my explorations as a singer—as witnessed in my CD Songs & Soundscapes, in which I sing my own compositions and improvisations.
Some of my teaching techniques are extremely simple and involve nothing other than saying certain words in an attentive manner. Others are a bit more elaborate and involve your exploring the outer limits of your vocal range through a connection with your instinctual, animal-like capabilities. In fact, I can teach you how to howl like a wolf—it’s not difficult, and it’s a lot of fun!—and you can use what you learn through howling to anything you want to do with your voice, including the speech patterns of everyday life.
My students have included classically trained professional singers, amateurs, career men and women who wanted to express themselves better in public, people with health problems affecting their voice and their breathing, Joes and Janes who were scared stiff of singing “Happy Birthday,” and plenty of curious cats who just wanted to do something fun and life-giving.
In fact, you don't need to "have a problem with your voice" in order to work with your voice. And perhaps it isn't work at all, but play & pleasure.
Lessons can take place in Paris, where I live most of the time; in New York, where I sojourn several times a year; during my worldwide travels, when I might be passing through your hometown; or through Skype, which I find an interesting work medium because it invites both the teacher and the student to pay attention to things in a new and productive way.
Contact me if you're interested in finding out more.
An Alexander Teacher Reads The Free Voice, His Mouth Agape, an essay about the Alexander Technique and singing published in The Modern Singing Master: Essays in Honor of Cornelius L. Reid.
"The 5-Minute Voice" Video Series
In 2017, I'm posting a video clip every week, with simple and easy exercises that everyone can practice. Each exercise is self-contained; you don't have to practice them in any specific order.
1. Linger. Lengthen some of your sounds, and you'll gain control of space and time.
2. Good Vibes. Sense the vibrations you produce when you speak and sing.
3. La La Land. Exercise yourself in making the "el" consonant in many variations.
4. Don't Die. Not exactly a breathing exercise, more a sort of meditation on running out of breath.
5. No, no, no! Exercise yourself in making the "en" consonant in many variations.