Category Archives: voice training

A Tale of Two Blogs

I’ve tried to re-direct visitors to this blog over to my current blog, at www.being-in-voice.com/flloyds-blog, but this one still attracts a following and I don’t want to abandon you!

So I will now update this one with links to the posts from the other one, and hopefully that will enable you to switch over easily. Here is the latest post over there – Adventures in Voice. I hope you enjoy it!

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Warm Up Your Voice with an App

Being in Voice, the Warm up App, is now available for download, here in the App Store, in iPhone and iPad versions.

I am very excited about this, because it means everybody with an iPhone or iPad can now enjoy warming up their voices gently and safely, whether they want to use the voice for speaking or singing, professionally or for fun. The warm ups are suitable for beginners, and for experienced professional voice users (actors, singers, choristers, public speakers, teachers, lawyers, politicians, entrepreneurs, startups, 5 minute pitchers).

The App contains the Mini Vocal Warmup, my own short and snappy version of the Vocal Function Exercises. This warmup takes less than a minute, yet it contains all the elements for a full training program. Once you have learnt this warmup, you will be able to extend it into your own personalised, dynamic, Vocal Gym.

4%22 retina display welcome

PreparationThe General Vocal Warmup is the full set of Vocal Function exercises, plus a resonance and articulation workout.  There are audio files, with me talking you through the exercises, and documents with lots of information about how to prepare your body and your breath for vocal training, and about the voice and speech.  Not bad for $0.99! Enjoy.

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Noises off – Voices on

I’ve just had the most wonderful two days working with the Hills Players, a group of amateur actors from a community north of Brisbane who applied for, and were awarded a grant from the Regional Arts Fund to engage my services.  They wanted to work on their voices to develop more power and clarity of expression, and to support their voices in a healthy and sustainable way.

I introduced them to my mini mini vocal warmup (based on Eric Armstrong’s morning warm up), then to the Vocal Function exercises (handouts on the Handouts page). We explored the vibrations in our bodies and the fabulous sounds that occur when a group of generous souls commit themselves to a ‘group hum’.  The first day concluded with a series of improvised soundscapes. We experienced a motorcycle race (with crash), a visit to the beach (with near drowning), a hike through the forest (with a storm), a spooky chase through streets and houses (with mayhem on the freeway) – what a dramatic time we had, and all with nothing but the human voice and the occasional tapping fingers.

Today we revised the warm-ups, and I took them through the 15 minute warm-up that I had put together for Ira Seidenstein’s Quantum Mime Intensive (also now up on the Handouts page).  For this one, I gave them two alternatives for working on their resonance: The Hungry Giant and friends, and Cello/Viola/Violin. The former is based on Linklater’s approach, the latter is from the work of Roy Hart.

After lunch, I decided to challenge the group to investigate for themselves what happens when you try to speak as simply as possible, stating the fact, with no agenda, that you are where you say you are. It’s pretty straightforward, you just position yourself somewhere in the room, and say “I am here”. Sounds easy, eh?  Try it!  See if you can catch yourself 1) pretending 2) defending 3) protesting 4) insisting – oh, the possibilities are endless. Then try to say it without any of those added sub- or super-texts, or objectives. Your only objective is to speak the truth of the moment, that you – yes, YOU! really you  – are – that means right now, as you are speaking – here – not there, not sort of here, but actually and only specifically here.  I love this exercise.

Then we leapt into the land of the Laughing/Sobbing game, which I learnt from Marya Lowry at the 2004 VASTA conference in New York. I LOVE this game.  We laugh, and we discover that for some it comes easily, and for some it seems incredibly difficult. Why? Because it is deeply embarrassing to find youself doing fake laughing. It’s embarrassingto listen to, so you don’t want to be the one doing it. Learning how to let go of the fear, and discovering that you are actually in control of your own attitude, so that you can choose to be amused and to REALLY laugh is quite an experience.  Then, to discover that all you have to do is change your own attitude from being happy to being sad, and suddenly you are sobbing, and it is not FAKE, and what’s more, you can switch it off whenever you choose – now that is control. But it is such a light, hands-off control, there is nothing forced or tense about it. Joy.

One of the participants asked me to record the Mini Mini vocal warm-up, so I did, with my Blackberry. Here it is. Apologies for the poor quality of the recording, but I think it’s pretty clear.

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Do Mime Artists have voices?

Boy – do they ever!

I’ve just had a wonderful time creating a voice warmup program especially for a mime class – Ira Seidenstein’s Quantum Mime Intensive class – and of course Mime does not have to be silent.

The course was interrupted by the Brisbane flood, but Ira found a new venue and the work continues.

In the meantime, I have decided, reluctantly and sadly, to cancel this year’s Acting Class. I am heading overseas in March to visit my family, and also to perform in my show The Fall of June Bloom (more details at www.blog.thundersmouththeatre.com)

I’ve been pretty busy the past few days baking scones and cupcakes for the clean-up workers, and making jewellery to sell to raise funds for the Flood Relief Appeal. If you want to purchase some, in aid of a good cause, check out the website here.

I’ll be back soon with more information about that vocal warmup for mimes.

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Refreshed, regenerated and revived

Just back from a three week trip to Dunedin, NZ, where I got to teach the University of Otago Voice and Movement paper (class), and the Shakespeare Performance paper, run an Archetypes Workshop, and direct one of the three 40 minute productions for the SGCNZ NSSP week. That’s Shakespeare Globe Centre, New Zealand National Shakespeare Schools Production week. What. A. Blast!

Here is my team, The Winter’s Tale company, but where is Mote? (He was busy packing to go home when we took the photo). So, here are some snapshots of the Snapshots exercise the groups undertook as one of the other director’s (Damian Bertanees) workshops, presenting images from the story – including Mote. But where were the others? Never mind, they are all there one way or another!

feedback session sans Mote

There is no truth in the Oracle!

Exit, pursued by a bear

I haven’t had such a good time in a workshop situation for a very long time, and I DO enjoy workshops. This one, however, had that special quality that only comes along once in a blue moon, where the passion and commitment is at such a high level that the work seems to transcend the individual talents, or energies of those involved.  I hope to get a copy of the dvd of the final performances at some stage.

Now I’m back in Brisbane, working with my lovely private students, some heading for NIDA and WAAPA auditions, some working their way back into commercial voice-over work, all exploring new ways of expressing themselves that take them out of their comfort zone into a wider, broader, deeper understanding of who they are, and why they have a passion to share their understanding of the world with others. What a journey!

I also had the honour of providing a voice-over for Dr Glam’s latest epic collaboration with The Magnolia Corporation, “Interstellar Overdrive”. Check it out here.

recording voice-over for Sparkles

I’m now about to begin rehearsals for my play “The Fall of June Bloom (or What You Will)”, to be presented by Thunder’s Mouth Theatre in November. More details here!

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Vocal Function Handout

My apologies to all those who tried to download the Vocal Function Exercises handout – I completely forgot that I was revising it, and hadn’t actually uploaded it. But it’s there now, fresh as a daisy, you are welcome and I hope you do them EVERY DAY!

Oh alright, every second day then…

Happy sounding!

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Onwards and Upwards

umair shuaib.
Image via Wikipedia

It’s that time of the year again, the time of reflection and readjustment as we dive into the festivities, and prepare to emerge after the new year with enthusiasm for whatever wonders it may bring.

The Sonneteers
Image by flloyd2010 via Flickr

This year has been a cracker, as most of my family, friends and colleagues have noted. It shot by most of us in a haze of sparkling sulphur, whirling us giddily into a spin of delight, confusion and exhaustion. Was I really there? Did I do that? Were you there when it happened?   I feel I need someone else to validate this past year for me, it was so rich and yet so fleeting.

Being in Voice, The Acting Class had an extraordinary year, with some students continuing on from last year, new students joining the pool, and visits from past students adding to the richness of the mixture.  We finally got to perform, as a student ensemble, when the BitsFestival gave us the opportunity to present our ten minute show The Sonneteers.

I am now planning for next year’s Class, with e-flyers scheduled to go out over the weekend (after I recover from the Christmas Prawns). The Class will begin on Sunday 7th February, and we will be getting very up close and personal with our voices from the word ‘go’. As usual, I am struggling to find ways of explaining what we do in terms that make sense to anyone who hasn’t worked with us before. Why does it seem to hard to communicate how working on the voice is actually working on your whole fabulous self? Why is it so difficult to explain that actor training involves learning a host of techniques and skills, and they all involve the voice? As you can see, I’m still working on my thesis…

So I’ll just say that working on your voice means developing your creative potential, and keeping yourself physically and vocally fit at the same time.  It means honing your craft as an actor, as you acquire new skills and techniques and gain experience in performing with other creative individuals.

I’ve received some wonderful testimonials from the students, and I’m looking forward to working with Mara, Paula and Shikhara again in 2010. All our very best wishes go to those who have moved on, to Jean Marc out there on the Rig, and to Tegan in Melbourne, to Robert who will be working on his amazing new project (congratulations on getting accepted by the Metro Independents Program!).  David will be coming back, but this time officially as my assistant teacher.

Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful festive season, I hope you find yourself on the other side of Hogmanay rested and relaxed, ready to face another year of fireworks and crackers, all of them exploding creatively with love and peace.

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