Tag Archives: voice

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.

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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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Feedback from the workshop

A couple of the participants at the workshop have kindly written to me with some feedback on the workshop. What is really lovely about these two letters, is that they come from the least experienced, and the most experienced members of the group:

“All I really want to say is thank you! Your enthusiasm and passion for the area was infectious and inspiring. I had no idea what to expect for the workshop when I walked in. I was so impressed with the amount of info covered – the biology, theory, research, a huge range of vocal exercises, and then to integrate this so well with performance, authenticity, playfulness and mindfulness on stage. So much to cover yet it flowed really well and was interesting and useful throughout. Thank you so much for your time.”

“I would just like to say thank you for your two days work with The Hills Players. I can see that some people are really using the skills that you taught at the Workshops while we are rehearsing. We have been having warm up sessions before rehearsal each night and will try to keep this going. I have previously done various types of workshops, having been involved in theatre for 30 years, but I found it very helpful and informative. Of course it’s very hard to break the habits of a lifetime, but I will endeavour to do so and work on my voice as much as possible. Thank you once again for sharing your skills with us.”

I still can’t get over how generous and brave this group was, to invite me to work with them for two full days on their voices. They have been performing in the One-Act Play Festivals around the State for some years, as well as producing their own local productions in their community.

I am so looking forward to seeing them in action when I get back from the States.

I’ve just remembered!  I recorded the Mini-Mini-vocal warm up on my Blackberry, must see if it worked and post it up here! Don’t go away…

Duh!  I’ve put it up already – see the previous post!  The sooner I get away for a holiday, the better!

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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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The HERO challenge

The new sessions of The Acting Class began on Sunday morning, with the first of the six Archetypes we will be exploring – one per class.

What is an Archetype? Well, first let me acknowledge that everyone who works with some principle involving Archetypes will do it differently. I begin with John Wright’s Masks of the Archetypes approach, and then play with it my way.

You will do it differently. That is because Archetypes are just ways of being human, ways of recognizing certain ‘types’ of people, ways of recognizing certain aspects of our own ways of being. There is no such thing, in the world, which can be identified as being an actual Archetype, and there is no such person who can, either. You can be a hero, huntress, child, fool etc, but that just means you are manifesting qualities which are recognizable from our mutual idea of what we understand as Hero, Huntress, Child or Fool. These are ‘types’ which occur in the folk tales and songs of cultures throughout the world.

Batman is a hero, just as Hercules, Sigurd, Beowolf, Calamity Jane, and Cathy Freeman are all heroes, real or imagined. Actors are heroes (NOTE to our American colleagues, here in OZ we are non-gender specific with the word ‘actor’).

A hero is an individual who behaves heroically, or does something heroic, and thus we call him a hero, or her (more usually) a heroine. The Archetype, Hero, has become manifest in them, and we recognize the qualities of Hero, and so we call them heroes. Note where I capitalize, and where I don’t.

So, having spent some time on Sunday exploring the physical experience of embodying Hero-like movement qualities, I have challenged the class to practice the exercise, to spend as much time in the coming week in Hero body as they possibly can.

This morning, I went out for a morning walk, before the heat settled in. As I headed down through the streets of Milton, along Park Road to Coronation Drive and back up Cribb Road, I challenged myself to move into Hero movement qualities, feeling the power in my legs, finding myself looking up and out as I walked (instead of my customary watching the ground). My shoulders dropped back, my chin tucked in and I noticed the impulse for propulsion forward in space now very definitely came from my centre of gravity, which was slightly higher than usual, somewhere round the solar plexus region.

It felt pretty good, I can tell you!  Then it lapsed, and I had to focus to regain the sense of equilibrium, it drifted, I brought it back – and then I realised just how much this way of working is analogous to Fitzmaurice tremoring. Just as the tremor is the body’s response to being placed in an impossible dilemma – the muscles begin to shake, and the breath flows in and out at its own pace – so trying to embody an Archetype is an impossible situation, brain and imagination struggle to make sense of the task of achieving an impossible goal, the body responds as best it can and then the magic happens…

The moment you feel LIKE a hero, it seems as if you’ve lost it. Here you are, all Heroic, and yet you’re being asked to do something absolutely ridiculous like hop on one foot, or remember and speak lines. You feel insecure, the only thing you are sure of is that you are ‘wrong’. In fact, you are absolutely on track, because what you feel is what your particular Hero is feeling, i.e. ridiculous. But you want to be Heroic, and sensible, and so you feel embarrassed, even a sense of failure. WOW!!! How cool is that? A hero who is embarrassed, who feels like a failure?

Your task, now, is to keep working to become more and more familiar with the physical movement qualities, to practise BEING in those qualities (just as you would practise speaking in a new language, or a new accent, if you want to become really skilful with it). I’m sitting here at my desk, realising that I am slouching, so I’ve now drawn up my spine, acknowledged my handsomely ridged brow, strong nose and firm mouth, my furrowed cheeks and my cleft chin, and Boy, am I going to defeat a few evil armies before bedtime?

Of course I shall.

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Open Slather

I’ve just removed the password protection on the handouts, and video demos. Having thought about it long and hard while I was away, I have decided that I would much rather everyone had access to these, and that people actually made use of them.

Of course, you will get much more from the exercises if you do them under supervision, with a teacher or trainer whom you trust.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to chat about any of the exercises, or to enquire about matters to do with actor training, or voice coaching.

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The fate of June Bloom

There are some pretty cool tools out there on the world wide web, including Wordle, which creates a 'cloud' from text you enter into it. Following the example of Canadian actor Kris Joseph http://www.krisjoseph.ca/, I extracted all of June’s lines from the script, and entered them into the Wordle. Here is my cloud:

Wordle: The Fall of June Bloom

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