Tag Archives: warmup

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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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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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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Catching Up

You’ll be pleased to know that the Handouts page now contains fully working links to all the handouts!

Just a reminder, class continues until – and including – 15th June.

The new class begins on 13th July, and runs for 8 sessions.

For those of you who couldn’t make it today, we discovered a new variation warming up the voice-in-the-body exercise:

After thoroughly warming up via Core Mechanics and the full-body stretches and floor work, plus a bit of Fitzmaurice scrunching and tremoring on the floor, we worked with the image of the centre filling with sound from the well of sighs. The centre encompassed that part of the body nestling between pelvis and diaphragm, and between the small of the back leaning into the floor and the top of the belly – a lovely large area to play with, and to fill with sound. When full, we let the sound flood downwards, but actually flowing upwards through the thighs, through the knees and then down through the lower legs into the feet, and thence into the floor. With the lower part of the body now full to squishing with sound, we rolled and turned and made our way to standing. Once standing, feeling the weight of the fully sounding lower body pressing into the floor, we let the sound flood upwards through the rest of the body and down the arms.

Next, we opened out to each other from our centres, and shared the ‘mmmaaaa’ sounds with each other, noticing the giving and the receiving of sound. We used the 4, 8 pattern thus:

Mmmaaaaaa mmmaaaaaa mmmmaaaaaaaa mmmmmaaaaaa

ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma

nnnnnaaaaa nnnnnaaaaaa nnnnnaaaaaaaaa nnnnnaaaaaaaaaa

na na na na na na na na

rrrrraaaaaaa rrrrraaaaaaaaa rrrrraaaaaaaaaa rrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaa

ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra

ssssssssss ssssssssssss ssssssssssssss sssssssssssssssss

ss ss ss ss ss ss ss ss

shshshshsh shshshshshsh shshshshshsh shshshshshshshsh

sh sh sh sh sh sh sh sh

shshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshs……

Then we turned it into a version using

ma

la

va

ff

We worked with the notion of giving specifically to one, or to another, sometimes one sequence of sounds, sometimes a group of sounds to the same person, trying to catch ourselves losing energy, or focus in between, and noticing how much more fun it was to keep the energy up between each section, to always have somewhere to put it.

We also worked some more with Practical Aesthetics, and clarified the difference between those aspects which are relevant to the character, and those which are relevant to the actor.

To put it briefly: The literal translation of the moments, the literal sentence describing the beat, and the want, are all about the character. The want should give you some ideas for Actions, but the Actions and the As If’s are to do with you, the actor, the person who happens to be playing the role. But they are NOT derived from, or interpreting, or playing with the scene.

The Character wants something from the other character/s.

This is like getting someone to do x

Getting someone to do x is

As if I were getting someone specific in my life to do some specific thing in real life, which hasn’t happened yet, but could, and it excites me to think I could actually get them to do it, so I am going to GET them to do it.

Playing with the As If is NOT playing the scene.

If you can learn to trust the process to this stage, you are ready to discover what happens in the scene, but before this discovery can happen, you must let go of trying to play the scene. Instead, you play your As If, and the scene plays itself.

Too Easy! (Joking…) Actually, it is easy, or at least easier than you think. As Mara discovered, it’s not multi-tasking at all, it’s doing one thing at a time, i.e. going for your cap.

N.B. I did not say ‘getting your cap’, I said ‘going for your cap’.

Compare this with working with Archetypes. You manifest Archetype qualities, knowing that you will never, ever ‘be’ the Archetype. You play with the qualities in your body, you let the qualities play you. You stay clearly focussed on the Archetype, knowing that you will touch upon it, and then lose it, and then aim for it again, and again, and again….

See you Sunday

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