After much hoopla and ado, pacing and nail biting, I am finally sitting down to write about the voice experiment sessions. They have in fact been going really well. Too well. I haven’t felt like there was much to report. Today was only session 4 and we’re nowhere near actual SONG yet! But today was so much fun that my inertia broke… As it were.
Allie is taking to this work like a fish to water. I love teaching the inexperienced. They have no bad habits that they want to hold on to, no egos established, just a curiosity and willingness to learn. Which is of course the best way to approach any creative task, no matter where you are in your career.
To fill you in quickly, the first 2 sessions were double whammies on free, truthful sound and starting her on the support exercises.
Flashback to day one:
My subject (hehe I feel like I should be wearing a lab coat and goggles) has an interesting approach to the sigh. She’s a very active person and from what I can tell she relaxes very actively too. In our first session I was completely flummoxed. Every sigh was an explosion! The word relax was met with a very deliberate rearranging of her shoulder muscles. A re-organization of tension. Stillness? Yes. Relaxed? Not so much. But she’s learning: she’s doing spinal rolls and we’ve found a breath image that encourages her to use a lot less effort. I’m fortunate in having a student with such an open attitude, Allie is very honest and self-aware about her patterns, it makes her very easy to work with. I’m quite proud of her. :)
Back to present day:
Today’s session blew Allie’s mind. “Who knew learning to sing could be so much like doing mushrooms?” OK, she didn’t actually say that, but it was the spirit of the thing. Up until today we’ve been fairly somber (well, for me), but today we really got up into the body’s natural amplifiers and we were getting all tingly!
Session 3 and 4 have both had a focus on resonance. Last week was a version of Stewart Pearce’s chakra resonator scale, a big favourite of mine. Very profound. But today, session 4, was the soft palette and the Linklater Resonance scale. Waaay more room for sillyness. And we had an audience! Who shall remain nameless and was a little bit of a surprise to me I won’t lie. It was my first time teaching with an observer in the room. But that’s what you get for doing free sessions as house calls. I’m sure he learned a lot. ;)
I am so excited to keep moving, I could’ve gone all night. But as I left Allie draped herself on the couch in an exhausted flop, so perhaps it was prudent to stop when we did. Stay tuned for more experimental madness!
I am so jazzed about this "anyone can sing" experiment. I have absolutely NO idea how it's going to turn out, but I had an inspiring consultation with a prospective guinea pig today (who shall remain nameless until I ask if it's OK to blog about him/her) and I am exciiii-ted!! (Anyone who missed the last post about me being a puppy, let this be your warning.)
This project began as a redemption quest. Given my chosen line of work now, I am wracked with guilt about teasing my mother about her singing when I was a young teen (she still won't sing to herself if she knows anyone is in earshot) and I thought I'd make it up to her. She demurred my offer, but then I thought I could at least pay it forward so I started to develop a curriculum for the vehement non-singer.
Recently it's stopped being about that. My initial reasons are still important to me, but my motivation has expanded into an idealism that gets deeper and deeper every day. Self-expression is so important. And singing is, to me, such a vital part of that. I have absolutely no interest in performing, hate being in choirs, but if I thought I couldn't sing, well, I probably wouldn't be a puppy.
Talking about this today really touched something in me. When I'm going through a lot of stress in my "normal" life, or when I am distressed or hurt, or exuberant, I sing. I use it as a tool to syphon off extra energy when I'm so overjoyed I'm scared I might burst. It's a healing balm for my deepest grief. A way of reaching out to the world, even if no-one responds; I feel it resonate from my body out into the world and I feel better. I can't imagine ever being without that. I never have been. And the thought that there are people out there who don't because they're scared they sound bad or it hurts or they just never thought they could... I'm getting so worked up I can barely type. You get the idea. This is important to me. And we're going to get to give it a try! And perhaps I'll even do a little bit of good in the world while I'm at it! I am so lucky. What a gift. :)
I'm looking for volunteers to help me develop two new programs!
You get to take the new program for free in exchange for giving me feedback about what worked and what didn't!
Contact me for more information: 778 235 7696
Danielle Benzon coaches entrepreneurs and performing artists in voice, acting and audition technique. She is also certified to teach the Meisner Approach through the True Acting Institute. Danielle is based in Vancouver, Canada.