Not Another Post About Warm Ups!

Oh yes! Because you can never have enough ways to warm up, and to challenge yourself to understand why the Warm Up is essential. Why warm up? Why not just rock up to class, or rehearsal, or the performance and just do the thing? Can you, indeed, switch from your everyday ways of moving, sounding, thinking and being in your normal life to ways of moving, sounding, thinking and being AS IF you lived a different life, for the purpose of inviting an audience to share in aspects of that different life. In my book, the answer is always No. You can’t. Nobody can. You can get better at making the switch as time goes by, make it in less …

Being in the Presence of Silence

As any of my students will tell you, I’m almost fanatical about silence. I get them to do weird things, like paying attention to the quality of the silence in the room after they have finished vocalising a sound. I even insist that they leave their mouths open, jaws relaxed, for a few seconds, maintaining the sense that they are still in the act of communicating, or expressing themselves – only now it is not via vocalised sound, it is via the quality of the silence they have created, which exists in the room. In fact, the sound waves they have just created have changed the sound of the room, and that change needs to be respected.

Brief Encounter with an Archetype

‘I enjoyed your workshop yesterday very much. It felt a bit like Commedia del Arte without masks and without having to keep to your character’s stereotype. Using text with these archetypes was a great exercise towards “truthfulness” of the lines. As an actor I want to be flexible and open for new things when I work on a character and going through the different archetypes with the text allows me to train that flexibility and openness I want to achieve.’ Yesterday afternoon I had the great pleasure of introducing a small group of 3rd year students to the process and concept of working with Archetypes.  I volunteered to give a free workshop, and they chose to show up of their own …

Anatomy of the Larynx

Something technical, just for a change. My colleagues at VASTA posted a link to this tutorial on Facebook, and it is just the most wonderful resource:  one episode in a collection of clear, detailed tutorials on the anatomy of the larynx. I know some people find it challenging to deal with the “how it works” part of the voice. I’m not one of them, I just love to know how things work, how the different parts of the body interact and support each other – collaborate, indeed – to give us the actions we call our own. So please, watch, listen and learn. Follow up with the next tutorial, and the next, but don’t get bogged down in the technical terms, …

Preparing for a Vocal Marathon – Part I

Today I was working on Skype with a new client, who asked me for exercises to help her cope with the challenge of a 28 minute narration (voice over). This is a long time for an untrained voice to sustain colour, flexibility and ease. Small wonder she finds herself stumbling over long words and complex phrases. It is not normal to speak to 28 minutes without rest. This is a vocal marathon. The voice, like any other part of the human anatomy, requires muscles to move it, shape it, colour it, empower it. The voice might take the form of sound waves, invisible to the eye. It might seem to be as easy as breathing – and that’s how we’d …