This weeks lesson was entitled ‘Resonance and Range’ where we truly explored the different dynamics of our voices through multiple exercise. By singling out individual parts of our mouth and what makes the voice work, we got a greater understanding of vocal process. We began with the usual sun salute warm up to engage the full body and stood in appropriate stance; feet shoulder-width apart. We then began isolation exercises. The first exercise was warming up our tongues. We dragged it across every individual tooth, then stuck it as far out as we can, to the sides and up and down. We then acted as though there was an imaginary ice cream in front of us and started to pretending we were licking it. This is to warm up the eight muscles found in the tongue. We then proceeded in locating our larynx and pharynx. We discovered the pharynx is found between the skull and oesophagus and we activated it by yawning. The larynx is also known as the voice box and this is physically tangible in the centre of our throats. We hummed high notes and noticed that the larynx was raised and when we hummed low notes, it sank. Trying to focus on resonance and the different regions of our voice, we hummed and noted the different vibrations. A powerful, low hum will vibrate the chest and back region showing this is where the power comes from. We then moved the hum up to our throat, lips, nose and head. We placed our hands on all of these regions as we went up and down really singling out where the resonance was coming from. I learnt that a lot of concentration goes into diluting voice resonance into one region and without this you’re not really pursuing this fully. In this session, we also focused on vowel sounds. We read an eerie speech where we focussed on over pronouncing every vowel at first. After this, we found a space at the mirror looking at ourselves and held our jaw. This is to stop facial movements detracting from the power of the vowel. We then proceeded to read the whole speech without consonants; just reading words and making sense of them from their vowels. This was on halloween and it was interesting to note that, the vowel sounds themselves creating an eerie and spooky atmosphere, especially when the whole group read them out together. We over exaggerating these vowel sounds on about the 5th reading where we purposely made sounds such as ‘ee’ to sounds like a screeching animal, the ‘ooo’ sounding like ghosts or ‘u’ sounding as wolf howls.
The title of this workshop was ‘Relaxation, Release and Alignment’ where we focussed on the appropriate posture and basic standards and techniques for speech in theatre and using the voice in general. We spoke in our normal voices, getting a sense of projection. We were taught an exercise that works breathing and just relaxing the body in general called the ‘Sun Salute Exercise’. In this exercise, we deeply inhaled as we did stretches such as downwards facing dog, childs pose and many more. We also bent backwards and allowed the weight of our head to allow posture to naturally fall in line. This helped to stretch and relax our muscles and bodies in order to have correct posture and alignment. We also did an exercise where, in partners, in turns, one partner lied on the floor with eyes closed relaxing their body as though melting into the floor. The other partner would hold individual parts of their partners body such as foot, calf, thigh, arm, neck and head whilst taking full weight. The person on the floor was completely relaxed and weightless. This was a good exercise for body awareness and to dilute/ isolate the focus of energy. Whilst holding all the tension in our body when standing, this is a good exercise to learn how to release this tension and channel it. The body was automatically relaxed as result of this and the breathing pace was also relaxed and consequentially slowed down also. This showed a different quality to breathing without even thinking about it.
voice lesson2: ‘Relaxation, release and alignment’ normal voice, sun salute, massage thingy
voice lesson 3: Breath and Voice – Connect
Voice lesson 4: Breath and Voice – Supply and Support
voice lesson 5: ‘Resonance and Range’ Tongue, open vowels, lack of consonants, our speech with open vowels, mirror exercises holding jaw, eerie poem, stance, larynx, pharynx, humming vibrations.