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The Voice: The Innate Instrument

I am a vocalist. I sing in this band, and this band, and I often engage in music activities, concerts, festivals, and camps. I am currently at the music camp Django in June and I have the honor of teaching a vocal workshop.

Below is the curriculum of my humble offering. Video of portions of the class will be made available on my YouTube channel.

  • Overview

    • The Voice

      • Basics of anatomy and physiology of phonation

    • Embodiment

      • Grounding, centering, play, & dance

    • Connection

      • Relating in authenticity & courage

    • Presentation

      • Expression & celebration of your uniqueness, and the courage to be witnessed

  • The Voice

    • The Vocal Folds & Vibration

      • As air flows from the lungs through the throat, Bernoulli's principle engages, bringing them together and apart in an undulating repetition.

      • There is no need to actively, muscularly engage the throat. Those muscles are for swallowing, they are not needed for phonation.

      • The vocal folds are like a reed, and like a guitar string. Pressurized air moves between the two sides of the vocal folds like a reed, and also, the surface of the folds undulate like a wave, as we would see a guitar string does in a slow-motion video.

      • The vocal folds then interrupt the flow of air at such a rapid frequency that it is perceived as pitch by the human ear, instead of rhythm.

      • Vocal sound production is called phonation

  • Embodiment

    • Grounding

      • Zero Point

        • Everything that is to be created, begins in the stillness of nothingness. There is nowhere you can go, that does not require you to begin exactly where you are. There is no ONE, that does not emerge from absolute ZERO.

      • Breathing

        • Drop your awareness down within. Rest into yourself. Drop down your back, down your legs, into your feet, and into the Earth. Feel yourself heavy into the Earth. Let it go. Breathe, and let your spine be soft. Let your spine gently ebb and flow, in elastic ease with each breath.

      • Earthing

        • Trust that it's ok to feel this constant subtle movement, because the whole Earth is here to support you as you simply breathe. You are of the Earth. You are home. With each subtle movement of breath that rocks you gently like a wave, feel that the entire Earth is your counterweight. You are perfectly supported, balanced, and met as you move and breathe through each expression.

    • Centering

      • Heart

        • As you breathe, feel as though the breath is moving in and out through your heart center. Feel the center of your chest open and expand. Feel the backside of your heart center. If it ever feels vulnerable, remember the whole Earth is your counterweight. We, the Earth, have got your back. You are safe to breathe, to be in constant dynamic rising and falling flow, you are safe to open your heart. Smile just a little bit. This can help the heart remember it's native state of bliss.

      • Gratitude

        • You are safe to breathe, to be in constant dynamic rising and falling flow, you are safe to open your heart. Smile just a little bit. This can help the heart remember it's native state of bliss.

        • As you smile, know that you are infinitely worthy to receive each breath, you are right to be joyfully expectant of and in reception of bliss. You are of source and of receiver and of expression of bliss.

      • Throat

        • Let your blissful awareness drift up from your heart to your throat, and feel an easy soft cloud of peace. What you feel in your heart is true and you have everything you need to connect with everything, in the expression of peace that you are. Breathe into that soft blue cloud of peace and know it as your song.

    • Play & Dance

      • Dance & Sing

        • Your breathing, expressing, being is your living dance. Let your body enter the bliss, the peace, the dance. Begin to move, stretch, massage yourself, massage your face and throat and head. Yawn and stretch the throat from within. Stomp your feet! Jump! Explore expressing your vibration by toning up and down, loud and soft, vocally move rapidly and slowly. This body, this sound is yours, this is your world, you are WELCOME here. Your whole body and your entire being is your instrument.

  • Connection

    • You cannot go anywhere unless you start exactly where you are. You cannot connect with anything or anyone, unless you are able to first be with yourself. You are connected with your body. You are connected with the Earth.

    • We all have this innate connection, whether or not our momentary awareness is tuned into this fact. It is from here, that we may be able to offer the most profound and intimate gift via song to someone else. Like a tuning fork, when we are in touch with this innate connection, our expression inherently offers that same road home to someone else.

    • This is powerful. YOU are powerful. WE are powerful in connection with this truth.

  • Presentation

    • Your connection and expression from your authentic self is a service to the world.

    • You are the only you who can YOU.

    • What you look like, what you sound like, what you are interested in, is all a part of how the one energy that all things are a part of, flows distinctly through you.

    • When you know that you are a distinct and dazzling part of the oneness that is, what does the energy in your eyes feel like? Everyone in the room, everyone in the audience is a part of this too! What if you could look at them with this knowing? Would it feel vulnerable? Would it feel intimate? You have every right to simultaneously draw up and rest into the very center of the Earth itself simultaneously for the fire of courage to KNOW this, and to share this in your performance.

    • You are eternally free to playfully explore different looks and sounds, as a means of discovering what best lights you up, and communicates your dazzle!

  • Conclusion

    • Grounding

      • Return to zero

      • The whole Earth is your counterweight

      • Begin from exactly where you are

    • Breathing

      • Soften your spine and let absolutely everything participate in the dynamic flow of breathing in and out

    • Centering

      • Bliss and welcome in the very center of your heart, and peace flowing through the throat

    • Connecting

      • Your deepest authenticity, and the courage to be witnessed and witness others in theirs, are your truest gifts to share

    • Dazzling

      • Explore with a playful heart your unique sound and look as aspects of your freedom and expression, knowing your grounded safety, and the power in your courage.

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