This chapter does in no way cover a complete voice training! But care is given to reconnect body and voice.
The physical impulse is always also the impulse for the vocal impulse.
For the voice exercises, one simple, short ‘by heart’ poem and a prose text (max. 4–6 lines) should be spontaneously available. (One could be in the mother tongue and one in another language).
- Body and voice in unison
- Importance of the centre (abdominals, support)
- Vowels and consonants as physical forces
For the voice exercises, students need to learn a short poem, of about 4–6 lines, by heart.
Exercise 1.177: Shake out the voice and body. Stand on both feet, knees a little bent, let the upper body fall over, relax shoulders and neck, let the head ‘dangle’. Shake softly out the upper body, letting it hang and swing a little with ‘weak’ knees, shake out the arms, shoulders and neck. Along with all these relaxation movements, recite your ‘poem’ when you shake out the body and voice. Surprise yourself with physical impulses that become voice impulses.
Exercise 1.178: B shakes A’s voice out. A softly shakes B. A reacts with the voice.
Exercise 1.179: The deepest sound. Lying on the floor, legs bent and feet close to the buttocks on the floor, arms relaxed to the side. (The throat is just as a big tube, ‘a grapefruit could pass through’). Hear for some time – in your mind – the deepest sound you can imagine! Breathe in, lift the pelvis (but not the feet). The lift produces the sound you heard. Lift it slowly with the pelvis, a long m-aaaaa… or m-oooo… Don’t push the voice, push the pelvis. The sound leaves the body from between the legs. End the sound with the end of the movement. Descend the pelvis and relax.
Exercise 1.180: Hand on the back. A kneels, with head between the knees, relaxing the spine and the neck and recites the ‘poem’ to himself. B sits alongside and puts his hand on A’s spine for a while. A concentrates on the touch and ‘addresses’ the poem to the hand of B: (B must feel the vibrations of the voice in his hands!). B then removes his hand and puts it onto another spot on the spine (or under the shoulder blades, the flanks, the neck, the forehead or the top of the head, and searches for the vibrations.) By focusing on and reacting to the hand at the various spots, the voice will change quality, because the voice uses different ‘resonance boxes’ such as the back, the ribcage, the neck, the forehead, the chest, etc. This exercise requires a lot of concentration and work.
Exercise 1.181: To push the hand with the voice. If A manages to focus on the different spots, and B can feel the vibrations of A’s voice, the exercise begins once more. A is trying to push the hand away from his body. Decidedness and emotional load are needed: a strong aim: A must convince B to move the hand away.
Exercise 1.182: Pushing clouds. Standing in parallel position. For the pushing of clouds, use sounds such as ba, baba, babababa, ba-ba, ba-ba, ba, ba……( and ba, bo, wa, wo, ma, na, and la). Play pushing clouds (like playing tennis) with big and round arm movements (along the body), starting the action in the legs. Body and voice are connected, the sounds are soft and long. Play ball with the sounds as well, in a soft manner.
Exercise 1.183: Hanging wet laundry for drying. Lift an imaginary, heavy wet bedsheet with both hands, close to the body, with a straight back. ‘Take the energy from the floor’, let it reach the centre and the upper body, and hang the sheet in one flow over the leash, with sounds like ‘baaaa!’ waaa, maaa, naaa, etc. Afterwards, relax body and voice.
Exercise 1.184: A-O-M. Standing straight, bending the body, with arms shoulder-wide extended over the head, bend forwards in a block. Lifting the arms, inhale. When exhaling, bend the upper body straight with a long A…, when you get deeper, the back rounds, the pelvis rises and the sound is Oooo…, and when you relax the upper body, head and neck in the end, the sound is a long Mmmm…, until all air is exhaled. (The power of the sound is produced by the movement of bending slowly and activating the abdominals and the muscles of the back).
Exercise 1.185: A-O-M sunrise, a (group) exercise by Radu Penciulescu for ‘Vargteatern’. Several people together let ‘the sun rise’ through their (repeated) A-O-M sounds: First, the light is announced, the sun is not yet visible, and slowly it rises and sets forth its rays, until it has reached its zenith on a hot day… Some students listen and give feedback afterwards.
Exercise 1.186: A-O-M communication. A stands with his back to B, several metres away (or further away, or close by), and uses the A-O-M sound and movement. A has something very important and emotionally loaded to communicate to B (Choose aims such as: the partner should come to you, or go away, or you communicate sorrow, joy, victory, fear, etc.)
Exercise 1.187: A-O-M communication to several recipients, all standing around in the space, their backs turned. B tries to reach them all together (stereo voice).
Exercise 1.188: A-O-M communication with partners further away (Do the exercise in the forest, from one hilltop to another, over the river, in the rain, etc.).
Exercise 1.189: Eat like a gorilla. Stand in the positions of a big ape. Grab bananas, smell, bite, squash, chew, smack with the lips, suck, use the tongue and spit. By getting the jaw moving, the tongue and the lips are warmed up. Use ‘primitive’ sounds as HRNG! MMM! NNG! with only a few vowels. The exercise develops articulation.
Exercise 1.190: The forms of vowels in physical action.
- A: Arms open forwards or upwards: wonder, excitement.
- O: Arms rounded around something: warmly accepted and liked.
- I: (ee!) Arms move downwards along the body, with self-confidence.
- U: (oo!) Fear: keep the arms pressed to the body.
- E: Crossing the arms (or/and legs), rejection.
Exercise 1.191: The sounds of consonants in physical action. The students try to find the movement that represents the sound best and learn to differentiate between the pronunciation of the sounds. The teacher may invent appropriate actions. For example:
- B: Soft touch – release
- P: Touch with pressure – release
- F: Touch – move away in surprise
- K: Touch – repulsion
- W: To glide over something
- La- Twisting
- Ha- Evaporates (with the arms)
- Ra- Rolling energetically, like part of a motor
- And so on.
Voice improvisation themes
Improvisation 1.192: Direct a blindfolded partner with a voice. A is blindfolded, B must use the sounds and intonations (of the sounds B’s poem, not its content!) to lead A, warn him about obstacles, encourage him, etc.
Exercise 1.193: Lift a person only with the voice from the floor. A lies in a sleeping position on the floor. B, C (and maybe D) lift A first physically from the floor. Improvisation.
Thereafter they try to achieve the same thing with their voices: The recite ‘their poem’, and by the intonation of the voice (order, pleading, threatening, calming, etc.), and the energy they exude, A maybe starts to move, to turn round, to sit up, etc., but if the vocal energy of B, C and D slackens, A will relax on the floor again. B, C and D try, in collaboration, to push and to pull and to hold A’s body with their voices. They observe closely how A reacts.
Exercise 1.194: Keeping lions at bay (group improvisation). The participants form a circle. They are the lions. In the middle stands A, the lion-tamer. With sounds (the poem recited), he keeps the lions at bay. If the lions feel no control, power and resistance in the voice of A, they approach slowly, to ‘eat him up’. A must control all the lions, including the ones on his back.
Exercise 1.195: Sound and movement. Each participant works with a statement such as: ‘My friend loves me’, ‘next week the holidays start’, etc. He searches for movement and sound expressing his statement. Searching is in focus.
Exercise 1.196: Starts from the exercise above. A and B show each other their statements. They try to find a common point, which they can share, and alter their statement and adapt it to their partner’s. If it is not possible, they search for another partner.
Exercise 1.197: Build a machine. A shows part of a machine, with movement and sound. B joins as an adhering part, then C, etc.
Exercise 1.198: 3-step series with voice. Some of these series, well-studied in acrobatics, are used by reciting the poem. Make impulse sounds clear, keep the voice open, including when rolling and so on.
Exercise 1.199: Voice impulses with jinai. Apply the impulse-training studied with bamboo sticks but use the jinai. A speaks all the time, and adds natural voice impulses, when he tries to pull away the jinai from his body.
Exercise 1.200: Jinai kicks with impulse-sounds. B holds the jinai parallel, at hip height, in front of A who ‘must kick the door open’ with the sole of his foot and with impulse sounds (ha!).