– What does ‘standing up straight’ mean and how do I achieve it?
– How do I shape my body?
– Standing still locks my body. What can I do to change that?
– How can I learn to speak and sing in a relaxed way?
– Can I learn to feel my energy flow?
What is Voice & Physique
The method Voice & Physique is about supporting the voice by creating a good physical awareness which contributes to the quality of singing. Apart from creating a healthy position of the body while singing, this method contains three important interrelated components: energy, concentration and focus. Using different exercises I work on connecting these components towards a realization of this unity while rehearsing and performing.
HOW DID IT BECOME A METHOD
Before I started to create this method I had worked extensively with a variety of choirs. I noticed that a lot of them sang without the conscious use of energy flow and focus. Of course all of the conductors I have worked with realized this, but they could not really change the situation by just telling them to sing with more energy and focus. So the question still was…How? At that time I tried to explain to the singers how to change their energy and focus from a more motional point of view. This was new for choir singers because of course it is a different discipline. After a while I decided to specialize in this subject because of all the questions I received from different corners of the choir world. And all of this found its focus in a method that I now use in every master class I give to singers, conductors, teachers or instrumentalists I work with nowadays.
THE CONDUCTOR IS A MIRROR
I have put my method into practice with conductors because of the physical support that is needed in conducting. Many conductors build up a lot of tension while standing in front of a choir. Not only do they want to get the full attention of the choir singers, but they also want to put them through all kinds of dynamics and atmospheres. In order to do so they need a healthy physical condition to prevent injuries and stress. In private sessions, I work on building up strength, attaining a balance between tension and relaxation using all the basics of my method. I think it is important for conductors to set a good physical example for their singers or instrumentalists. People copy body language when confronted. So what could be better than to get them to sing or play as well and as healthily as you conduct! The conductor is a mirror for “every body” in the room.
SINGERS DON’T HAVE TO DANCE!
It’s important to realize that motion is a more suitable word than dancing when it concerns working with choirs on a stage. In the past there have been crossovers between motion/dancing and choir singing but mostly with dancers who didn’t have the necessary knowledge of the vocal instrument. It resulted in friction because most of the time the motion did not support the voice. It is considerably different to work with singers from a dancer’s or a motional point of view.
Singer don’t have to dance! They have to get to know their body and make a connection between their voice and their physique. Whenever they are sitting or standing while singing, they should use their whole body to support the voice. Not only will this contribute to the quality of singing in rehearsals but certainly also to the performance.
PHYSICAL WORK AND STAGING
I have been working with Wilma ten Wolde of the Netherlands Children Choir and Netherlands Youth Choir for over 10 years as a motional coach and director. In addition to the physical work I did with the singers, I made a performing concept for every concert. This concept contained staging of the songs and making transitions from one song to the other. This way you sustain a good concentration and flow within the concert, avoiding fragmentation for the audience. Sometimes I only choose for standing in a formation while singing the song and other times I create movements to add to the singing that really support the dynamic of the material. This way of working resulted in a process of two steps. From Voice & Physique to Choireography.
A few years ago I was thinking about the word ‘choreography’. I even looked it up and it literally means: the art of creating and arranging dances. The word derives from the Greek for ”dance” and for “write”. Many years people of the choir world have called any bit of staging or movement choreography. At that time it didn’t feel right. I wanted to find a word that suited movement for singers. It is at that moment that I invented the word ‘Choireography’. It only differs one letter and means exactly what it promises. Since then I have tried to implant this new word and I have called myself a choireographer. It always takes time to adapt to new situations and things but I truly believe this word describes the content. When I talk about choireography I would like to explain that it contains all movements suitable for singers, movements that support the music and the voice instrument and contribute to the quality of performing. It needs to be material of which the singer can really benefit while performing or rehearsing. I say rehearsing because there are many occasions in which I create movements that help study the material.
Hourly fee: €150,-
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