Body-Mind Centering (R) as Somatic Education for Students & Practitioners of Voice Repatterning Through Touch, Imagery & Movement

Over the past few years I have been working with an increased number of voice students and teachers. I have enjoyed the challenge of working with the special areas of focus that their art demands and have been grateful to receive their encouragement, insight and feedback.

In general, what seems to have been most helpful for voice students, has been an increased physical embodiment of principles of breath & sound that they have been studying already in their voice training. The technique for this has been to work with experiential anatomy that encourages direct perception of anatomical structures through imagery,touch and movement. Once the student has experienced a heightened body awareness of very specific structures, with guidance they can begin to repattern those physical responses that are inefficient or lack expression.

Finding support for one’s voice without excess tension is a recurrent theme that my students and I have been working with. What is meant by support and how canoe locate it? In BMC (R) terms, support is always dynamic. It consists of continually changing perceptions of our physical (and psychological ) ground or base of support that we initiate expression (in this case the voice) from. So the more heightened one’s physical awareness is of structures that support the voice the more choices of response and expression are available.

The deeper and closer to one’s core, supporting structures can be found, the more effortless vocal expression will be. An example of this is how the internal organs, specifically the lungs, can help support our breath as well as the entire shoulder girdle from the inside. Through touch and visualization we can have the experience of full embodiment and breath into the entire surface area of our lungs. This conscious dimension of breathing directly into our lung tissue provides an internal supporting presence as well as increased mobility of our whole upper torso and shoulder girdle. Hands-on and verbal guiding increase the feedback from under-used areas of the lungs so that we gain maximum efficiency and breath support.

Another example of how to increase support is the physical embodiment of the efficient movement of the diaphragm, the main muscle of breath production. When it is understood that the diaphragm’s central tendon or crura blends it’s fibers into the fascia all along the front of the spine one is able to experience directly the intimate connection between the breathe and the spine. When we fixate the spine in our effort to find support, the result is a lack of full movement of the diaphragm and when we have diminished excursioning of the Diaphragm our spines can become rigid and unresponsive.

Special areas of focus that effect the production of breath & sound:

  • Diaphragm mobility and response
  • Ribs, Intercostals and shoulder girdle flexibility
  • Full Lung capacity and support
  • Initiation and support, presence of the 4 diaphragms
  • Cellular Breath as recuperation
  • Grounding reflexes in the body that provide more effortless support for our Vertical posture (ie. feet, legs, pelvic floor)
  • Spinal head-tail connection for support
  • Balancing of musculature ie. releasing the large muscles from excess holding patterns and encouraging more activity and support from the smaller and deeper muscles.
  • Support & mobility of the internal organs
  • Establishing initiation sequence of:
    support — breath — sound — movement
    support — breath — movement — sound

These are just some of the many areas of focus that can provide support for full vocal expression and efficient vocal technique.