I no longer give workshops.
The basis of my workshops was to invite singers to join me in a voyage of discovery: a discovery of their body breathing, and voice. The courses were designed for singers, instrumentalists, actors, Alexander teachers and 3rd year students on an Alexander training course.
Using the Psycho-Physical Support System, it is extremely easy to develope a way of breathing based entirely on how the body works–how it wants to work. When the muscles of the back, chest and abdomen are no longer being used to hold us up they are free to react to the stimulus of breathing out. They react in the same co-ordinated way that they do when we laugh, sneeze, cough or cry. We don’t have to think about them. They just react.
Photo © Robert van Sluis
Breathing out is the secret of being able to breathe in easily. And to breathe out easily and completely, we need to be able to rely on the bones of our skeleton to support us. Attention is paid to the various muscles involved in breathing out and then learning how to release them very quickly. When they do release the tension (and this is good tension) which builds up during the out-breath, the in-breath comes in automatically.
Once this system is activated it is then very easy to work to co-ordinate the organ of breathing with the vocal organ and then go on to singing a chosen song, or speaking a chosen text. Memorization of material you wish to work on is strongly advised.
I worked in small groups (no larger than 8) with at least one of the graduates (or one of the senior students) from our Alexander Teacher Training Course assisting so that everyone got the benefit of what we call “hands on” – guidance throughout the various processes by gentle, educated and directed hands.
In my workshops there was always time given for individual work while the other participants observe. The atmosphere was light and easy, and amateur as well as professional singers found that in one weekend they could make significant changes in their understanding–and execution of singing.