Voice Movement Therapy - Cape Town

Voice Movement Therapy


14 March 2016

A natural collaboration


This past Saturday we presented another Bodysong workshop. Nidhi Chaitow and I have flowed into a natural collaboration.   In the session I first introduce everybody to to a vocal vocabulary. A few vocal capabilities that we can draw from when we start dancing together and start using our voices.  We discussed how we can change the body posture to achieve different vocal timbres. We play around with the rhythms that volume can create.  What does it sound like when we whine. moan or growl?

What does the vibration of my own voice feel like in my body. How is my voice and vocal expression linked to my own body. We start vocalising gently, moving with our own voices. First there is the awareness of the self, then we start incorporating a partner in our song-dance duet. How do I as an individual fit into the group? we do a vocal jam - individual creativity that blends harmoniously with the group and together we create a new unique song. Nidhi provides a gentle rhythm on her drum that is the heartbeat for our song. She introduces the group to shakers and sticks that we can use to participate in the rhythm.


By using live percussion there is an aliveness in the dance and music, a conversation of giving and taking - there is space for relationship.



16 February 2016

Dance and sing into ease


Last night I was in the dancing studio on my own. I decided to do a vocal and movement journey about the processes I am busy with in my life right now. - the biggest one is establishing a whole new business and the fears and stresses associated with this.

From experience, I find that embodying of my stuff helps me to move through it.

I took myself into the studio and started expressing exactly where I am at, I dived into the feeling with my body and with my voice.

Then I spent quite some time dancing and singing where I would like to be. I noticed that my song was repetitive and that my movements were quite stressed - in fact I got a cramp in my right foot.


This did not feel right in my body. I asked myself: “what do I want to feel?

My answer is that I want to feel at ease, enjoying the joys of life.

I could feel in my body that I was in need of more joy.  I also felt that my body need to relax and move with ease in order to be at ease.  I relaxed and started moving with ease, allowing inspiration and joy to flow through me - I allowed my voice to follow the dance - and yes, the melody was pure, rich and fun.

This embodiment changed my perspective on how I am going about my business this morning - I realised that to be in joy, I need to move and sing from a place of joy.  If I take every single step, every single breath in joy and ease, then everything flowing from and to me will be a manifestation of this joy.

By noticing what was happening in my voice and in my body, I became aware of the importance of the "vibe" I am putting out and living right now. - amen!


As a rule, one would expect a direct relationship between body type and voice type—that is, a larger voice in a large body, and a smaller voice in a small body. When we see an elephant, we will automatically imagine a larger and rougher sound compared with a hummingbird. When we speak of the human voice, however, it is more complex. First and foremost, it is the size and thickness of the vocal cords that determine what kind of voice we have; but the shape of the head, the resonance spaces, and the way we use them also contribute to the voice’s volume and unique qualities. Someone with a small body, strong vocal cords and excellent resonance spaces can have a voice that projects much farther than someone with a large body and weak vocal cords. We can train our voices and our vocal cords, and we can learn to exploit our resonance spaces, so that we can supplely change and adjust them according to our needs.


Voice and personality

It’s all hidden in the voice

“The telephone conversation left me completely confused. I could hear in his voice that something was terribly wrong. He sounded sad, not himself at all. At the same time he was telling me how good he felt, and how happy he was with his new job. I felt I could trust his voice more than what he was saying in words.”

Your voice always paints a portrait of your immediate condition, here and now. It reflects your mood and your state of mind, how you react to internal and external influences. If you are depressed and unhappy, as in the above example, it is audible in your voice; likewise if you are angry and irritated.


In other situations you may notice that your voice changes; it could for instance become smaller or disappear entirely, as in this example of a woman encountering a domineering colleague: “I could suddenly hear my own voice. Confronted by my colleague I nearly disappeared, and so did my voice. I became small and pleading, and had a hard time getting any words out.” The situation reminds the woman of her relationship to her overbearing mother. The woman regresses, feeling small and oppressed, exactly as she felt early in her life.

Or, imagine that it was forbidden to express anger in your childhood home. In this case, since anger is a basic emotion, which must be given voice in order to be expressed fully, you cannot cope with anger in yourself or your surroundings—and it can be heard in your voice. Unexpressed anger is always audible.


This is true of all the basic emotions. In order to feel we are whole and intact human beings, we must be able to express ourselves with sound. What is grief without weeping? Anger without shouting and screaming? Joy without cheers and laughter?

When we begin to let our sound out—perhaps after years of disuse—we can be very surprised at the results.

One woman reports, “When I work with my voice, I can sometimes be astounded at how much sound and strength I have in me. I feel six feet tall and on top of the world.”


Your voice can free you of so many obstacles that you actually get a physical boost, feeling taller and more expansive.

Even chronic conditions, mannerisms, habits and patterns in your voice acquired over time can be manifestations of unresolved episodes in your life; since you have not dealt with them or achieved some kind of closure, you carry them around with you—audibly. These may be expressed as tensions that can, for example, manifest as a chronic “cry” in the voice, or even a sensation of needing to clear your throat. What you really need to clear always has a story behind it, and pops up in situations that resemble what you once experienced.

You can work with the voice on many levels, depending on how deeply you would like to explore, and where you are in your life. The voice conceals its own “melodies,” just as though it were an old-fashioned record player. Each record is engraved with a melody: an expression of some problem, theme or feeling in your life. The melodies on the records can be played one after the other, depending on where you are in your life and what you are ready to work with.


In this way, your voice is both a portrait of you here and now, playing the melody of the moment, and a sounding board, lending certain elements of your history, roots and background extra resonance.

More serious psychological or emotional traumas connected to crisis or shock can cause a temporary or chronic loss of voice, stammering, or vocal nodules and can lead to a loss of one’s sense of identity.

Lisbeth Hultmann, a Danish professional opera singer and a certified gestalt therapist, has described in her book “The Power of the Voice” the correlation between your Voice Type and your personality. She lives in Gilleleje, Denmark.

The Power of the Voice, Know your Voice – Know Yourself by Lisbeth Hultmann will be published by Ayni Books, August 2013.

Do you know what it’s like, when you hear a voice that suddenly and without warning betrays a trembling insecurity behind the self-assured mask, becoming raspy and hoarse, cracked, or blocked by a lump in the throat?

Do you know what it’s like, when a good friend only has to say “hi” on the phone, and you know immediately that something’s wrong? Do you know those who—in certain situations—have to clear their throats constantly?

The voice reveals the body’s secrets—but it is also a tool with which we can resolve our obstacles. Everything we forget, our body remembers. And everything the body remembers is reflected in the voice.

Our conscious mind reacts to words, but our emotions react to the voice. Words can lie, but the voice never lies.

The voice closes the deal—or bungles it for us and therefore it can be of great help to be conscious about our own voice and the signals it reflects.

- http://www.spiritualmediablog.com/…/the-power-of-the-voice…/


18 February 2016

Know your voice - know yourself


This is what your vocal cords look like.





I stumbled upon this beautiful article by Lisbeth Hultmann, author of The Power of the Voice: Know Your Voice – Know Yourself.