Breathing and Vocal Studies
The human voice is one of nature’s greatest marvels. With it, we can produce different tones, sustain sounds, and create speech—all at a level that can be consciously controlled and refined. The human voice, however, is not a discrete organ but part of an interactive system that includes the mechanisms of breathing, throat, larynx, and the musculoskeletal system as a whole. We can train specific parts of the voice, but doing so ignores the fact that good technique ultimately depends on the efficient functioning and coordination of all the parts involved. That is the focus of the Breathing and Vocal Studies Section, in which we examine how breathing and the voice function as part of an integrated whole, how we can gain conscious awareness and control of this total system, and how an understanding of the voice—and the larger self of which it is a part—is fundamental not only to the mastery of technique but also to the maintenance of bodily and vocal health.
As one of the body’s vital functions, breathing is fundamental to our health and well-being. We breathe air in order to supply our cells with the fuel necessary to the production of energy, and the oxygen that we take into our lungs is drawn from the plants that we, in turn, supply with carbon dioxide—an interdependent process that exemplifies our profound connection with plant life and with the earth in general. But breathing, in turn, depends on the efficient working of the moving body, its natural support and flexible movements. We can practice specific forms of breathing but, if we want to gain a fully realized use of the breathing mechanism—not to mention a conscious use of the system that can be applied in all activity— we must understand how to use this system as a matter of conscious development. In this section, we examine breathing in relation to the larger system upon which it depends, and learn how to coordinate the outflow of air—otherwise known as a controlled exhalation—in relation to this total system.
The Human Voice is one of nature’s greatest marvels. With it, we can produce different tones, sustain sounds, and create speech—all at a level that can be consciously controlled and trained. The voice, however, is not a discrete organ but part of an interactive system involving the whole self. We can train specific parts of the voice, but doing so overlooks the role of efficient coordination of the whole person in gaining a full command of the voice.
This innovative course examines how breathing and the voice function as part of a total integrated system, how we can gain conscious awareness and control of this total system, and how an awareness of the mechanisms involved is fundamental not only to good vocal technique but to vocal health as well.
Anatomy of the Voice
Your Body, Your Voice
Breathing and the Voice: Understanding the Whispered ‘Ah’