Wacky Noises Indeed!

St Joan of Philadelphia – gazing at the “Rocky” steps in front of the Museum of Art.

Since I’ve been back in Liverpool I’ve been busy developing an online course for Reluctant Public Speakers. I’d be interested to know if you have any concerns about public speaking, and if so, would you be willing to share them with me? Here is a short form where you can offer some suggestions and/or requests. For anyone who fills in the survey, I am happy to respond to your particular concerns. Just include your email at the end of the survey.

I’m delighted to report that the “Voice of the Clown” workshop at the Voice Foundation Annual Symposium – Care of the Professional Voice – in Philadelphia on 31st May was an absolute HOOT!

The room was, as expected, not as large as it could have been, but still, larger than most. It never ceases to amaze me how many music colleges have modest, if not tiny studio spaces which don’t encourage much physical movement. Still, we managed. We moved all the folding chairs to the end of the room behind the grand piano and the comfortable couches, took off our shoes and got stuck in.

After a fast and furious but thorough physical and vocal warmup, I invited 4 participants to explore the first exercise moving longways down the room (only room for 4 at a time!). Very quickly I sensed that this was going to be most frustrating for the ones waiting to take a turn, so I ‘bit the bullet’ and called on everyone to try it out together. And they did. It was Ira Seidenstein’s ‘Nothing’ Exercise, which is normally done moving in a straight line, consciously moving the arms to create a shape in the air in front of the body, but in these circumstances the two dozen or so participants managed to weave in and out and around each other, never crashing into each other, choosing to stop, improvise, abandon, start again.

Then we tried it with the ‘Creative Twist’ which is ‘same but different’ (in Ira speak) and which culminates in improvised sounds arising from the physical impulse as one is moving with funny walks. Again, no crashing into each other, and most people quite happy to be engaged in their own personal physical, intellectual, emotional creative space – wherever that happened to be in the room at the time. I would say, much more than ‘quite happy’, there was a definite air of joy in the room by the time we finished. 50 minutes of focussed, energised, spontaneous creativity.

The Philadelphia Boys Choir performing at the Gala evening.