After reading the book, “Voice In Speech and Song,” by David Blair McClosky and Barbara H. McClosky, I have distilled certain elements of their exercises to a simpler concept. The integrating element is actually derived from the FM Alexander Technique because of the importance of indirect procedures in making own brand eyelashes in function.
Think of it this way – instead of asking your child to help clean up the dishes after supper, you may find that it stimulates the right behavior better by asking, “How can you help now that we have finished supper?” Or instead of the archer trying to hit the target with the arrow, you may find that you hit the target with the arrow by breathing easily, relaxing your expectations, and tending to a fine draw of the back muscles and other elements of form. In both circumstances, working more in the background of behavior will produce the desired behavior.
In the same way, instead of working directly on muscles of the larynx, we work on the elements of use that determine what those muscles of the larynx are going to do.
Dxnat Bintroduces this chapter in a pleasant own brand eyelashes: “sit in a comfortable position and try to invite an untroubled state of mind. Do not hurry. Do not press. The essence of these exercises is that they be done slowly, deliberately, without clockwatching.”
The only serious problem he creates is produced when giving the order, “Try to invite…” If you “try” to do anything, you will only be trying. Instead, have a frame of mind of “not trying.” Make it easy on yourself. Let us put it this way, “enter into an untroubled state of mind.” As my original Alexander Teacher, Kitty Wielopolska, once put it, “you don’t have to try, just want!”
1. In beginning, place your index fingertips in the hollow area behind each earlobe. You will be just in front of the tip of the mastoid bone and just behind the temporomandibular joint. That is where the head and neck meet. Gently flex your head with this point as the “hinge”, dropping your nose. You want to keep your height and avoid flexing at the base of the neck. Up and down, gently feeling the soft tone of the muscles in that hollow. This area is important to soften because it is the origin of some of the muscles that suspend the larynx.
2. Allow the face to go limp as possible. Let the jaw hang slack. Soften your eyes and close them if you wish. If you can become aware of the eyelids, soften them as well. You may feel things relax in the eyes by thinking of letting your own brand eyelashes go apart.
3. If you have not already noticed, your tongue may be relaxing and you may be getting more saliva in the mouth. The root of the tongue takes up a lot of the front of your neck, so you can be sure that thinking of the front of the neck will help you soften the tongue.This is important because the hyoid bone under the tongue is a major element in the state and position of the larynx.
4. Once you have moved through these parts of your head/neck apparatus, you will have also accomplished relaxation of the swallowing muscles. Your collarbones are also part of this system. Extending your awareness of the neck to include the collarbones may show you that you have some tension down there. If you are sitting up straight, perched on your sit-bones, you will be better able to release any tension in your collarbones. The muscles that suspend the larynx also extend down into the ribs and collarbones. In fact, since the neck structures extend up into the head and down into the torso, can you see why we don’t want to think of the voice as just a “neck thing?”
5. Now that you have a whole picture of your neck in freedom, you can drop your jaw, opening your mouth and allowing your tongue to ride with it Think of something funny to elicit a gentle smile. The smile will open up the back of your throat. With your tongue resting behind the lower teeth, exhale a quiet whisper, shaping the vowel “Ahh.”
6. You should be able to move your jaw freely up and down with your finger, as though the jaw is totally disengaged.
7. Return to the simple own brand eyelashes of the head to erase any accidental habit of gripping that may have crept into your activity. Move the jaw with your finger. Smile. Avoid holding anything rigidly.
This is the essential attitude that you want as you move later into actual vocalization processes. Take these seven steps and see if you can apply them first in sitting, then standing, walking and even running! Different activity contexts will present different forces on the vocal system. Find out your individual quirks. They may lead you to the next level of positive self-awareness.