Holistic Healing, Functional Voice
We use Eastern and Western, metaphysical and scientific methods in teaching functional voice.
The Eastern side of our work is represented by Jin Shin Jyutsu Physio-Philosophy, a Japanese healing art that draws on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic concepts.
The scientific evidence-based side of our work comes from our understanding of neural activation and the homeostatic and allostatic balance.
Understanding the Voice in the Context of the Nervous System
The brain controls the functioning of the entire body. It sends its responses to the various systems of the body via chemical (hormones, neurotransmitters etc.) and electrical messengers (the nervous system).
The Mind is a system of neurons that are constantly in used.
The autonomous nervous system has two modes: ‘fight-flight-freeze’ and ‘rest, digest and reproduce’. They function to protect and to repair the body respectively.
In ‘fight-flight-freeze’ mode, the body is primed to either take on the perceived threat, run away from it or play dead so that the threat goes away. In fight-flight-freeze,the body take big, shallow breaths so that it gets as much oxygen as possible to fight or escape a perceived threat. The body tenses in a form of ‘armouring’. Vulnerable areas such as the throat and the abdomen (which protects the viscera) are particularly susceptible to armouring. These are unfortunately, required in any form of voice work.
‘Fight-flight-freeze’ mode is meant to be temporary. The body adapts to the stress temporarily and is meant to go back to normal functioning (type A allostasis). However, the lack of mental and emotional hygiene education coupled with a busy lifestyle keeps ‘fight-flight-freeze’ activated 24/7, contributing to anxiety, depression & burnout (type B allostasis).
In ‘rest, digest and reproduce’ mode, the breathing is deep and the body is relaxed.
We actively move the body away from its protective function into its rest function before commencing voice teaching.
Neural Activation and the Voice: Better Prediction, Better Voice
We all have one side of the body we prefer. Most people are right-handed. Consequently the brain areas associated with this side of the body gain dominance over other brain areas, resulting in imbalances that affect posture as the body follows the dominant eye. When these under-used areas are activated through exercises, the brain’s predictive ability increases as its processing capability improves. The brain’s predictive ability affects the coordination of the respiratory and the phonatory system to produce sound on pitch.
Jin Shin Jyutsu Physio-Philosophy and the Voice: Moving Energy, Moving Voice
Jin Shin Jyutsu Physio-Philosophy allows us to pinpoint the physical, mental and emotional causes of disharmony manifested in the body.
Jin Shin Jyutsu Physio-Philosophy is an ancient art of harmonizing the life energy in the body.
All bodies contain several energy pathways that feed life into all the cells. When one or more of these pathways become blocked, this damming effect may cause stagnation or even pain. This blockage or stagnation will not only disrupt the local area but will continue and eventually disharmonize the complete path or paths of the energy flow.
Through Jin Shin Jyutsu, our awareness is awakened to the simple fact that we are endowed with the ability to harmonize and balance ourselves (in rhythm with the universe) physically, mentally and spiritually.
Translated literally, Jin Shin Jyutsu means:
Shin: Man of Knowing and Compassion
(‘Art of the Creator through Man of Knowing and Compassion’)
Born of innate wisdom and passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth, Jin Shin Jyutsu had fallen into relative obscurity when it was rediscovered and dramatically revised in the early 1900s by Master Jiro Murai in Japan.
According to ancient written records, which remain in the Archives of the Imperial Palace in Japan, Jin Shin Jyutsu was known before the birth of Gautama Buddha, before the birth of Moses and before the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Things- A.D 712).
After using Jin Shin Jyutsu to clear himself of life-threatening illness, Master Murai devoted the rest of his life to the research and development of Jin Shin Jyutsu. The resulting knowledge was then given to his student Mary Burmeister brought it to the USA in the 1950s where it subsequently spread to the rest of the world.
Jin Shin Jyutsu employs twenty-six “safety energy locks’ along energy pathways that feed life into our bodies. When one or more of the paths become blocked, the resulting stagnation can disrupt the local are and eventually disharmonize the complete path of energy flow. Holding these energy locks in combination can bring balance to mind, body, and spirit.
Through the process of ‘now know me’, we recognize the wisdom of the body and learn to interpret the messages provided and utilize them to restore balance in mind, body, and spirit
In Jin Shin Jyutsu, all disharmonies result from one or more Attitudes. Attitudes are mental/emotional states of Being. Chronic thought patterns create a protracted neurochemical and neuromuscular state which in turn feed back to the brain in a vicious cycle.
Jin Shin Jyutsu recognizes five Attitudes- Worry, Fear, Anger, Sadness, and Trying to/Pretense. Unlike emotions that come and go, Attitudes are entrenched bio-socio-cultural-political phenomenon which are more enduring.
These Attitudes may be harmonized by holding the finger associated with it, that is, holding the thumb for Worry, the index finger for Fear, the middle finger or Anger, the ring finger for Sadness and the little finger for Trying-to/ Pretense. When the Attitude is harmonised, the body relaxes, the breath deepens and singing is improved.
Vocalogy uses functional voice principles in teaching voice.
Grace Ng Ee Wern holds professional certification in Somatic Voicework (TM). Somatic Voicework is a organised method of training for Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) (‘Pop Music’) styles that may be used for classical singing styles as well. It was developed by New York singing coach Jeanette LoVetri, who is one of the world’s foremost researchers and teachers of functional voice.
Famous Somatic Voicework(TM) students include actors Christy Altomare (Anastasia), Sutton Foster (Anything Goes), Daniel Radcliffe, and Grammy-award winners singers Meredith Monk and Adele.
What is a functional voice?
Functional Voicework refers to how the larynx functions when producing sound. Sound should be easily produced and clear and on pitch across the whole range, in all vocal registers. Volume changes should be effortless with no cracks in the voice.
Precision-work. No cracks
The tilting of the cricoid cartilage determines the pitch. The longer the vocal fold, the higher the pitch. The shorter the vocal fold, the lower the pitch. Watch it here:
How does it work?
At the level of the larynx, functional voice looks to the balance of the thyroarytenoid/vocalis muscle and the crycothyroid muscle in the context of the particular musical project (e.g genre of music, duration of performance, type of musical theatre show performed) and in the context of the age and stamina level of the performer.
The thyro-arytenoid muscle is one of the muscles involved in the closing of the vocal folds. Vocal fold closure produces sound.
Cracking and pitch sharping occurs where there is a muscular imbalance in the crycothyroid (CT) and thyroarytenoid (TA) for that particular pitch at a particular volume.
In cracking, the CT moves too rapidly for the TA to catch up. Alternatively, too much air is forced on the vocal folds for that pitch. In order to protect the vocal folds from injury, the brain causes the note to crack.
In pitch sharping, the TA is too loose to stabilise the forward tilt of the thyroid cartilage by the CT at the desired pitch.
In pitch flatting, the TA is too tight for the CT to stretch to the desired length that corresponds with the pitch.
Because the vocal folds work in the same way in making sound in both singing and speech, we can teach all genres of singing and work on your speaking voice as well.
Book a lesson with one of our Teachers for a customised analysis.
Results. All over the world.
Our students have done consistently well in singing competitions and talent competitions in Singapore & overseas.
Competitions our students have entered, won or placed:-
- American Protege (USA): 1st and 2nd prizes. Ongoing annual participation.
- AsianArts Awards (Singapore/ASEAN): Multiple Gold Awards
- Llangollen International Music Festival (Wales), VIenna Virtuoso (Vienna), Associatione Culturale MELOS ‘Grand Prix’ (Tokyo/Rome/various locations),Brilliant Talent Development Award (Italy), Singapore Lyric Opera- ASEAN Vocal Competition (Singapore/ASEAN), B*Dazzled (Singapore), Asian Dreamerz (Singapore/ASEAN), and more.
In addition to the above, our students are regularly selected for ChildAid concerts, selected as finalists or winners in local competitions and are regularly selected as winners of New York-based American Protege International Vocal Competition where they perform in Winners Recitals are held annually in Carnegie Hall, New York.
Peak Performance. No Fear.
Ms Grace Ng uses her training as a professional clinical hypnotherapist to come up with Hypnosis Audio aids to help you function at your best.
Hypnosis is a naturally occurring phenomenon. It occurs when the person is in a focussed state of attention. The focus is so intense that other things around him/her are ignore. Some examples of this state are: driving, watching movies, reading, listening to music, watching a play. A hypnotic state also occurs naturally just before sleep.
In this state, the person is highly suggestible. The conscious mind- the part of the brain that thinks, is not activated. Suggestions go straight to the unconscious mind in a form of behavioural re-programming. However, the function of the unconscious mind is to protect the person. The subject is fully in control. He or she can refuse the suggestions given and come out of hypnosis if there is a perceived sense of threat.
Hypnosis is used by elite sports athletes for performance enhancement. It works by getting your conscious mind, the part of you that doubts and worries and fears, out of the way, and getting you to focus on what you need to do in order to succeed. Clinical hypnotherapy can be used for motivation, for relaxation, enhanced focus, positive behavioural change, positive behavioural reinforcement and for inculcating a host of other beneficial behaviour.
Check out our Music Examination Anxiety, Stage Performance Anxiety (Enhanced) and other Hypnosis audios at our Store for peak performance today!