Slipper Camp

Slipper camp is my version of a boot camp for the voice. Over one hour, in a group setting, I lead a class through my approach to vocal exercises. We begin by working on breath release, delving deeply into the parasympathetic functioning of the Autonomic Nervous System. We approach pitch as an extension of the human body not an external goal. We access resonance throughout the chest and head letting emotion and relationship fuel the opening of internal space.

Renovations: digging the mermaid

Download the full article here >>

January 2009 – learning to love foundation

Renovations: Digging the MermaidThe man I am falling in love with is a slow moving creature. It is three a.m. and we are in my kitchen dancing to some music, a little drunk and definitely wanting to fuck. Or at least I am. He is hard…and despite this obvious indication that we should be having sex, he says he is not ready. In my muddled state I feel my heart drop gently into my belly. Disappointment. But somehow he manages to tell me this without hurting my feelings or making me question his desire for me…or his virility.

I wake up the next morning and marvel at all of this. I am almost fifty and for the first time in my life I believe I am moving at a pace that is giving me much-needed time to think — and feel — my way towards making a choice about sexual engagement. This man is becoming dear to me in mysterious ways that are related to the word “no.” And he is teaching me – through his slowness – about the time it takes to build foundation.

I have always valued my ability to be fully present in the moment of lust, and to let that lead me to decision. In the immediacy of the experience I recognize and reclaim myself. Sexual impulse brings me to life. I can organize a military campaign of activity around shared passion. And I can create all the fiction necessary to pitch ‘the idea of love’ to my inner editor. But in the end neither body nor head feels intact and the drama is exhausting. How nice it is to have the option to back out before chemicals and morality do their wicked dance of entrapment.

 

1

I am a singer and what I do with the inside of my body – in order to make sound – is invisible and is not fully processed by my motor-sensory cortex. This makes it hard to feel and difficult to boss around. It is under the purview of my autonomic nervous system and unless something is wrong, this branch of the nervous system does its work without letting me in on it. So within this body I need image and emotion to get to the heart of expressing and communicating my humanity.
I teach voice, too, and do so in my home. The boundaries between the personal and professional blur as I draw on my life experience as a mother, and use the art on the walls of my living-room studio to illustrate ideas and feelings. I love passing on the cathartic and technical expertise that I have accumulated over thirty years of singing in public and while teaching at my piano. My students dream about houses as they strip themselves bare, rewiring and re-plumbing their insides in order to free their voices and build technique.
To sing from the heart, foundation is necessary. The diaphragm needs to give way into the body so that air can come in by itself. This trust within the breath allows for courage. When our base – our pelvic basin – is rigid we armour through the chest. This is a superficial stab at strength and it causes us to force in order to be heard – I call this sound brave. Courage is different. It is open and heart felt. It gives and receives. The chest softens into a sigh and the ribs counter, expanding and protecting through flexible strength.

Ruthlessness and compassion discover how to collaborate as we risk speaking the truth. Within the singing voice this ebb and flow of air, this pulsing of flesh, leads to extraordinary sound that seems to surround the singer rather than being dependent on the striving of an individual set of vocal cords. Vital, vibrant, vigorous. The body fully alive in vibration…”

 

Read the rest of this article here (PDF) >>

‘How Does It Feel’

A documentary by Lawrence Jackman

Kazumi  - How DoesI tFeel“Like many people, Kazumi was daunted by the idea of singing in public. But at 58, he has decided to use his awe-inspiring singing voice to channel his cerebral palsy (CP). As Kazumi draws from his exuberant, poignant and painful experiences, performer and teacher Fides Krucker guides him to embrace his inner artist. Kazumi’s one-man show features songs like Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of my Tears,” which take on new and unexpected meaning in this moving account of self-discovery and transformation through the power of song.”

2011, 34 min 35 s

Chiaroscuro: the Boddhisatva in the voice

“I am sitting at my piano teaching voice to a group of advanced students. They sound glorious; height and depth are present in the sound and each tone seems to be emanating from the space around them and not really coming from their mouths. This is the sweet spot: the human voice free of ego drive and full of generous invitation through balance.

'Bodhisattva' by Richard Herman

'Bodhisattva' by Richard Herman

My eyes move past the five women and focus on a painting hanging on the wall behind them. It is of the bodhisattva1 and I have had it since 1991. The painting is large – about 4 feet by 5 – and the colours are vibrant: vertical emerald green banners on either side and the bodhi sitting in the middle, many hues of red, fuchsia, maroon, rose, orange and teal. She is blurred slightly as if trying to come into focus on a TV screen from another galaxy. Her face shines a bleached-out pink and behind her neck there is a golden yellow disk – unifying head and body. Today, that disk makes more sense than ever as it illustrates the glow of sound surrounding these women.

It dawns on me that I have been calling in the bodhisattva for 20 years. That I knew nothing about her when I bought the painting from Richard Herman, that I had no understanding of the energy she was balancing on that canvas surface.
But today I am having a delightful “aha” as I feel the meaning of sattvic while hearing sattvic sound. Sattva is a Sanskrit word and its definition includes harmony, balance, joy, peace, serenity and intelligence…”

To read this article please download the PDF >>