How to vibrate your body dance
9 Best Vocal Warm-Ups for Singers
Professional singers know how physically demanding singing can be. It takes a lot of stamina and energy to sing onstage and bring the venue to life. That’s why singing, like any other physical activity, should involve a warm-up, as well as a vocal cool-down. At School of Rock, we make these vocal warm-ups a ritual, whether it’s to prepare for a singing lesson or a show rehearsal. These quick singing warm-ups can be done in just 10 to 20 minutes, and they should become an integral part of any successful practice routine.
Why do you need to warm up your voice?
We warm up our voices so we can keep them healthy, sound our best and protect against damage. Warming up your voice will allow you to sing better and extend your range comfortably. It is absolutely necessary to always warm up before singing.
9 best vocal warm-ups for singers
There are many simple vocal exercises you can use to warm up your voice, so you have a lot of options when it comes to deciding how to warm up your voice. Fortunately, School of Rock can help you narrow them down. Here are nine of the best vocal warm-ups used by our vocal instructors.
1. Yawn-sigh Technique
For this quick vocal exercise, simply yawn (take in air) with your mouth closed. Then, exhale through your nose as if you are sighing. This will help relax your voice and improve its range.
2. Humming warm-upS
Humming is one of the best vocal warm-ups because it doesn’t put a lot of strain on your vocal cords. Place the tip of your tongue behind your bottom front teeth and hum up and down the major scale while keeping your mouth closed. Each note should sound like “hmmm” — including the “h” sound is less taxing on your voice.
3. Vocal Straw Exercise
To perform the vocal straw exercise (also known as straw phonation), take a straw and hum through it. Start at the bottom of your range and slide up to the top slowly and evenly. Then, hum your favorite song through the straw. You can also place the straw in a partially full glass of liquid and blow controlled bubbles in the glass.
4. Lip buzz Vocal warm-up
As far as vocal warm-ups go, lip buzz (or lip trill, as it is sometimes called) is very simple. The goal is to make a motorboat sound by making your lips vibrate as you blow air through your mouth and nose. You can incorporate pitch slides as well.
5. Tongue trill exercise
The tongue trill vocal exercise is difficult for some singers. It involves curling your tongue and rolling your R’s as you go through your range from low to high.
6. Jaw Loosening ExerciseS
When singing, you want to drop your jaw lower than when you are just talking. With your finger, trace back along your jawline from your chin to your ear. That curved space between your jaw and your ear is where you want to drop your jaw.
Pretend you are yawning with your mouth closed and feel where your jaw drops. Avoid just dropping your chin.
7. Two-octave pitch glide Warm-Up
For this easy vocal warm-up, make an “eeee” or “ohhhh” sound and gradually glide through the chromatic notes of a two-octave range. Glide up and then back down. This will transition from your chest voice to your head voice.
8. Vocal Sirens Exercise
Much like the pitch glide, the siren exercise takes an “oooo” sound and gradually goes from the lowest note of your range to the highest and back down, like a siren for an emergency vehicle. The sound is continuous and covers the tones between the notes.
9. Vocal Slides Technique
This technique is also known as a portamento, which is Italian for “the act of carrying.” Much like the siren exercise, you slide from one note to the next in your range, but you don’t sing the in-between notes.
BREATHING TECHNIQUES FOR BETTER SINGING
Now that you've mastered a few vocal warm-ups and exercises, always remember to maintain good posture and use proper breathing techniques. Two common breathing techniques are singing from your diaphragm and exhaling on a hiss. Keep reading to learn how you can perform these to improve your singing. You can also sign-up for a trial singing lesson in-person or online at your nearest School of Rock.
1. Sing from Your Diaphragm
When singing, it is vitally important to use proper breathing techniques to avoid hurting your voice. It is most common to breathe from the chest during everyday activities, including speaking, but singing requires breathing from the diaphragm. Proper breathing gives your voice more power, more control and a fuller, more expressive tone. Sing from your diaphragm to avoid straining your voice. Your body should be relaxed and balanced, with your weight slightly forward.
What is your diaphragm?
The diaphragm is a muscle between your chest and your belly that governs how much air you inhale and exhale when you breathe. “Singing from your diaphragm” is a phrase for this important breathing technique, which describes the proper way to breathe in and out while singing.
The sound of your voice doesn’t actually come from your diaphragm, of course — sound is generated by vibrations of your vocal cords. The vibrations are caused by air being pushed out of your lungs. Your diaphragm is what controls the pushing and is responsible for putting power behind your voice.
2. Exhale on a hiss
A hissing breath exercise is a great way to start when learning how to warm up your voice before singing. This technique forces vocalists to sing from their diaphragms and improves breath control.
To master the exhale on a hiss breathing technique, it’s important to:
- Stand up straight and relax your body. This will also relax your diaphragm and release any tension that could prevent you from singing incorrectly.
- Breathe in through your mouth and count to five. As you breathe, bring the air deep into your lungs. A “singer’s breath” should not make your chest puff out or your shoulders rise — instead, your belly should expand outward.
- Exhale and count to nine. While exhaling, make a hissing noise that sounds like the first letter of the word “sizzle.” By the time you are done counting, all the air should be expelled from your lungs.
Once you build more lung capacity and get comfortable with this exercise, you can breathe in for a seven count and exhale for a 12 count.
Now that you've warmed up your voice and know how to breathe from your diaphragm and exhale on a hiss, you’re ready to sing.
How to cool down your voice after singing
After vocal warm-ups and singing, it is essential that you also cool down your voice. You can use the same vocal exercises you used during your warm-up, starting with the most intense and working down to the least intense. Simply using the humming vocal exercise will also allow your voice to cool down and relax. Following these tips will keep your voice strong and allow you to perform at your best.
Vocal warm-ups are a critical part of any singer’s practice and performance routine. These quick and easy vocal warm-ups will refine your technique, build your vocal power and control, and help expand your vocal range.
At School of Rock, our trained vocal instructors teach students all aspects of singing, including warm-ups and other vocal techniques that thousands of professional singers use every day to keep their voices in shape and sounding their best. Ready to start singing? Sign up for a singing lesson now, or read more about our perforamnce-based music programs.
Inside the Larynx - VoiceScienceWorks
Pierrot mit der Guitarre by Honoré Daumier
Have you ever played an instrument you could see? Did seeing it help you learn how to play it? Vocalists are at a huge disadvantage because they never get to see the instrument they are playing. This can lead to frustration, built up mythology and inefficient methods for creating the sounds we want to produce.
While none of the muscles inside the larynx can be felt or directly controlled, having a clear concept of how each body part works gives vocal learners and instructors direct and clear guidance when devising methods to achieve their vocal goals.
where is the larynx?
The larynx sits at the top of the trachea.
The trachea , or the windpipe, is a tube made of cartilage that allows air to travel to and from the lungs.
The vocal folds, also called vocal cords, sit inside the larynx. Their primary function is to protect the airway and make sure nothing unwanted goes down the trachea in the lungs.
what is the larynx made of?
"Stretch" Crichothyroid (CT)
"Thicken" Thyroarytenoid (TA)
"Open" Posterior Crichoarytenoid (PCA)
"Bring Together" Lateral Crichoarytenoid (LA)
"Bring Together" Interarytenoid (IA)
HoThe larynx is made of 3 main cartilages (one is paired), 1 bone, and 5 muscle groups.
The vocal folds are attached to the cartilages. The 2 main cartilages can rock and glide on top of each other to change the vocal folds' shape.
There are muscles that help bring the vocal folds together.
The vocal folds come together to
a) keep unwanted particles out of the lungs
b) stop airflow
c) phonate (i.e. make sound, speaking, singing)
There are muscles that open the vocal folds.
The vocal folds open to
a) let air in (inhalation/inspiration)
b) let air out (exhalation/expiration)
The opening and bring together muscles are antagonistic (when one activates, the other has to release). However, except in extreme cases, the opening and bring together muscles are always activated simultaneously. Their trade-off happens rapidly in a back-and-forth manner, adjusting as needed in response to breath and acoustic variables, and to our desired outcome as encouraged by the brain.
There are muscles that stretch and thin the vocal folds
In phonation, when the vocal folds stretch they
a) change the pitch created by the vocal folds
b) increase tension on the vocal folds to create higher pitches
There are muscles that shorten and thicken the vocal folds
In phonation, when the vocal folds thicken they
a) contribute to a 'heavier' sound
b) contribute to a 'louder' sound
c) decrease tension on the vocal folds to create lower pitches
The stretching and thickening muscles are antagonistic (when one activates, the other has to release). However, except in extreme cases, both the stretching and thickening muscles are always activated simultaneously. Their trade-off happens rapidly in a back-and-forth manner. This article by Soren Lowell and Brad Story explains in greater detail the uniqueness of these muscle's antagonism based on simulated trials.
Lowell, Soren Y. and Brad Story. Simulated effects of cricothyroid and thyroarytenoid muscle activation on adult-male vocal fold vibration. Journal of the Acoustic Society of America. April, 2006, pages 386-397.
Visit the Interactive Larynx site for an in-depth look at how each laryngeal muscle group moves
What's the larynx's purpose in the body?
Because protecting the airway is such an important job, the body spared no fineries in this part of biology. That's why there are multiple muscles that do the same task: bringing the vocal folds together. In case one set of muscles fails, another set can take over.
The vocal folds will also come together in tasks like lifting heavy objects, defecating, and child birth. If air is not allowed to escape past the larynx, pressure will build in the torso offering more resistance for a difficult task. This is why you may hear a grunt after an heavy lifting. This is the air is escaping in a large burst after being held below the vocal folds during the task.
The secondary function of the larynx is to create sound. Muscles in the larynx bring the vocal folds together which interrupts air escaping the lungs. The number of times they interrupt the airflow per second creates the pitch. See our page on How We Make Sound for more information.
Note that the muscles of the larynx put the vocal folds into position for vibration. They do not vibrate themselves to create the pitch.
View of larynx looking down the throat into the trachea
The vocal folds close for tasks like heavy lifting
HOw does the larynx contribute to the sound being made?
The Thickening Muscle (The TA muscle)
When the heavy muscle that shortens and thickens the vocal folds is active, a larger bulk of the folds is active in vibration.
This affects the quality of the sound.
For lower notes, the folds vibrate slower and therefore can remain shorter and thicker. For higher notes, the folds vibrate faster. It can be easier to allow just the edges of the folds to vibrate, meaning the TA Thickening Muscle will be have to be less active.
This is likely where we get language like
"let go as you get higher", "don't push the top note", "turn it over, transition early","don’t bring up the weight"
| Top view of vocal folds stretching, looking down the throat into the trachea
The Stretching Muscle (The CT muscle)
The CT muscle connects the two main cartilages that hold the vocal folds. When the CT Stretching Muscle contracts, the cartilages can rock and glide on top of each other resulting in the vocal folds lengthening, thinning, and stretching.
The amount of stretch that occurs helps change the pitch being produced.
For the vast majority of people's vocal ranges (even down into the lower part of their range), the CT stretching muscle engages more dominantly than the others. This is particularly important when considering the antagonism with the stretching and thickening muscles. Because most people speak in a limited and low pitch range, coordinating this muscle as dominant in the coordination can often be the most difficult to access in new singers, who rarely use it for speech.
Side view of the CT muscle stretching the vocal folds
Trade Off Between Muscles
The heavy thickening muscle (TA) and the stretching thinning muscle (CT) are considered antagonistic. As one increases activeness, the other must decrease.
When people experience a crack or break in the voice, it may be a result of the shortening muscle and the stretching muscle having an unbalanced trade off in muscle coordination.
However, except in extreme cases, both the stretching and thickening muscles are always activated simultaneously. Their trade-off happens rapidly in a back-and-forth manner. This article by Soren Lowell and Brad Story explains in greater detail the uniqueness of these muscle's antagonism based on simulated trials.
Lowell, Soren Y. and Brad Story. Simulated effects of cricothyroid and thyroarytenoid muscle activation on adult-male vocal fold vibration. Journal of the Acoustic Society of America. April, 2006, pages 386-397.
The vocal folds themselves are a highly specialized combination of muscle, ligament, and mucosa. The vocal ligament is of particular interest, because it is able to bear significant amounts of pressure. This is one reason why the human vocal folds are able to phonate over such a large range of notes. In the image below, the thin pink line represents the vocal ligament.
Language around laryngeal muscle interaction
When we begin to understand laryngeal muscle function, we create opportunities to speak with greater clarity about the voice. Traditional voice terminology uses terms like "head voice" and "chest voice" to describe vocal registers. Laryngeally speaking, most of what defines the difference between these two metaphors focuses on a singular event in the voice known by various labels like "break, crack, flip, etc." Everyone who has tried to glide across their range from low to high has felt this event. Without getting too deep into the weeds of the "registration" discussion (see more on our Vocal Registers? page), when we choose to view the voice as a wider collection of events than just the one "break", new opportunities open up.
To discuss the differences in laryngeal activity in ways that don't depend upon the "break", we like to use terminology that focuses on muscle engagement and interaction. For example, when a sound has more harmonics overall (described as brighter, bigger, heavier, etc.), more of the muscle mass of the vocal folds is in contact. By contrast, when a sound has fewer harmonics overall (described as warmer, richer, pure, etc. ) less of the muscle mass of the vocal folds is in contact. In this configuration, they might even be in a ligament-dominant posture, meaning that the thickening muscle isn't touching at all. The benefit of describing laryngeal muscle interaction with this kind of language is that it provides two points of distinct information that align with science and are visible in a spectrogram such that a vocalist can see them in addition to hearing them.
Other actions of the vocal folds can be described in similar ways. We've found that when we allow our more metaphoric/less specific language to recede from our vocabulary and be replaced by specific language, learning increases at a rapid pace, and future confusion tends to be replaced by exciting questions.
Here are some of the events and language that we use
Muscle mass variations
The amount of the vocal folds that touch during vocal fold vibration impacts the energy in the harmonics produced. When more muscle mass touches during vibration, all harmonics have more energy, when less touches, all harmonics have less energy.
We like to use our hands to demonstrate this, showing the palms and fingers in vibration for the full muscle mass, and fewer fingers for less muscle mass, flipping to the first fingers alone for a ligament-dominant position.
When the thickening muscles (TA) touch during vibration, they assumes the bulk of the strain on the vocal folds. When the thickening muscles (TA) do not touch in vibration, that is, when the folds are on their edges, the vocal ligament assumes the bulk of the strain on the vocal folds.
Three important elements to remember:
1) The stretchy (CT) and thickening (TA) muscles are always both in use, and in a constant, rapidly-changing dance with one another. There isn't a moment when one stops and the other starts (except in certain range extremes). There is, however, a moment when the thickening (TA) muscles no longer touch one another, and therefore are no longer in vibration.
2) There are countless variations of how the thickening muscle (TA) can be in vibration. When the full muscle mass touches during vocal fold vibration, for example, vocalists create the greatest amount of harmonic output. If that outcome is desirable, knowing how it feels and sounds will be important for recreating it. The same can be said of any muscle mass configuration.
3) Without the most sophisticated equipment, a vocalist can't be sure of exactly how much muscle mass is in vibration. We use our ears and understanding of the instrument to get a general idea of muscle use. The brain's need to narrow potential options often leads people to create two or three metaphors to describe what is actually endless varitety (head, chest, and mix, for example). Finding ways to create clarity in your thinking, and measurable repetition can be delightful explorations.
Opening and Bring Together Muscles
The interplay between the opening (PCA) and bring together (LCA and IA) muscles can influence sound output in significant ways. The engagement of these muscles often depends upon how acoustic back pressure aligns with breath pressure from below (see our Acoustic Strategies page, scroll down to "inertance"). When acoustic alignment is not sufficient to meet breath pressure demands, the bring together muscles (LCA and IA) further engage to ensure continued phonation. This can often result in a "pressed" sound. If the bring together muscles (LCA and IA) respond slowly, or without focus, a "breathy" sound can result. Like the stretchy (CT) and thickening (TA) muscle interaction, there are countless variations in the rapid dance that the opening (PCA) and bring together (LCA and IA) muscles engage in, and each of these variations creates potential for artistic exploration.
Johan Sundberg in The Science of the Singing Voice, uses the terms "breathy", "pressed", and "flow" to describe three potential postures of the opening (PCA) and bring together (LCA and IA) muscles. Breathy and pressed are described above. "Flow" phonation generally describes a posture wherein acoustic back pressure and breath pressure are more equalized, allowing the opening (PCA) and bring together (PCA and IA) muscles to interact with greater ease. (Sundberg, Johan. The Science of the singing Voice. Northern Illinois University press, 1987, pg 79-85).
Maximum Flow Declination Rate
How quickly the vocal folds come together adds another important element to the overall discussion. The scientific measurement for this element is the "maximum flow declination rate." Simply put, it means the rate at which the flow of air from the beneath the vocal folds stops. For simple shorthand, you can refer to it as the "closing rate". Remember that each time the vocal folds are in full contact, the air flow ceases for that moment. This "full closure" moment is essential for creating sound. How quickly that air flow cessation occurs influences energy in the harmonic output. If the folds come together very quickly, all of the harmonics have increased energy. If the folds come together more slowly, the harmonics have less energy. Hearing the maximum flow declination rate (MFDR or "closing rate") as an unique contribution to sound can be difficult. Like laryngeal muscle interaction, it's impossible to assess specifically without sophisticated equipment. Software like VoxInSilico and Voce Vista's EGG capacity create distinct visual assessments to measure the "closing rate." Being aware of its important contribution, however, can open the ears to new variables in the overall sound, and lead to new language choices. Acoustic choices like increased "twang" can lead to increased MFDR (see Acoustic Strategies for more)
MFDR measures are an important aspect of the research that Lowell and Story explored: Lowell, Soren Y. and Brad Story. Simulated effects of cricothyroid and thyroarytenoid muscle activation on adult-male vocal fold vibration. Journal of the Acoustic Society of America. April, 2006, pages 386-397.
As mentioned above, the interaction between a muscle-dominant vocal fold posture and ligament-dominant vocal fold posture can sometimes feel like a singular event. This transition can be one in which the strain on the vocal folds transfers directly from the thickening muscle (TA) to the vocal ligament, but, it can also be more gradual. When the dance between the stretchy (CT) and thickening (TA) muscles meets an abrupt transition such that the amount of vocal fold mass leaps from a muscle dominant posture to a ligament dominant posture, the entire mechanism (breath pressure, vocal fold mass, and acoustics) destabilizes for a moment, creating an auditory "break" in the sound, and a sharp physical and emotional response. We choose to see this event as a part of the mechanism as a whole, rather than defining vocalization by it. There are many physical and acoustic approaches to helping the stretchy (CT) and thickening (TA) muscles learn to coordinate smoothly. By contrast, some styles like yodeling require that this event be emphasized. Psychological attention to allowing this transition to be an acceptable part of the process can often be as important.
Remember that the vocal folds are highly complex structures, and we can't feel them. Learning to track sensations that accompany the many and varied vocal fold adjustments can be a tricky business, but can also lead to some distinctly reliable information. The transition moment can occur at many points across the vocal range, sometimes by choice, and sometimes without intention. Learning to navigate this event can be an important part of voice training.
*Ingo Titze defines the interplay between stretchy (CT) and thickening (TA) muscles as such: "The thyroarytenoid (TA) muscle, which is known to be active in modal register [mode 1], bulges the vocal fold medially below the level of the vocal processes [where the vocal folds connect to the arytenoid cartilages]. This creates a thicker and deeper vibrating structure. In falsetto register [mode 2]...the ligament is called upon to support the longitudinal tension. In modal register [mode 1], the entire cover (including the ligament) is lax and the TA muscle is used to regulate the effective tension of the vocal fold." (Titze, Ingo R. Principles of Voice Production, page 291.)
For more information on acoustic contributions to register changes, see our Acoustic Strategies page.
In this video, a male singer glides from low in his range, beginning in mode 1, until his vocal folds flip into mode 2. Notice how the folds begin quite wide and loose and then lengthen and become more stiff across the glide, showing increased stretchy muscle (CT) activity. When the folds flip into mode 2, you can see more space between the folds, and a general thinning in the folds. Try watching without sound, and see if you can notice the moment when the change occurs.
Amount of Vocal Fold Closure (Adduction)
4 out of the 5 muscle groups in the larynx are in charge of closing the vocal folds. The amount of closure that occurs is called adduction.
If the folds are less adducted - more air escapes, the sound may be percieved as "breathy".
The more adduction the folds have, the more upper harmonics will be present in the sound. See our Harmonics vs. Formants page for more information.
exercises that focus on coordinating laryngeal muscles
what you might hear
The sound is pressed, forced, tight
what might be happening at the level of the larynx
The heavy muscle (TA muscle) may be too active and the vocal folds may be squeezing together excessively
vocal exercises to try
Lip trill with just air and then go into a lip trill with sound behind it. Notice the moment when air turns to sound. Is it forceful or easy?
Read a sentence out loud as if telling a story to a child
The sound is breathy, weak, airy
The muscle groups in charge of closing the vocal folds are not active enough, extra air is escaping through the glottis
The back pressure of nasal consonants and straw phonation can encourage the vocal folds to come together
The voice breaks or cracks, a giant shift occurs when going from low notes to high notes
The trade off between the stretching and the thickening muscle may be unbalanced.
Slow slides on a lip trill, hum or through a straw
Think about the highest note in the phrase as you breathe in before singing. Early preparation and early transitioning can encourage a less sudden shift in muscle trade off.
High notes feel difficult, a feeling of reaching or pushing occurs when going up in the range
The stretching thinning muscle may not be active enough. If the folds are allowed to stretch and vibrate on their edges, high notes may feel easier.
- Singing and speaking involve muscle coordination. Just like other athletic activities, these muscles can be trained for optimal coordination and fatigue resistance.
- Warm ups and exercises can be designed to target specific muscle groups.
- Unlike some athletic activities, training the muscles involved in singing requires coordination rather than strength. Having a bulked up crico-arytenoid (CT) would probably not be beneficial if the neural pathways to coordinate its movement were not in place.
- The muscles inside the larynx cannot be felt and cannot be directly controlled. The muscular sensations you might feel during phonation are probably in the jaw, tongue, neck and pharynx. Visit our Jaw, Tongue & Neck and Vocal Tract pages for more information.
- The transition between mode 1 and mode 2 is a singular event that can occur in many parts of the range. Vocalists can learn to control when that transition occurs.
Disclaimer: We have tried to give credit to all of the images that we've used that are not our own, or believe them to be in public domain.
If you see something that is yours that you feel is being used without proper permission, please let us know and we will gladly credit you or remove it. Thanks for your help!
The dancer and the mirror
What does a dancer do if he wants to look good? He looks in the mirror. The mirror tells how good what you do. In the mirror you see yourself from the outside.
Are there other ways to look at yourself from the outside? You can focus on your body. What to look for? Move your hand through the air without thinking about what you are doing. It is unlikely that you felt the essence of the movement. Now tighten your muscles, stretch. Do you feel how suddenly your arms, legs, feet, your whole body became "visible"? Move, feeling how the tissues of the body tense and stretch. If for a moment you suddenly stop "seeing", concentrate on the muscle, on the joint, set the increase in attention to the maximum, up to distinguishing a micron, and the vision of the body will return to you. Welcome to the new world! nine0003
Feeling all muscle contractions and joint movements allows you to create a "mirror" suitable for reflecting your every physical action. And in order to look in such a mirror, it is not necessary to move excessively, as many people think.
Other options? Each part of the body is not just one muscle, and each part of the body has its own mass. Scientifically speaking, one or another part of the body can be made to oscillate, to create vibrations. My favorite example is the Brazilian samba movements. Another example is Cuban pelvic movements. Belly dance. Corte in Argentine tango. Vibration movements can be very complex or very simple, but they are all incredibly easy to perceive with your new vision and give the performer, if he does them correctly, great pleasure. And to do them correctly, you just need to learn how to synchronize the movements of body parts. Of course, this requires the development of additional muscles. The mechanism of movements-vibrations is as follows: first, energy accumulates in one place, and splashes out in another, then vice versa, and so on. nine0003
As soon as the performer learns to do these movements correctly, they begin to come very easily to him. In fact, they require almost no power. This situation is called "resonance". Any resonance has one very important feature - the presence of one or more "resonant frequencies" - these frequencies determine how intensively you need to move so that movement brings bodily pleasure. A little faster, a little slower... that's it! The resonant frequency is set. Now we need to support her. When a movement is performed with ease, it is a sign that it is performed correctly. The movement-vibration should be very simple, as it really is. nine0003
If you slightly move the center of vibration, change the strength of the tension of the muscles involved in the movement, the "resonant frequency" will also respond with a change. This is another way to manage it. To change not the rhythm, but the mechanical parameters of the action. Because varying the parameters changes the theoretical "resonant frequency," you can literally turn one movement-vibration into another. And you can bring all sorts of other “things” into motion. If they are synchronous, they create diversity. This is how dance is born. nine0003
The phenomenon of resonance has one remarkable feature. If you perform a rhythmic movement with one part of the body, another part that has the same "resonant frequency" responds, starts to vibrate. Therefore, the main thing is to find the right rhythm, the right muscle tension and the geometric structure of the movement ...
Here we need to say a few words about, scientifically speaking, a decrease in the amplitude of oscillations. In order for one part of the body to resonate safely with another, it is necessary that the trajectory of the transmission of vibrations is not interrupted. The best conductors, as we know, are solid bodies, so your arms, legs, stomach, your whole body should not relax completely - it needs to be, as I would put it, alert, alert. Let your body become a string! In the harmoniously moving body of the furnace, the toe of the foot is transmitted through the chest to the body of the partner! nine0003
What happens when you suddenly stop moving? Anything involving vibration? All muscles, bones and organs of the area that is involved in the movement react to the interruption. This is because muscles, bones, and organs have mass and are connected to each other. Each cell individually and all together begin to vibrate, and you feel it!
The art of dancing is the art of making every part of your body visible to you, vibrating and resonating. Your body in the dance becomes an orchestra of powerful instruments, sounding for one listener - for you. nine0003
Now let's talk about the pair dance. There are two ways to dance it. The first is when there is no strong physical connection between you and your partner. The man dances by himself, the woman dances by herself. It becomes a "super oscillator". A man uses the possibilities of controlling it, changes its kinematic and dynamic parameters and, if necessary, provides it with additional energy.
The second way (in open and closed positions) creates a strong connection between partners. You establish a "transmission channel" and get the opportunity to listen to the orchestra playing inside your partner. When I dance, I see every cell of my partner's body that she wants to show me, using the power of the art of her body orchestra. Having established such a connection, you must combine your orchestra with a partner's orchestra. For both you and your partner to enjoy, your orchestras must sound in unison. nine0003
And even more. By establishing a strong connection, you create new sources of vibration (and if you have a vibration in the car, you need to buy Hyundai hd 72 parts and eliminate this source). You create new instruments! There are many more of them in two bodies than in one.
That's why I love Argentine tango. This is the only dance I know of that is dedicated to the art of body alignment, allowing you to listen to the dance inside your partner and create a complex unified orchestra.
If you're not already good at dancing, you need a mirror to guide what you're doing. When you have succeeded in dancing, you learn to look not in the mirror, but inside your body. When you dance in a couple, everything that you do is reflected in the partner's body, everything finds its resonance there. Your partner becomes your mirror. You look at your partner and see your reflection. And that's great. Yes, it's wonderful.
The mirror must be smooth. First of all, pay attention to the surface - the connection should be smooth, perfect, never rough. Ideal conditions must exist for signal transmission without loss of information and energy. The points and surfaces of the connection must fit tightly together, but without pressure. If they are not fully connected to each other, very fast and short movements will not be possible, they will disappear into voids. This is pure physics - high-frequency signals are scattered due to the smallest gap. “Information noise” appears: you don’t understand whether you received a signal from a partner or just your forehead crashed into him. Remember, the connection must be strong! Where can connection points be located? Anywhere - hands, chest, cheeks, forearms, stomach, forehead, fingers, feet, hips - at your discretion! nine0003
An ideal connection is already a mirror. Thanks to the natural inertia and elasticity of the body, you can see yourself in the mirror of your partner. All our miniature movements, all micropowers that are imperceptible to us, become visible to us in our partner. And we understand that a mirror is not just a mirror! This is a magnifying glass.
But a perfect surface is not enough. She must reflect. And it is desirable to reflect accurately. Only then does it shine, play with all the colors of the rainbow, ultraviolet. You find your counterpart, which merges with you, reacts to your actions and returns to you the light you exude. Each single impulse that you produce creates an avalanche of vibrations, oscillations, emotions in your partner and between the two of you. And then ... listen, take a closer look. Feel how it affects your bodies. You stop, but the dance continues to resonate with you. It is indescribable, it is understandable only to those who have tasted it. nine0003
And the dance continues. The great evening flow of the improvised symphony of the united orchestra…
Butoh dance as a method of psychosomatic research.Toshiharu Kasai
The Butoh dance, analyzed by T. Kasai as a method of psychosomatic exploration and integration, is described in this paper along with examples of practical exercises of the Noguchi Taiso system and elements of body practices from Takeuchi's classes. The author has used Butoh's method for psychological practice also in Russia and Ukraine, and has noticed a significant need to use this method along with Western psychosomatic systems. This paper describes the content of the Buto method and gives a sequence of exercises to prepare for it. Examples of work with specific parts of the body show the practical effects of the method, the purpose of which is to expand our understanding of the relationship between body and mind, and also to draw attention to the fact that the Butoh dance offers an alternative approach to the idea of holistic self-realization. nine0003
1. Psychosomatic approach in Japan
In the West, there are many ideas and methods for integrating body and mind: the Alexander technique, sensory awareness, Gestalt therapy, bioenergetics, the Feldenkrais method. All these systems are also presented in Japan. J.P. Plummer described and compared these techniques and methods of psychosomatic therapy in detail in terms of body shaping and muscle imbalance. J. Nicholls and S. Carey compared the Alexander technique with more than 20 different psychosomatic approaches, classifying them in terms of depth psychology, bodywork and Western esotericism. nine0047 The Butoh method described in this article was influenced by two psychosomatic systems: one of them was created by M. Noguchi, the other by T. Takeuchi. Both of these systems are little known outside of Japan. Perhaps the basic understanding of the connections between body and mind in Noguchi and Takeuchi's systems is too different from the rather mechanistic Western image of the body-consciousness, so it is difficult for a Western person to understand their basic ideas. On closer examination, they are similar to the ideas of Western systems, and yet they seem to remain a mystery outside of Japan. nine0047 Noguchi compares the physical movements of the body with the structures of Japanese ideograms.
Takeuchi uses the term "karada-to-kotoba", i.e. "body-word as a single being", and never splits it into two - like Martin Buber's philosophical term "I-thou", i.e. inseparable unity "I - you". .
The physical exercises of the Noguchi Taiso system were first created by Michizo Noguchi in the 1970s, independently of Western methods, and have been adopted and used as an effective training system for actors and dancers who need relaxation of body and mind, movement without unnecessary tension in order to work. nine0047 The basic idea of the Noguchi Taiso system is that our body is not a skeleton with muscles and flesh, but something like a bag of water, inside of which bones and entrails float. Noguchi also emphasizes body weight, saying, "listen to the god of gravity," and considers movements with minimal muscle tension and instantaneous release of that tension to be the most effective.
He writes that “muscles do not exist to resist or control gravity. Muscles are ears for attention to the words of the God of Attraction. “Noguchi Taiso does not restrict movement patterns, does not name movements according to the shape of the body, does not predetermine the purpose or meaning of movement…”
Toshiharu Takeuchi, one of the famous theater directors, started his drama classes known as Takeuchi Lessons in the 1970s using the Noguchi Taiso system. He was able to integrate this system into his ongoing study of how a deaf person might pronounce words.
In 1983, he attended the Carl Rogers Creative Lab in Tokyo, organized by the Japan Association for Humanistic Psychology, and made public his profound discoveries about the relationship between body and mind. In the field of humanistic psychology, this was one of the most important turning points regarding the topic of connections between mind and body. The author of this article also attended this workshop and had the opportunity to experience the effects of Takeuchi's school. One of Takeuchi's basic exercises, called "Ude no burasage" - arm relaxation - is a simple relaxation task. One participant relaxes their arm while the other slowly raises and lowers it. It was a shocking discovery for the author to find that his hand unconsciously helps to lift it and does not fall, even when it is completely released. nine0047 The results of a psychological study confirmed that 80 - 90% of people cannot release the tension in the hand when doing this exercise. Since then, the author of this article has been studying the connections between the body and mind through relaxation and stress relief, and has been practicing the Butoh dance in order to confirm theoretical concepts in practice.
2. Butoh Dance
Butoh Dance is an avant-garde Japanese dance style founded by Tatsumi Hijikata in the 1960s. It was a radical style of dance called "Ankoku Butoh - Dance of Darkness" and performed by naked dancers painted white. At the time, the Butoh dance looked shocking and eccentric, even in Japan, and retains its original aggressive momentum to this day. nine0047 Kanoko Hata, a Japanese Butoh dancer famous in Southeast Asia, writes:
— In contrast to the basic concept of “how to stand” offered by other styles of dance, Butoh dance, according to T. Hijikata, is based on an unstable body position - on such a body that cannot be made to stand by force of will, or an uncontrollable body that cannot be controlled by intention...
- The Basics of Butoh are: 1) keeping the body's center of gravity low, through the use of the Japanese bodily character "ganimata" - crooked, bent legs ; 2) extract gestures and postures buried in the darkness of history and release them through naked white bodies; 3) dance in a perverted, anomalous style. nine0047 The definition of Butoh may differ between Butoh dancers, but this definition reflects his basic ideas. One of the interesting things here is highlighting the aspect of "archaeology of the body": digging up what is buried deep in the body. Something that looks unique compared to other dance styles.
Here are a few more aspects of the Butoh dance: 1) Butoh dancers never aim to perform high jumps or fast spins, as is customary in ballet; 2) in the hall where Butoh is practiced, mirrors are covered with a cloth to avoid visual perception of the body; 3) dancers pay much attention to breathing, bodily impulses and subtle reactions of internal organs; 4) For basic training, they use some Noguchi Taiso exercises. nine0047 Although the Butoh dance is a dance, it is not limited by the usual definitions of dance, especially Western ideas of dance with rhythmic and physically dynamic movements. In Butoh, the dancer can afford to stand still, or roll on the ground - if the need arises in his body.
Despite the fact that the Butoh dance has been recognized in world art as an exotic form of performance, its therapeutic effect on the unity of the body and mind is little known outside of Japan. In Japan, some Butoh dancers even give Butoh dance lessons in mental hospitals, and psychological research shows an improvement in the efficiency of the patient's recovery process. nine0047 This suggests that although Butoh is a dance art for performing in front of an audience, Butoh's technique is much more about what goes on inside the dancer's body and mind than how their body looks in front of the audience. Even when performing choreographic movements while performing on stage, in the Butoh dance, the continuous internal process of interaction between the body and consciousness is always the most significant.
Having practiced the Butoh dance since 1988, the author of the article found that this dance and the method of teaching it can be used for psychosomatic exploration and integration, as Butoh allows a person to experience their own naturally occurring emotions: anger, depression, grief, fear, joy, etc. Suppressed emotions that are unacceptable to show in social settings, Butoh allows you to show through physical spontaneous reactions: spasms, uncontrollable twitches, tremors, facial and body distortions, falling to the floor, stamping your feet, rolling on the floor, etc.
Butoh also provides an opportunity for our aesthetic and spiritual senses to come to the surface from forgotten, repressed layers of consciousness, and this is often a soul cleansing experience. The Butoh dance is often followed by deep relaxation and spiritual calm, as during meditation.
In dance therapy there is a term "meditative dance" and sometimes Butoh looks like an example of such a dance. True, in Buto it is impossible to maintain meditative silence all the time - in our minds and bodies there are many explosive impulses that can make the dance very aggressive. Because of this unambiguous quality, a well-executed Butoh dance sometimes shocks the audience and even the dancer himself. nine0047 Butoh dance as a method of psychosomatic research has several advantages: 1) Butoh is suitable for perceiving the subtle relationship between conscious intention and unconscious reaction; 2) artificially induced emotional reactions sometimes reveal much deeper reactions of the body; 3) by practicing such a movement, a person receives relief and healing through dance; 4) the dancer always has the opportunity to adjust the level of physical and emotional tension in accordance with his condition. nine0047 Because the Butoh dance can be a challenge to penetrate into the deep, existential layers of the human essence, in the preparation phase it is extremely important to achieve relaxation and flexibility of reactions. For example, peaceful stillness and spontaneous laughter that appear after Takeuchi's exercises are indicators of readiness to take a step towards the unity of mind and body.
From here follow two stages, which include the Butoh dance as a method of psychosomatic research: the stage of relaxation and the stage of movement. nine0003
3. The Butoh Method
A. The Relaxation Stage
The following are some of the characteristic exercises from the Noguchi Taiso and Takeuchi Lessons systems, partly modified for use as preparatory exercises for the Butoh dance. Exercises are mainly performed in pairs, the roles of partners in pairs alternate. Each partner, having gained experience in the exercise, after changing roles becomes a helping partner. Role reversal means that the exercise is a case of mutual learning, showing the interdependence of body and mind responses, as well as individual differences. nine0003
"Ude-burasage" exercise: relaxing the arm
It is often used as the first exercise in Takeuchi's Lessons. The exercise gives participants the opportunity to: 1) feel the tension in their hand; 2) touch the hand of another person; 3) feel the tension in the partner's hand; 4) to realize that it is not easy to let go of tension in the hand, and sometimes uncontrollable reactions occur; 5) laugh when you find that the partner's hand does not fall, even if it is released; 6) relax after the exercise, enjoying sharing the experience with other participants in the group. This format is usually followed by pleasurable physical exercises to warm up the participants' bodies and the atmosphere in the group. nine0003
Exercise Karada-Hogushi: relaxation of the body
The exercise looks like a massage: one partner lies on the floor, the other gently shakes his hand. But the purpose of this rocking is not to massage or stretch the muscles and tendons, but to give the partner a feeling of passive movement and the opportunity to observe what is happening with his body-consciousness. Massage is usually aimed at the muscles and tendons, and here the goal is to turn off the protective installations in the mind and body of a person, by giving the person some time to perceive his own body-consciousness. nine0047 In Takeuchi's Lessons, this type of exercise is very developed. Separate work is done with the arms, head, neck, legs, etc. The procedure is simple, but the most important point is the position of both partners in relation to the exercise. Each of the partners must open up and try to perceive what is happening inside and outside of his body-consciousness, as well as in the body and mind of the partner.
The interdependence of partners is often evident when the passive partner gets stressed out by the active partner's anxiety or tension. If touch is perceived as a frightening intrusion into the body-consciousness, the reasons for this need to be discussed for this couple. Body work may not be suitable or effective for people with mental illness, although there have been no serious problems with relaxation exercises. nine0047 The Hogushi arm relaxation exercise consists of tests of the elbow, shoulder and wrist: while one partner is lying down, the other takes his hand and raises it slightly, leaving the elbow on the floor. Then he releases his arm, checking for tension in the elbow.
It is surprising to find that this simple exercise proves difficult for most people doing it for the first time. Sometimes the Hand remains fixed, or twitches unconsciously. If there is tension, the helping partner feels it and talks about it. After a few attempts, most people get used to letting go of the elbow tension, but 10-20% of people continue to hold the tension and repeat clumsy reactions. nine0047 The assisting partner then raises the arm higher so that the elbow is off the floor and releases the arm again, this time to check for tension in the shoulder. Usually the shoulder reacts like a robot, with excessive tension. The task of the helping partner is to tell when and what part of the arm or shoulder is tense, and to give the partner the opportunity to feel what is happening in his arm and shoulder. From time to time, performing deceptive actions of supposedly raising or lowering the shoulder, you can explore the reflex reactions in the partner's shoulder muscles. nine0047 Because the wrist is lighter in weight than the whole arm, testing the wrist should be slower than testing the elbow or shoulder. You need to **put your hand on the floor with the inside of your palm up**, raise your forearm and place it vertically on your elbow, wrist bent back. When bending the arm at the elbow in the direction of the shoulder, the wrist falls in the direction of palm flexion. The exercise is called "cat's paw". In most cases, a person cannot wait to reach the point of the fall of the wrist, and involuntarily bends it. nine0047 After checking the release of tension in one hand, the second is checked.
Leg and head relaxation exercises are the same as with the arm. The important points of Hogushi's classes are 1) to make movements slowly so that the partner can feel unconscious reactions clearly; 2) show him where and when tension arises; 3) confuse him with deceptive movements and cause unconscious twitches in order to detect reflex reactions; 4) pay attention and give importance to stressful reactions, because they may be associated with psychological or physical trauma; 5) create an atmosphere of warmth and support during the exercise, because they are aimed at relaxing and calming the body and mind. nine0047 After working with the three parts of the body, the partners in the pair change roles.
Although the exercise is not a massage, often after the cycles of tension-relaxation, people feel a deep relaxation of the body and mind, and sometimes the partner falls asleep during the exercise. Because falling asleep is not the goal of the exercise, the second partner should ask the sleeper if he prefers to sleep or study.
Some advice for those who can't let go of tension: it's not necessary to try to let it go with intention, because diligent attempts unwittingly cause additional tension. Paying close attention to this part of the body is much more important than being obsessed with the idea of trying to relax. The relaxation phenomenon happens on its own, after the transfer of control to the level of the unconscious. nine0003
Nenyoro Body Wave Exercise
Noguchi's concept of the body differs from the conventional, mechanistic or anatomical understanding of the body: "The human body is like a bag of water in which bones, muscles and entrails float." The Nenyoro exercise is an opportunity to feel it.
One of the partners takes the ankles of the second partner lying on the floor with both hands and swings both legs together in a horizontal direction, creating waves from legs to head through the entire body. You can change the speed and rhythm of the wave, observing the reaction of the body to changes. The lying partner may discover that the body is not a solid object, but a soft container of liquid. nine0003
After relaxation exercises, the state of consciousness usually becomes deeper than the usual level - this is the state of mental readiness for motor exercises. Breathing techniques and exercises are sometimes used to speed up the diving process. Psychologists have noticed that it is this state of mind and body that helps with mental frustrations and conflicts - for example, it is used in autogenic training.
B. Driving stage
There are two types of Butoh dance - one is used to perform in front of an audience as performance art (conventionally called "Butoh level 2"), the other is intended only for the dancer himself and is performed when other people do not see him (Butoh level one). The last of these is the dance for psychosomatic exploration, and the description below refers specifically to this type of Butoh dance. Some movements may be similar to Noguchi Taiso or relaxation exercises, but their meaning and attitude to them change - ordinary exercises turn into Butoh movements. nine0047 In the process of performing the exercises described below, sometimes something different happens than can be expected within the given body movements. You must accept that your bodily reactions may take you from the state you were in to some unpredictable area. It is not necessary to be in a state of trance, but it is desirable to maintain the state of released control of consciousness over the body - so that uncontrolled reactions easily come to the surface.
As long as the reactions of the body guide you and you are able to go into unfamiliar movements without fear, these exercises are not dangerous for you. Accordingly, the decision whether to stop or continue depends on the person doing the exercise. nine0047 In the autogenic relaxation training technique founded by J.H. Schultz, involuntary reactions are called autogenous release. In dance therapy, spontaneous movements that occur uncontrollably are often referred to as "authentic movement" and are supposed to be avoided in cases of mental disorders and disturbances. But since the practice of Butoh is a challenge to travel into the realm of the unconscious, the ability to travel to and from that realm is a must. For gradual progress in this direction, it is usually sufficient to consistently, carefully perform all of the above steps. nine0047 These exercises can serve as a key to the state of mind and body described above. They do not have to be mastered perfectly, but this is the starting point of "Level 1 Butoh".
Intentional contortion of body parts sometimes causes a reaction of further distortions, fixations or thrusts in the face, arms, trunk, back, legs, etc. ... Since movement of this type is not found or supported in other body-oriented systems, curvature of the body can be considered a characteristic of Buto, which just shows the dark side, the suppressed phenomena of our consciousness and body. The writhing of the face, which at first seems ridiculous, can turn into muscle vibrations, a tic, then causing a chain reaction of contortions in other parts of the body. Sometimes it is necessary to let go of some twisted parts in order to move on to bending others. nine0003
Vibrations and Waves
When you stand with your legs bent (a position often used in bioenergetics), vibrations and waves naturally occur in your knees and hips and travel throughout your body. At first, it is difficult to maintain vibration for a long time - the muscles begin to fix.
Body vibrations are performed only after relaxation exercises. Sometimes the vibration provokes more violent reactions - startling, non-directional jumping, leg jerking, etc., which lead to the "Butoh level 1" stage of movement. nine0047 To implement vibrations, as well as to avoid traumatic movements, it is necessary to increase the flexibility of the body.
Breathing patterns always affect the state of mind and body. Stanislav Grof noticed that any meditation system includes a change in the breathing pattern: long inhalations and exhalations make you calm and balanced, and short and fast breathing (such as increased breathing in S. Grof's holotropic therapy) can even lead to loss of consciousness. Since we usually suppress deep breathing, even just taking deeper breaths is already the first step towards the Butoh dance with unpredictable bodily reactions. nine0003
There are a few basic sequences and movement patterns in the Level 2 Butoh dance, but since they were designed and choreographed for stage performance, they are not as important for the body-psychological exploration described here. The conscious intention to move body parts usually causes the body to move according to plan.
In the Butoh dance, impulses to change movement or positions are usually caused by natural unexpected stimuli - external sounds, light, temperature, internal sensations, pain, itching, etc. What matters here is not so much the movement that has taken place as the state of mind and body that invites and makes possible such sudden changes in body position. The state of consciousness and the movement of the body cyclically stimulate each other and replace each other, making cycles or spirals of change. nine0047 In ordinary dance classes, mental images are sometimes used, trying to direct the body to move in these images. If this practice keeps your mind focused and you move within the given images, you may even be tempted to look in the mirror and see if your movements match the images. Such movements are the product of your thoughts, this is not a Butoh dance, but an intentional behavior guided by images. Visual imagination can only be used for the initial impulse of movement. nine0047 The simplest exercise for Level 1 Butoh is any repetitive movement. When a particular movement pattern is performed many times, the initial impulse descends from the conscious level to a deeper, unconscious level. Unexpected changes in movement appear, provoked by internal causes, and this process leads you into an unknown - at least unplanned - area of the body-consciousness. Vibration, breathing, and curvature of the body are key components of the process of body-psychological exploration and change. nine0003
Butoh dance for stage performance purposes is not discussed here, but it should still be added that the fact that other people are watching the person dancing is very important, even when it is a “Level 1 Butoh dance”, i.e. dance for yourself. Human beings born and raised among humans are social beings, and the presence of other humans is a significant stimulant that affects the situation in the mind and body, and affects the dance.
Therefore, a dancer who practices only for himself, alone with himself, soon notices that during the solitary practice of Butoh, his degree of feeling of loneliness greatly increases. However, the experience of a deep sense of loneliness is necessary for the dancer to realize one irrefutable fact: at a deep level of consciousness, soul, spirit, body, etc. All people are connected. nine0047 This is not a religious feeling or belief - this is a natural experience that a lonely dancer has when he notices that his dance really changes from the presence of observers - regardless of whether they are visibly present at the moment.