Origins of Somatic Voicework™

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Singers who perform roles in shows such as Rent or are in rock bands, gospel groups, or who sing jazz, country, folk or other music, all place different demands upon their voices, although there are some similarities from group to group and from artist to artist. In order to address what the voice is doing and understand how that is different from what the voice is, it is necessary to understand vocal function, that is, what happens when we make various types of vocal sound. This has, objectively, very little to do with musical taste or criteria, at least at the outset.

Until the profession is able to separate the difference between classical vocal training and functional vocal training, the world of vocal pedagogy will remain confused. One can train the human instrument to utilize all of its capacities for speech or song without ever singing an Italian art song or a piece by Schubert. They, actually, have nothing at all to do with each other. If one is studying music, it is possible to develop stylistic skills in a wide variety of material, in one’s native language or any other.

Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method

For all of the above reasons, I began to develop an integrated method of singing training in both classical and CCM styles simultaneously. Although I was told repeatedly that this was not possible, and perhaps even “dangerous”, I refused to believe that, knowing that the human body is an amazing thing. I worked, alone, to maintain my classical singing, and ventured into other styles, always with the idea of “seeing what would happen”. I continued my exploration of bodywork in various disciplines, of healing modalities of all kinds, of musical and acting training, and of music theater (all styles) and classical repertoire. I continued to attend the Voice Foundation Symposium: Care of the Professional Voice every year in Philadelphia, read articles and was invited there to interact with doctors, speech language pathologists and researchers. I continued to teach, and after more than three decades of experience, I was invited by Shenandoah Conservatory, in Winchester, Virginia, to turn what I knew into a course for teachers who were looking for guidance in working with “non-classical” styles. That course became the Contemporary Commercial Vocal Pedagogy Institute, and is currently in its eleventh successful year. I called my work SVW™ because it is based upon awareness of the body (including the throat). Soma comes from the Greek for body, as does psyche, meaning mind. SVW™ is body-based work with the voice.

– Jeannette LoVetri