Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method asks the singer to listen, and to do that listening as objectively as possible. Since the deaf do not sing and it is truly impossible not to hear oneself while singing, trying to ignore what one sounds like seems futile. SVW™ teaches the teacher to hear register quality as a unique aural marker and further asks that listening skills be developed to become ever more acute and accurate in order to discern other subtle differences in vocal sound. It is possible to learn to teach this method almost completely as an aural experience, as we have at least one blind person certified to do so. She uses her hands, when necessary, to assess the physical information that would normally be ascertained visually (always with the permission of the student), but relies primarily on her ears, which are sharply attuned to acoustic shifts of register and vowel.
Once the teacher is able to hear register differences, he or she is asked to make these differences out loud through sung exercises. This is because SVW™ is an experiential system. Teachers must be able to sing the vocal quality they wish the student to learn.
CCM styles are almost entirely chest-register, or speaking voice, dominant, especially in more energetic, louder styles. In order for the sounds to function optimally, two registers must be present equally. For most people, that requires deliberate development of each register, separately, which can only be done over time. Chest register must be established at the lower end of the pitch range, and head must be established at the higher end, and both registers must “cross” in the middle. This must be done in such as way as to keep the vowels from any kind of distortion or “modification”. Articulation must remain clear and precise, unless an artist chooses to deliberately obscure words as an expressive device.
Failure to accomplish register balance and vowel purity will compromise all other vocal activities, including breathing function, as the vertical height of the larynx in the throat (how far up or down into the throat the larynx sits when at rest) affects the ability to inhale freely. Registration and vowel sound quality are the primary tools for affecting the vertical laryngeal height, therefore, they must be managed effectively, and training that does not address this will always produce a less than satisfactory result in the overall vocal production.
Other important strategies of SVW™
SVW™ views the body as being wise, with its own “intelligence”. It assumes that the body will go towards freedom rather than restriction and towards self-preservation rather than harm. It assumes that singing which is both free and strong requires a deliberate use of the entire body, which is also freely used and energetically strong, although exactly how the body is working can vary quite a bit, depending upon the CCM styles being sung. For instance, someone singing a soft folk song of limited range and volume isn’t going to require more use of the body than that which is required for conversational speech. Someone else, however, who is singing a high, loud rock song, perhaps while playing guitar, is going to have to work quite diligently on all ingredients in order to maximize vocal production.
It also holds that the soft tissue and bones of the body can and do hold emotional memory and that trauma can result in the deadening of certain parts of both the body and the throat. The training process is meant to wake up the singer, in terms of breathing and sound, and re-open any area of the body that holds a blockage, so that it can be freed and used. Therefore, the teacher must take a position of non-aggression, and make a “safe space” during the lesson, as not to do so is cause for further trauma. While teachers are not encouraged to do any type of psychotherapy or counseling, and, in fact, are told to refer students with extensive issues to qualified outside experts in those fields, it is supposed that being artistic means being sensitive and that having emotions surface during the learning process is rightfully part of learning to perform.
The process of teaching someone to sing, done in this manner, is also a process of teaching the person to be more human, more vulnerable, more aware and in touch with various sensations and feelings, and with the strength of flexibility of thought and philosophy that is required of those with the highest artistic expectations. SVW™ is a marriage of body, mind and spirit; grounded in science and medicine, in music making, in unique personal expression, in wholeness and in the specificity of many ingredients that combine to make a singing artist.