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  • Writer's pictureKaren Pauley

Fitzmaurice Voicework

I recently attended a course on Fitzmaurice Voicework taught by Catherine Fitzmaurice. Most of the courses I attend relate to singing, but this course specifically dealt with speaking and text work. The aim of the course was to introduce the key concepts of this work, destructuring, restructuring, and tremoring, and to show how these aid in producing a healthy and expressive voice.

Destructuring involves reducing excess bodily tension, specifically around the breathing process, to allow for more spontaneous and varied sound-making, sound which is connected to your body, your ideas, and your imagination. Restructuring involves learning to breathe in the most physiologically efficient way to support the voice without losing spontaneity. -- Catherine Fitzmaurice (PDF)from interview with Saul Kotzubei, 2005.

I struggled with some aspects of this course as it involved putting the body in positions similar to those used in yoga, and I have never done any yoga. There were also concepts discussed that were new to me, such as bioenergentics and Reichian therapy.

I enjoyed hearing Fitzmaurice speak about the voice and how we should use an "economy of effort" when speaking, and about how to be alive to our breath and to create a vibrant performance on stage. There is no doubt that we interfere with how our bodies work and that often our learnt habits of breathing are not using our bodies are efficiently or effectively as we could. Unlearning these habits can make a great improvement to the voice, though it is not easy to do this.

I am still unsure about tremoring and some of the techniques taught, but there is no doubt that Fitzmaurice is a great teacher who has spent a lifetime perfecting her craft.

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