“When Did We Stop Singing?”

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When Did We Stop Singing?. Vocal Improvisation and Circle Singing as a metaphor and tool for community building. Deb Hensley. www.improvox.com www.whendidwestopsinging.com. When did you stop singing?. Welcome, Introductions, Hopes and Concerns around the circle - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


When did you stop singing?

When Did We Stop Singing?Vocal Improvisation and Circle Singing as a metaphor and tool for community buildingMaterials for DEB to bring:Masking TapeFlip Chart Paper and MarkersSmall plastic cupsFlip chart paperHandouts with lyrics"When did we stop singing" wrist bands

Website and contact information

1Deb Hensleywww.improvox.comwww.whendidwestopsinging.comWhen did you stop singing?

This is a workshop model that you can use if you choose..Ill be presenting it as a regular vocal improvisation workshop but talking about how you might consider presenting portions of itand how vocal improv relates to community building3Your Hopes and Concernsfor todayWelcome, Introductions, Hopes and Concerns around the circleReview: safety, confidentiality, permission to "pass," encouragement to try etc.

Vocal ensembling/improvisation as a metaphor and tool for building community: (brainstorm parallels-- v short discussion to set intention for wkshop)I usually like to begin by inviting participants to share one hope and one concern about the workshop.and if it is a workshop that is about community building I might share some ideas about the parallels between a vocal ensemble and community building4How often do you actually sing (individually or with others)?

Do you feel free to sing in public...why or why not?

Do you think singing a natural part of human expression?

How do indigenous cultures use singing to build community?

Why has Western culture largely stopped singing in community?

Do you think singing is important to peace-building, sustainability and communities of all kinds?Some Questions to ConsiderConsider these questions just for yourself todayin a longer session Id invite a think/pair/share5Do we live in a culture bereft of meaningful Social Capital?Learned Fear of SingingA Western inventionRelentless assault of riff-raff or public musicExpertism at the expense of accessibility to allPerformance verses community based singingOver-dependence on recordingsWhen did you stop singing? During elementary school is the most common responsea teacher or another adults negative response to your voice. Everyone has a story. Western culture inhibited. Children not encouraged to sing. Choirs but not spontaneous eruptions. Hati after quake---singing communities, singing revolution in middle eas7A Serious Silencing of a basic human need

Singing expresses a natural state of well being. Basic human right. Why are we so afraid of our own voices?? Ridicule, shame, fear, terror

ALMOST EVERY TIME I bring up the idea of singing or talk to someone about singing they say things likeoh I cant sing.Im tone deaf.my voice scares my husband, etc etcthey laugh about it but theres a real fear here. I DO IT!! Ask AMANDA!8

Indigenous Cultures Sing Freely

To establish contextTo celebrate the hunt (songfeasts)To connect and reconnectTo promote interdependenceTo express placeTo express identityTo indicate solidarityTo build social capitalContrast this with indigenous cultures9

Indigenous Cultures incorporate singing seamlessly into communityAfrican Song of the ChildSinging as a response to socially aberrant behavior

TAborignal Songlines Medicine man asking when did you stop singing?

OOHVISIOriginalOpenHonestVoluntaryIntimateSpontaneousInnateOOHVISI refers to singing that is accessible to anyonealone or together It goes beyond the formal constructs of choirs, glee clubs and performance venuesThis is MY wordfor what I believe were all DYING to do.Someone once said to me: people are dying to love you. And I think its true. We have to push past the fear of being unloved, unseen and unheard.and recognize that people WANT to love us11What makes a community come alive?OOHVISI singing models a way for communities to establish interdependence, connection and celebration, stronger rhythmic routines, emergent themes, and a defined identity

And to do so quickly! 12Circle Singing & Vocal Improvisation are about saying YESCommunityInterdependence Connection

CelebrationCommunities are about these things.and so is the OOHVISIS vocal ensemble experience 14The NEW Community:Design, Story, Orchestra, Empathy, Play, Meaning

- A Whole New Mind by Daniel PinkHis book is really about the new business model and how it has to shift in this age in our country if we are going to stay competitive and abreast of business in a changing world (outsourcing) but it definitely applies to organizations and community.15Big-pictureOut of the boxConnecting patternsPolyrhythmsThe UndervoiceDesignBig-pictureOut of the boxConnecting patternsPolyrhythmsAccessing the Overvoice

Big picture thinking

Out of the box thinking

Connecting patterns



UncervoiceBig-pictureOut of the boxConnecting patterns PolyrhythmsThe OvervoiceThe UndervoiceTHESE ARE THE PARALLELS between vocal improv and those new business models or new communities that hes talking about16Storythe voice of anotherthe voice of the selfthe voice of the common experiencethe voice of narrative medicine

Orchestra steady beat patterns dynamics melodic themes structure interlocking parts counter melodies repetition variation tempo meter rhythm pitch tone

Orchestrating physically and literally is a way of practicing these skills in other settings18EmpathyDeep listening to the voice of another

Embracing silence Compassionate and bold response

Vital to understanding our own shadowand connecting with other people19PlayVoluntary SpontaneousSelf-initiatedSimple or complexStructured toward freedom

Adults, lets face it, have largely forgotten how to play spontaneously. We play lots of competitive games but have lost our ability to PLAY in these ways. Vocal improv brings this back into our radar.

20MEANING IntentionExpressionContextualDirectionComprehensionEmotionMemoryRelational

The secret of life is to discover your song and the meaning of life is to sing it. -AnnonymousAdd RELEVANCE and UNDERSTANDINGyou can probably think of way more things that define meaning for you

Vocal improv embodies meaning21Warming up the speaking, singing and body voice"Dig a Duck

Speaking: Your Story/Our Story --two word story around circle, get it going until it feels like one story

1/12/1/1232/1/123432/1 etc..

Call and response tones/scale patterns/names

Circle-Song (voicestra)

Round: When You Were Born

Long Tones--unison then harmonics and back to unisonWrite your name with a lazer beamSo lets get out of our skulls and into our bodies nowand practice this stuff

These are some warm up activities I might use with folks to get them out of the cerebral world and back into their bodies22The OvervoiceRhythm and PolyrhythmAh mah eee boo oh ee aayeeeWhat is overvoice? Ill show you.Why is it important to community buiding? Ask the West African Drummer.about polyrhytm and how it emerges from the collective group

The Overvoice is about the BIG PICTURE. Understanding what emerges from the collective and jumping off from that23Hearing the Melodic and Rhythmic "Overvoice"

Ahm ah ee boo rolling round from Ysay Barnwell of Sweet Honey and the Rock) Whole group sings together, then ask for volunteers to sing as a smaller group.

Listen deeply to the many melodies created within this one song when many people sing it together.

Debrief discussion around these concepts: What did this teach us about community building--collective endeavor, unforeseen ideas that come forward in community, deep listening, attention, holding individual part vital, hearing the "overvoice" etc. OF MELODYImprovisational FormsAnd what they teach us about communityHeres a smattering of forms/exercises25VOICESTRAEmerges in the momentA Spontaneous Circle SongCan have words or no wordsSimple or very complexStart by banishing your brain from the circle!JUST VOICE IT.

Leader models26:Group Home--2 or 3 people choose a rhythmic or melodic riff together, then the next three etc--can be harmonies or interlocking parts. Invite volunteers to improvise (2 at a time)Individual Home--(ask for 5-7 volunteers...each person creates and holds their own part. One improviser sings in center of circle and ends piece)Sound Waveleader introduces a vocal pattern and passes it onthen starts another pattern once that is established down the line.as in vocal telephone game

Debrief: how do these vocal experiences relate to community.What did you have to do individually and collectively to make them work? What was difficult/scary/fun/interesting/unifying etc...

Invite participants..27of rhythmClapping and Object RhythmsOne, one two oneClapping meters, body rhythms Cup gameBody RhythmsBody Body BodySylvie with Body RhythmAie Aye Mo Chi Noomba

Quodlibits: Swing Low/When the Saints/Coming Round the Mt.When I breathe in I breath in peaceDeliver meI will believe the Truth about myself...The Tarantulas are on the RoadAie Aye Mo Che NoombaLay Down my Sword and Shield (ask for input)Can't imagine life without...Choo can get to feeling happy,What to do if you can't get Pizza...what to do when it rains...

Some Simple SONGS that build communityMany many morebut simple songs and rounds that connect people joyfully29Get on BoardChoo can get to feelin happy you can get to feeling good, choo can do most anything that choo thought choo couldGet on board, get on track. Get to where youre goin and dont look backChoo take a ride, choo take a ride, choo let it gostep asideGet on board.Get on track.Get on board.Get on track-Terri Garthwate

Breathe in PeaceWhen I breathe in, I breathe in peace, when I breathe out, I breath out love

Breathe out.breathe in breathe outbreathe in.

Rolling RoundI will believe the Truth about myselfNo matter how beautiful it isWhen you were bornWhen you were born you cried, and the world rejoiced,Live your life so that when you dieThe world cries and you rejoice

Spontaneous Circle SingingVoicestrasInvite people who are inclined, to try setting up their own voicestra and improvise with it


Keep Breathing (As the chorus of this continues invite participants to consider a time in their life when..and share this aloud when ready)

Long tones and goodbye....Voice is inherent in each of us, everyone has a VOICE.

May not ultimately be about physical singing, but YOUR VOICE is vital to the community, both as a support and a melody in itself. Pay attention to it and use it.

Identify where your VOICE lives (what is your primary means of expression?)

Thank you for considering the primal, ancestral nature of music here today and its implications for community buildingTHE SPONTANEOUS VOICEA bird doesnt sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. --Maya AngelouDeb Hensleywww.improvox.comwww.whendidwestopsinging.com


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