On August 30, Dana Marks led a class called Wall of Sound, hosted by Burning Coal (thanks, Jerry!!). The class started with each participant writing reflections on their own voice; what is it like? What don't you like about it? What would you like it to be? We then set these thoughts aside and moved on to a vigorous set of warm ups to really get our voices ready to perform. Dana really emphasized the importance of actors taking the time to warm their entire bodies up. The whole body is used to make sound so you need to warm up not only your vocal folds, but stretch out your core, making room in you abdomen, rib cage, and awakening your diaphragm. To do this, we did a (slightly tortuous) warm up where we got on all fours, raised on our toes and rotated our hips back and forth for a count of 8, then rolled on our backs and let natural sound escape our lips.
The workshop was great! Not only an exploration of our own natural speaking pitch, but also a course on the human anatomy used to create sounds. I think the unexpected part for me was that so many women really felt liberated by finding their natural voice. We focused on following what naturally worked in each person's body. Each participant was encouraged to fully take up space, to speak with conviction, and share the feelings that accompanied this, often foreign, experience.
As a person who has worked extensively with a speech pathologist after a polyp was removed from my vocal folds, much of the information was a reminder of things I have let slide over the years. It was great to learn new warm ups and hear others find their own natural voice. I think each participant eagerly awaits Dana's next class. (Dana, when's your next class?)
Lucia Foster had this to say "When it comes to playing with a Wall of Sound, Dana Marks really knows her schtuff! And, she knows how to engage her students in an authentic, empowering way. It was a pleasure and a learning experience to take part in the Wall of Sound Workshop. The exercises she taught us are "doable and useful" and, best of all: really feel like they make a difference. Some of Dana's key tips: remember to breathe, warm up, focus and, intention - are valuable pieces of advice. Not only, for working with your voice, but also for life in general."
Thanks, Dana, for leading such a wonderful workshop that was empowering for so many!