Cover image for Singing with your whole self : the Feldenkrais method and voice
Singing with your whole self : the Feldenkrais method and voice
Nelson, Samuel H.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
ix, 171 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
MT821 .N45 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Being fixed/mended

On Order



Singing with Your Whole Self teaches performers to use the Feldenkrais Method to ameliorate problems of tension, muscle strain, and illness in order to obtain optimal vocal performance. It contains an important and unique feature: modularized Feldenkrais "Awareness through Movement" lessons. These are specifically designed for liberating function in all musicians and in singers in particular. Modularized lessons allow the user to choose between functionally useful short segments or entire lessons. The first part of the book presents the theory explaining why this approach works in an easily understood and concrete fashion. The remaining chapters explore our anatomy by area and explain usage, problems and how these relate to singing; lessons throughout revolve around improving performance. Includes an index both by lesson and by problem, referring performers to the lessons most effective for a specific problem.

Author Notes

Samuel H. Nelson is a graduate of the Toronto Professional Feldenkrais Training Program. He has offered Awareness Through Movement classes to the public since 1985 and has held a seminar on the Feldenkrais Method each semester at the Eastman School of Music for the past thirteen years, as well as seminars at music schools in Indiana and Ohio. Nelson has a private practice in Rochester, New York
Elizabeth Blades-Zeller holds both Doctor of Musical Arts and Master's degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where she received the 1990 Eastman Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is currently associate professor of voice, coordinator of the voice area, and director of opera at Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio, where she teaches applied voice, vocal pedagogy, and language diction classes

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Intended to access a person's nervous system, to change what has been learned incorrectly, and to improve the functional freedom, the Feldenkrais method is applicable to everyone but of particular interest to artists, athletes, and those with serious medical problems. For many years singers have looked to Feldenkrais to reeducate the alignment and movement of their bodies to improve their singing. Nelson (a professional Feldenkrais practitioner) and Blades-Zeller (a scholar of voice performance) direct this study toward the particular needs of singers who are seeking greater freedom in their singing. They devote the bulk of the volume (11 chapters) to exercises that individuals can do without benefit of a professional Feldenkrais practitioner. Divided into small units that can be undertaken by people who do not have large amounts of time at their disposal, the exercises are described simply and clearly and are accompanied by helpful drawings. The chapter "Pedagogical Uses for This Volume" includes suggestions for students and for private and class voice teachers. Glossary, reference and resource list, indexes. Recommended for all levels. M. S. Roy Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Chapter 1 Overviewp. 1
Relating the Feldenkrais Method to the Teaching of Singingp. 1
Overview of the Feldenkrais Methodp. 3
Key Ideas in the Development of the Feldenkrais Methodp. 5
Kinesthetic Imaginationp. 8
Relationship of This Work to Pedagogical Literaturep. 10
Awareness Through Movementp. 13
Introduction to the Lessonsp. 13
Mini-ATM: Freeing the Neck to Turn Freelyp. 17
Chapter 2 Control and Letting Gop. 19
Active Controlp. 19
Allowing or Passive Controlp. 21
ATM: Weights and Leversp. 22
Tension and Functionp. 26
ATM: Taming Tongue Tensionp. 27
Chapter 3 The Base of Supportp. 33
The Role of Feet and Legsp. 33
ATM: Balance in Standingp. 35
Using the Floorp. 40
ATM: The Connection of Feet Through to Headp. 41
High Heelsp. 46
Leg-Length Differentialp. 47
A Simple Exercise: Strengthening the Adductorsp. 48
Chapter 4 Intentionality and Effortp. 49
Intentionp. 49
Effortingp. 51
Power and Potentialp. 52
Reversibility Principlep. 54
The Whole Is Not the Sum of the Partsp. 55
Chapter 5 Pelvic Powerp. 57
The Pelvisp. 57
Vocal Context: Powering from the Power Basep. 58
ATM: Pelvic Clockp. 61
The Pelvis in Sittingp. 67
ATM: The Role of the Pelvis in Sitting Erectp. 68
Chapter 6 Breathingp. 73
Mechanics of Breathingp. 73
ATM: Breathe and Find Your Centerp. 76
Recovery from Illnessp. 80
ATM: Lengthening the Lungsp. 81
Chapter 7 Upper Trunk Flexibilityp. 89
The Upper Trunkp. 89
ATM: Freeing the Ribsp. 90
The Midspinep. 95
ATM: Lateral Flexionp. 96
Scoliosisp. 102
Mini-ATM: Evening the Sidesp. 103
Chapter 8 Shoulder Girdle and Armsp. 105
Shoulders and Breathp. 105
ATM: Reaching Outp. 106
Shoulder Tensionp. 112
ATM: Shoulder Releasep. 112
Chapter 9 Head and Neckp. 117
Positioning the Headp. 117
ATM: Relating Head and Pelvisp. 118
Role of the Head in Vocal Productionp. 124
ATM: Relating Shoulders, Neck, and Jawp. 125
Headachesp. 129
Mini-ATM: Releasing the Neckp. 130
Chapter 10 Hands and Mouthp. 133
Relationship of Hands and Tonguep. 133
Shoulders and Hand Tensionp. 134
ATM: Magic Handsp. 135
Imaginary Warm-Upsp. 138
The Mouthp. 138
ATM: Softening the Mouthp. 140
Chapter 11 The Eyesp. 145
Role of the Eyes in Movementp. 145
Releasing Minor Neck Cricksp. 147
Visual Tensionp. 147
ATM: Releasing the Eyesp. 148
Glassesp. 152
Ocular Muscles and the Sinusesp. 153
ATM: Eyes Relate to Jawp. 153
Chapter 12 Pedagogical Uses for This Volumep. 157
Student Usep. 157
Group (Class) Voice and Ensemble Rehearsal Usep. 157
Teacher Use (Private Studio Voice)p. 158
Appendix Functional Integrationp. 159
Glossaryp. 161
References and Resourcesp. 163
Index of Lessonsp. 165
General Indexp. 169
About the Authorsp. 171