Sound and Silence: The Yin of Vocal Improvisation

6 Evening – 8 November 2020

Collaborative Vocal Improvisation entails a great depth of presence and listening, which we cultivate together during class. When the music stops, we remain in a deep state of presence. Yet now there is silence, and if our eyes are closed, blackness. It is a depth of meditation that is hard for many of us to reach in sitting practice.

I tend to move us on from this velvet black if our aim is to reach the heights of vocal improv in a class, rather than to linger in the pause.

And yet the pause is potent. 

For the first time, I am creating a weekend where the point is to luxuriate in the pause. To sing our way into meditation and then to rest there, together, with no need to move on.

In addition, vocal practices such as singing Savasana and sound healing can lead us into a profound state of relaxation, and sometimes sleep. Again, typically we limit this rest in order to continue vocal improv training.

But now, early November, winter is coming and we are tiring. There can be a tendency to caffeinate and push on. Yet rest is the recharging station for all living batteries and sometimes we can get stuck on over-drive and be a bit too busy to deeply rest.

Voice work changes this. It has an internal clearing effect, a re-set aid for the adrenals, the governors of our energy, which get distorted by caffeine. This in turn distorts our circadian rhythm, our metabolism, and can affect our sleep, weight, stress, and quality of life.

Thus, our goal for the weekend is, reduce our caffeine intake, gather, sing ourselves into meditation, meditate, sing ourselves into sleep, sleep, wake and stir when we’re ready, and do it again.

We will be cooked for, no need to do dishes. The bedrooms at Hill Cottage Retreats are really cosy. With Buddha statues everywhere and the owners having themselves a deep spiritual practice, the place has the atmosphere of a very comfortable ashram. Here we shall gather, sing, rest, and in the deep black quiet, regenerate our energies for the winter season ahead.

The cost includes accommodation, food, and tuition.

Twin room £260

Single room £280

Non residential (includes lunches) £120

It’s best if you can sing in tune and keep a beat. 

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