Claire Thomas Vocal Coaching

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(Selections adapted from Feldenkrais for Actors by Victoria Worsley)


Lie on your back, legs long if comfortable

Take your attention into yourself

Which parts of you lean on the floor most? Concentrate on each part in turn:





Which parts of you don’t touch the floor or touch it least? Concentrate on each part in turn:

Lower back?




In working with aspects of the body we cannot see or touch, the kinaesthetic sense (proprioception) is important. This can be described as the perception of self, involving the part of the nervous system that give you information about yourself:

What your joints are doing

Where bones are positioned in relation to each other and in space

The tension level in the muscles

The level of stretch in the tendons

Feedback from the skin

Exploring proprioception:

Close your eyes and hold your hand in front of your face. There is a sense in which you can still see it with your eyes closed. Move your hand slowly around your head until it is at the back of your head. You can still ‘see’ it. You might be able to see how much the fingers curl or how open the palm is. That is proprioception. You are not experiencing your hand by touching something else, or by seeing it, but through your kinaesthetic sense.

Listening in

Stand and turn your head to look to the left and right. Just where it goes easily.

Keep turning your head gently and slowly only where it rolls easily, but change one thing each time:

Focus your eyes as if on a ship on the horizon far away. Watch it travel slowly across the horizon as far to the left as comfortable, and then as far to the right. Notice what it does to how you turn your head and how it feels.

Focus your eyes very close to your body, as if there is a small creature travelling from close to one shoulder, around your face, a smallish distance from the end of your nose and ending up close to the other shoulder. What does it do to the movement of your head? How does it feel?

Keep your eyes on a spot in front of you and turn your head, but not your eyes. They stay fixed on the spot. What happened to how you can turn your head? What does it feel like?

Clamp your jaw really tight shut and turn your head left and right without letting your jaw loosen at all. What happens? How does it feel?

Place your attention (not your eyes) on the tip of your nose as you turn your head, now place your attention on your ears as you turn your head, and now place your attention on the back of your head as you turn your head. Notice the differences.

In this game you become open to the rich possibilities of subtle differences and variation available to you in what is essentially a simple movement. You are not deciding what to do, and doing it; you are discovering possibilities by listening to what is happening at the time.

While doing simple sitting tasks during the day, shift your attention to:

Your pelvis/sitting bones on the chair and whether you are on the back or front of it/them.

Your breath as it flows in and out, and the places that move as you breathe: your ribs, stomach, back.

How are your feet resting on the floor?

What can you hear elsewhere in the house or outside the window?


Stand with your back to the ‘audience’. All you are going to do each time is turn to look at an imagined person entering the room. Each time you know who it is before you turn. You have been waiting for them. Don’t make a ‘clever’ choice, just do what comes naturally. Notice what you do physically each time.

The first time you turn because someone walks in who you are madly in love with

The second tine it is someone you don’t care about.

The third time it is someone you are terrified of.

The fourth time it is someone you are very angry with.

Was it different each time?

In what way was it different physically?

How much of you turned each time? All of you or just your head? What parts of your back moved? Did your shoulders turn? Your eyes? What was your speed? What was the level of tension in different parts of you?

Head, Jaw, Tongue – and Eyes!

Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet planted and feel where your head rests. Which part of the back of the head touches the floor? Where is ‘Home’?

Roll your head left and right gently and see what movement you have easily. Be sure to really listen to what is truly easy and stop at the first moment you feel an interference, so you will notice if anything changes in this range of real ease.

Put your tongue out of the right corner of your mouth and very gently let it lead your head to the right a few times. How does it go? Is it different? The do the same to the left. Now turn the head again on its own and feel the difference.

This time, move your tongue to the right and try to take your head to the left. If your tongue is really going to the right it will hardly be possible. Be gentle!

Roll your head on its own again and feel how it is.

This time open your mouth a tiny bit. Move your jaw a teeny bit left and right – very soft and small and slow as you can easily do too much here. Just enough that your two front teeth top and bottom, go a little bit out of alignment. It may be easier one way than the other. Listen to the back of the neck. You may feel something shift there at the bae of the skull in terms of muscles.

Now move your jaw to right and turn your head to right. Jaw to left and head to left. Listen to your eyes as well. Do they go with head or jaw or neither?

Move your jaw and eyes and head to right and left all together.

Move your jaw and eyes to the right, but this time try and take your head to the left. Now jaw and eyes to right and try and move your head to the left. Finally, move them left and right all together again.

Now simply turn your head on its own and notice the range of real ease.

Feel where your head rests too. Where is Home now? You can do this sitting aswell as lying down.

Head and Neck balance

Either sitting or standing, move your head directly forward, keeping it parallel with the floor and without tipping it up or down.

Your chin goes straight forward, neither lifting nor dropping: like a chicken pecking.

Feel what happens to your chest. Does it lift or sink?

Now bring your chin straight in towards your neck without lifting or dropping.

Feel what happens in your chest.

Don’t do anything special, just feel the difference.

Also listen to the top of your back. Does anything happen there?

Is there any forward or backward movement, widening or narrowing in that place?

Now bend your arms and take your elbows backwards at the same time as your head slides forward. Once again, feel what happens in your chest but also in the top of your back between your shoulder blades: do you feel the potential for narrowing between the blades now?

Then as you take the head back, move your elbows out to side and forward like a chicken flapping its wings. Feel where the base of your neck can slide back into the widening space between your shoulder blades as the elbows go forward, so the chin can also come back comfortably without compressing your throat.

Now make movement smaller and smaller in each direction until you find the middle.