teaching

Concerts Luc Houtkamp in Taiwan

In a few days composer/improviser Luc Houtkamp is arriving from the Netherlands. He is a much respected music personality in The Netherlands with a string of accomplishments. Right now, besides playing/composing, he is best known for his work with the POW Ensemble, which he founded over a decade ago. He is the recipient of the most important Jazz Prize, the Boy Edgar Prize. Very honoured to have him as a guest in our house for a few days! Then he moves on for his Taiwan tour. I will join him two times.

6 March 2015, 12:30 Taishin Bank, Taipei, Luc Houtkamp (sax), Chao-Ming Tung (guzheng), Mark Van Tongeren (voice)

14 March 2015, 19:00 Hsing Tian Kong Library, Taipei, Luc Houtkamp (sax) Chao-Ming Tung, (guzheng) Mark Van Tongeren (voice), Shih-Yang Lee (piano)

Other performances by Luc and Taiwanese musicians:
9 March 2015 Lecture at Shih Chien University, Taipei
11 March 2015 Lecture and Workshop at Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu
11 March 2015 concert in Hsinchu, place and line up tba
12 March 2015, 19:30 Tainan University of the Arts, Tainan, Taiwan with Shih-Yang Lee (piano) Fang-Yi Liu (musical saw & voice)
13 March 2015 Lacking Sound Festival Solo concert.

Here is a preview of Luc’s new piece, based on a 1914 novel of Gertrude Stein. Looks very promising!

About Voice Yoga

 

 

VoiceYoga3What is Voice Yoga?

Voice Yoga consists of a series of exercises that gives pride of place to the voice as a central, creative force in our lifes. Our existence depends in important ways on our speaking, listening, sounding and singing abilities. The class promotes awareness of the many roles of the voice in our daily lives. It expands our creative vocabulary, without necessarily talking about music, the singing voice or any musical style. The point is not so much to learn any specific new technique: we play with the voice in a lot of different ways and listen with fresh ears to the hidden potential of our voices.

In Voice Yoga, sound, silence and resonance become a mirror for the self. The sounds produced by ourselves,  allows us to ‘see’ ourselves more clearly, to hear what’s living deep inside us. In ever-growing cycles of creating and perceiving we learn about music and sound, about ourselves and about the environment.

Structure of the classes

We usually start with silence, breath and body movements to turn away from our busy mind into the body and to the sensations we actually experience. We let the voice come out of a natural breath flow. We listen to and follow its natural resonances. We do not try to sing in an artful way, but to experience how body-mind-voice are intimately connected, and how voice and resonance can serve as a bridge to overcome the dualistic notion of body <> mind. From then on, all kinds of styles and genres of vocalising and musicking may happen, some structured, some wild, some giving insight in your voice, some therapeutic. Exercises are based on yoga, musical and theatrical techniques, vipassana meditation and our innate love to play like children.

The idea behind Voice Yoga is comparable to yoga and tai-chi: the effect of the exercises is gradual. We believe that only with repeated classes you can really learn to connect the energies of voice & sound with the whole of your body and mind. You slowly become more and more familiar with your voice and its powers; you will begin to hear and feel things you did not hear and feel before. That’s why we suggest you to sign up for four classes a time after your trial class.

The teacher

Voice Yoga is designed and taught by Mark van Tongeren, who brings with him 25 years of experience in working with sound, music and theatre and many different cultures.

9a973-dscf6809253dmark2bphotoIn my Voice Yoga Review of 2014 you can read about some recent experiences:
https://fusica.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/voice-yoga-2014-re-view/

For whom
For those seeking to enrich their voices, let off steam and unlock their hidden creative potential. For singers and those who are afraid to sing. For actors, musicians and other artists and professionals who work with sound. Perhaps more than anyone else, people who want to experience and learn about the therapeutical effects of sound seem to benefit from Voice Yoga. The human voice is a tool that assists human beings to produce a mirror-like reflection of the world around them in their minds. By gaining a deeper understanding and experience of the mechanisms of making sounds, words and music, and of listening, we gradually deepen the connections within ourselves (our body-minds) and with others and the world around us.

Dates and time
please look here for current dates and times (voice yoga dates 2015).

Prices
Every class lasts two hours. The price is 400 NT$ for a single class, and 1500 NT$ for four classes (375 NT$ per class). You do not have to attend four classes in a row; we’ll just tick off your presence four times and then you can sign up again for four times. Students and others with limited financial resources can get a reduced price: just send a message.

How to register
Feel free to join the Voice Yoga class any time. It is best to send a message every time you want to come, then we prepare a place for you. Write to mark at fusica dot nl or send a text-message to 09 10 48 27 49.

Place
Canjune Training Centre, 4th Floor, number 3 , Lane 151, Fuxing South Road, Section 2, (this is about 20 meters from the corner of FuXing South Road, go up the stairs to the hairdresser and take the elevator to 4F; if you’re early the streetdoor may be closed). Nearest MRT: Technology Building (10 min. walk). Telephone training centre: 02 – 27 00 72 91.

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Voice Yoga 2014 Re-view

2014 was a great year for the Voice Yoga class. Some old students came back, and many new enthusiastic students joined for a first time, some of them also coming back.

The outline of the formula was the same: start with silence, breath and ‘body-work’ (which is always also mind-work). Then a first  exploration of our unused potential to make sound, with simple, and sometimes primitive, raw sounds and movements. Then a structured part with more warming-up of ‘body-speech-mind’ (to use the Buddhist three-fold scheme of the human being), thevowel triadand the ‘ocean exercise’. Depending on the particular dynamic of the day (and the duration of the preceding parts), I add two or three of a large pool of rotating exercises that let us listen, feel and (re)sound in different ways. In the end, I often sing with the sruti-box, and students lie down on the mats in the Canjune Training Center.

Some of the new students of this year got really hooked on our weekly session, saying they missed it a lot when I was travelling, for example. Every student’s input changes the way things turn out, and the recent sessions have become true adventures of body, mind and sound. One time, right after a particularly powerful session of vocal noises, chants, screams, rhythms, I asked each student what (s)he had just experienced. I had decided not to interrupt the sound-making, and it had lasted longer than ever, about 45 minutes without a break. It was amazing to hear their deeply personal, moving accounts. Every student had gone  through powerful experiences. One re-lived her pain from the past by letting the sounds follow the beating of her foot, which felt like a great relief. Another mainly listened, which worried me a little; but she was extremely grateful to what she heard and was crying at some point. A therapist told us she used her lessons from Voice Yoga to help others relief their pain, by adding sounds to the massage treatment and inviting her client to make sounds too. Another could hardly find the words to describe her feelings, but said she felt completely enveloped by the other voices and also merged them, while singing or just listening. One student’s first response, after we had just stopped our sound-making, was: ‘Ahh, this is better than sex!’

I usually try to limit my own talking and do not ask students to talk about their experience either. So I was amazed to learn about their feelings and impressions, and felt encouraged to develop this path further. I thank all those who have attended the Voice Yoga class in the last two years, whether it is one or ten or twenty times, for their courage, their input, their creativity. This class is so interesting because of you all! And I thank Canjune for the wonderful and inspiring space, which was renovated early 2014.

Want to join? The dates for 2015 you can find here.

Insects surprise me at start of new course

Last Friday different professors gave an introduction to their course to the new students of the X-College of National Cheng Chi University, after a talk by the ever-inspiring College-director Chen Wenling. The X-College is the creative department where students from all faculties can apply for a number of courses in several discplines. This year is the second year I am invited to teach a course about sound and music.
I presented the idea of my course, which is entitled ‘Making sense in the world of sound’ and inspired by the idea to focus on the Taipei Zoo, which is near the university’s campus. My students and me will do a good deal of listening to different sonic environments and create new ones with our voices, bodies and also through recordings. We’ll look closely at how animals listen and communicate and take inspiration from that for improvisations of our own.

To exemplify my idea, I sang a very simple pattern, which I asked them to imitate. Then I let one group make a small time-shift, so that the patterns bounce off against each other and give a more complex rhythm. I explained this is what often happens in nature, where insects may make just two tones, but when their starting point is different or the pattern caries only slightly, very interesting results may emerge. I was wondering where I could find a live example of what I talked about: i had heard such things but could not remember I had ever  recorded them.

Then, the next day, I walk our dog. I hear an intriguing sound, stop and listen. I hear exactly what I had been talking about! Two insects, I guess about a meter apart, each repeating a single note several times, the one higher, the other lower. It’s a stunningly clear, bell-like sound, and in fact quite loud.

Sometimes the patterns alternate, sometimes they coincide. So I stand, listen and observe all the variations they are able to make, despite their limited sound repertory. I wonder if they are enjoying the interplay of two/three-group notes as much as I do. I know that many of the established biologists studying animal sounds disagree with that idea. But David Rothenberg, a philosopher, musician and friend, whose fascinating book ‘Survival of the beautiful’ I am currently reading, likes to think that animals indeed may have a kind of esthetic sense ‘yes!’

Voice of Dao (up)dates

For those seeking to enrich their voices, let off steam and unlock their hidden creative potential, I organise a bi-weekly (as of 2014: weekly) voice session called Voice of Dao at the training centre of Canjune in Daan district, Taipei. We usually start with silence, breath and body movements to turn away from our busy mind into the body and to the sensations we actually experience. We let the voice come out of a natural breath flow. We listen to and follow its natural resonances. We do not try to sing in an artful way, but to experience how body-mind-voice are intimately connected, and how voice and resonance can serve as a bridge to overcome the dualistic notion of body <> mind. From then on, all kinds of styles and genres of vocalising and musicking may happen, some structured, some wild, some giving insight in your voice, some therapeutic. Exercises are based on yoga, musical and theatrical techniques, and vipassana meditation.

The human voice is a tool that assists human beings to produce a mirror-like reflection of the world around them in their minds. By gaining a deeper understanding and experience of the mechanisms of making sounds, words and music, and of listening, we gradually deepen the connections within ourselves (our body-minds) and with others and the world around us.

When and where:

The normal schedule for Voice of Dao is every two weeks on Thursday, but 10/10  will be changed to 10/9 and 12/26 to 12/24 (2013).

So these are all the dates for the Voice of Dao classes in Taipei up to Januari 2014:
October: Wednesday 9, Tuesday 22. (NOTE: CHANGED FROM THURSDAY 24: that day there will be no class).

November: Thursdays 7, 14.

(November 28 there will be NO class, despite earlier announcement).

December: Thursday 12 and Tuesday 24.

The Training Centre of Canjune is at 4F, number 3 , Lane 151, Fuxing South Road, Section 2, just 20 meters from the corner of FuXing South Road. The nearest MRT station is Technology Building. We start at 10. If you cannot find it, call the training centre: 02 – 27 00 72 91.

Get more details here.

Voice of Dao news

Last week my new Voice of Dao class took off in a festive mood and with enthusiastic responses. This week was the second time students came to try out this new vocal practice, which is open to anyone, and can be joined anytime. Voice of Dao consists of a series of exercises that gives pride of place to the voice as a central, creative force in our existence as speaking, listening, sounding and singing human beings. It promotes awareness of the many roles of the voice in our daily lives. It expands our creative vocabulary, without necessarily talking about music, the singing voice or any musical style. The point is not so much to learn any specific new technique, but to listen with fresh ears to the hidden potential of your voice. Taken together, Voice of Dao is a practice that lets your voice, ears and awareness tap into the abundant sources of creative imagination, which lies at the root of human existence.

Now, the news:

After two classes it became clear that one hour of exercises and 15 minutes of rest is too short, and so from next week on the class will be from 10 till 12, every Monday morning.

Until Chinese New Year the dates are:

Monday December 24
December 31 no class
Monday January 7
Monday January 14
Monday January 21
Monday January 28 to be confirmed
Monday February 4

On Saturday February 2 we are considering having a one-day workshop Overtone Singing again.

Feel free to join the Voice of Dao class any time. The idea behind Voice of Dao is comparable to yoga and tai-chi: the effect of the exercises is gradual. We believe that only with repeated classes you can really learn to connect the energies of voice & sound with the whole of your body and mind. That’s why we ask you to sign up for four classes a time after your trial class.

The price for the new, longer format of the class is 400 NT$ for the first class. After that, you sign up for four classes a time, paying 375 NT$ per class, that is, 1500 NT$ at once. You do not have to attend four classes in a row; we’ll just tick off your presence four times and then you can sign up again for four times.

Please go to Hans & Una’s blog to get the details and sign up.