When I was 9 years old, I went to an otolaryngologist who told me I was developing nodules on my vocal cords, presumably from the fact that I only seemed capable of speaking at top volume. For the rest of the year, I was pulled from one of my academic classes each day to attend speech therapy where I was supposed to learn how to find my "inside voice," a voice which would be appropriate for school, home, and other public settings. Suffice it to say, the therapy only taught me to feel shame that I couldn't control my voice the way everyone wanted me to.
It was only a decade later, when training with the Roy Hart Theatre's Richard Armstrong in the tradition of extended voice, that I realized that my problems weren't a speech disorder; they were the natural outgrowth of a habitual listening practice. Through the potent techniques that Roy Hart and Alfred Wolfsohn pioneered and which Richard has distilled into his own organic pedagogy, I learned to listen, really listen, not only to the sounds I was making, but to how my voice was trying to communicate with me and, in so doing, discovered my true inside voice, the voice inside me (and only me). When I took these insights into my training with Thomas Richards, Mario Biagini, and the the Grotowksi Workcenter, I discovered that when two or more people (who have each learned to love their own inside voices) make music together, the possibilities tap directly into the cathartic power of theatre. I learned how collaborators can, communicating only through imagination and intent in an intimate process of conducting and receiving, help each other unearth surprising and powerful new sounds.
After spending a decade letting these influences marinate together in my practice as a teacher and as a director (and in the countless hours I've spent experimenting with my own voice), I began teaching Inside Voice at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art's MA Theatre Lab in 2013 and have continued to teach it in NYC and London.
Inside Voice allows singers and non-singers alike to uncover the power and beauty of their full 5-octave range while developing a deep, emotive connection to their own unique sound. Through exercises that are as silly as they are revelatory, Inside Voice shows that the only limits on our voices are the ones we impose on them and that to work on the voice is to work on the self. You’ll learn to harness powerful, heartbreaking, visceral, fragile, and otherworldly sounds you never dreamed were inside you all the while dramatically extending your range, building your confidence, and strengthening the emotional links between you and your voice.
-Read what Jon's students say about Inside Voice!-