Vocal Tai Chi
‘moving voice between
heaven and earth’
Vocal Tai Chi asks: ‘where are you really, with your voice?’
For three years before I launched Vocal Tai Chi I was experimenting with improvised singing, calling on my studies in North Indian vocal ragas. I wanted to find a way, a language, a style in which to sing, while meditating.
A friend who was with me, while I was experimenting, said one day – “- it looks like a vocal form of Tai Chi.” I was drawing on Tai Chi movements as I sang. Vocal Tai Chi as a title seemed to encapsulate the essence of what I was searching for.
Vocal Tai Chi suggests a slow, flowing body, maybe with long, steady notes and graceful movements. But Tai Chi itself is also dynamic and interactive. Masters of Tai Chi can activate body trauma release by skilfully using life-force energy, known as ‘chi,’ waking up the whole body-mind-spirit system, at a fundamental level and allowing the person to reorganise their psyche as entrenched patterns let go.
Having been a Voice Movement Therapist for many years I could see a parallel with my experience in this field, and the trauma release work in advanced Tai Chi.
Vocal Tai Chi however is different from my previous, white-coated, hands-off, therapist’s role, as I am now present as artist-leader and performer, singing my own Vocal Tai Chi as a way of igniting people into the work. My therapeutic leadership has lessened, away from psychology and towards spirituality, although the two are very close.
Tai Chi principles provide many safe harbours for the body and the mind, especially if you are working with voice. I bring these safe harbours into sessions: centred in your core, connected to your abdominal breathing, and grounded through the feet.
Vocal Tai Chi helps you both expand and deeply relax into your voice, as if it were the very ground of your being, from where you may follow your own internal golden threads on a musical journey of your own making.
Finding out that your voice is a mirror of who you really are, begins the journey of using voice for personal and spiritual development.
Using vocal exercises, employing a simple ‘voice map,’ you begin your Vocal Tai Chi path, letting go of the judgements and standards of ‘good and bad voice’, ‘right and wrong notes’ and remembering what matters is that your vocal instrument is an honest, vulnerable, and courageous vehicle, and that is at the heart of who you are.
We begin a conversation around how your voice is a window into layer upon layer of the self, learning ‘the four floors of your vocal house’ – the ‘basement, ground floor, first floor and attic’, we map out a vertical range and then begin to journey – supported by backing tracks created by Jenni.
There are many, many, voices within all of us, an infinity is not too small a number, and in Vocal Tai Chi this open infinity of voices is invited to sing, to improvise the music that is simply – who you are, now. It is not likely to be a virtuosic solo cadenza or a whipper-snapper scat around the keys (though it may be) but it is more likely to be something real – not predetermined, not formed by convention, but arising out of inner inquiry and intention.
As the many layers are met and sounded out – there may be one note – one line, or one revealing, conscious space – that becomes the diamond of a new, felt-intelligence. A place from which you will never again forget how to open that window onto this mysterious genre, this Vocal Tai Chi.
Feeding your energy and imagination, Vocal Tai Chi can help you with your own instrumental playing, performance nerves, expressive authenticity, and creative aliveness as well as more generally with your whole health and well-being.
Mixing meditative and creative processes, Vocal Tai Chi offers a new language of expression, – sourced from the parts of you that truly need and wish to be heard, and in so singing, bring a new completeness to you, and to others listening. This is the inner hearth, around which others draw close, as everyone feels the heat of collective vocal homecomings.
Founded by composer-vocalist Jenni Roditi in 2012 Vocal Tai Chi is a voice, movement, mind, body, soulful and spiritual practice. Rooted in the Tai Chi principles of grounding, centring, flow and openness, alongside the musical art of both free and guided vocal improvisation and composition.
Jenni welcome musicians from all styles and levels, and so-called non musicians: you just need willingness, and belief that using your voice in service of your current inquiry could well be the missing key to reveal vital new understanding and information.
What is more close to you than your voice?
Creators, performers and entrepreneurs of all kinds – whether you work alone at the desk, out in the field, in the rehearsal room, the studio, the lab or the office, are invited to bring material (or simply yourself) to develop as part of any ongoing research and development.
This is a laboratory process, which includes dialogue alongside sound and voice work, breath work, movement and stillness.
Find expanded vision and insight in the creation of your projects or personal development – be it revisioning, editing or starting again, from scratch.
We will be looking at your core creative/performance/philosophical questions and needs and how your voice can get you closer to discovering what it is that actually wants to be born, grown, celebrated and released into the world.
Jenni Roditi 2.10.21
“A fantastic blend of attention to the group process as well as our individual development. Insightful and intuitive understanding of what each of us and the group needed. I found a strength of being and confidence in my creativity that I didn’t know I had. Thank you.” Kate A, participant, Winter School, 2015.