Being In Music

This workshop ‘Being In Music’ was presented at the Australasian Facilitators Conference in Alice Springs Australia 2014.

Being In Music introduces ‘musical’ processes to explore the three basic awarenesses of a facilitator. Of simultaneously being with the self, being with another ( i.e with each member of the group ) and being with the group as a whole. I created these ‘musical’ processes to accompany the books of Dale Hunter and the work of Zenergy Global. Specifically The Art of Facilitation ( Random House 2007 pages 46-77)

Being with the self – we cannot effectively read a group if we do not know ourselves deeply, the subtle nuances of attention , distraction, sabotage, collusion, jealousy, competition, nurturing, rescuing, interdependence through to co-dependance ( just few things that can get in the way). By recognising within ourselves the multifaceted expression of humanity we are better equipped to effectively assist a group attain it’s purpose.

Physiologically our voices are an important key to self expression and a doorway to self reflection. In authentic communication the muscles, membranes and passages of throat, mouth, sinus, lungs, and diaphragm, continually change and adapt to the situations in which we find ourselves.

Lets learn about ourselves……

We start by loosening up with some physical warm up exercises for voicework/singing. You could use your own exercises for this or download of the warm up routines I use – links are at the bottom of this earlier post.

Exercise One – How do you say your name? Walk around the space in your own rhythm quietly saying your name and listening to the sound of your name from your own lips….. what combination of consonants and vowels make up your name?… exactly how do you like your name to be said?…. what movements does your tongue make?… does it hit your teeth? rise up at the back? are the movements of your tongue rapid or slow? what shapes do your lips make? are there variations depending on the circumstances? … do you have several names? nick names? how do they differ and how are they the same?… include your family names…. how do the different names feel to say? how do they sound when you say them the way you like them to be said? what meanings do these powerful words have for you?

Keep walking slowly, keep the focus within, dance if you want to, make tai chi floating hands in the air, tracing figures of eight as you move forward, keep saying your name out loud to yourself….. say it louder, pretend you are introducing yourself by name to a stranger, or on a phone speaking with a family member….

How do the minute muscles and membranes of your mouth, throat, face and chest move as you say your name aloud? is there tension? where? is your mouth dry? are you nervous or relaxed? hot or cold? thirsty? how does this stimuli affect your voice making apparatus?

 Being with another

Find a partner – Have a conversation between yourself and another where the only words spoken are your names and the variations of these names.

With the awareness we now have of our delicate voice production apparatus we are better able to observe how it is affected by our interaction with another .

We can now observe ourselves in relationship. Can we focus on another while maintaining our relationship with ourselves? What changes? How do the muscles of respiration adapt? Our tongue? How does our jaw respond? Our larynx?

How does self consciousness affect the way our voice responds? Can we observe self consciousness aurally in the voice of the other?

Change partners – continue with your names and then add other key phrases – “I love to…….”, ” My favourite activity is ….” , ” My children’s names are ….”.

What happens when we listen to the ‘others’ voice? Can we perceive their throat muscles working? the tightness of their jaw/ tongue/larynx/lungs/sinus/head/eyes/cheeks? How far back to they throw their head when they speak? How does this movement affect us? How do we respond to our perception of tightness in another? of relaxation? Does our self observation extend to these minute and automatic reactions?

Exercise two In pairs take two minutes in silence to listen to the sounds around you – then record these sounds on a paper – record not only the actual sounds but where they reside sonically and what frequencies they inhabit. Listen for : near/far/dissonant/assonant/polyphonic/monophonic/metallic/woody/rustling/buzzy/sharp/soft/pleasant/unfamiliar/sustained or staccato, as well as sounds that travel from one side to another such as a bird flying over head, or footsteps traveling across the room …………

Come back to the large group and write a list of these sounds on a large central paper… you might need short discussions of the terms if people are unclear ….

Being with a Group

Form a large circle, with the list of sounds in the centre…. reflect together on these scope of these sounds…. we are going to make vocal music together using them.

Exercise three – Start with an Om – a group Om – with eyes gently closed – each person finds their own note – listening for each voice, listening for your own voice and also the softest voice in the group – so you can hear every single voice in the group – when everyone’s voice is present start to include the sounds you have listed – think about inhabiting the aural space together, sometimes in unison, other times in harmony, filling spaces with rhythm, or no rhythm, explore drones together or separately, bring all the ideas you have listed to the song, the sounds that travel, the sounds that change, the softer and louder moments, the pleasant and the jarring, familiar and mysterious. Represent your surroundings with your aural expression. Allow the song to mutate to encompass other sounds not previously presenced. Listen to the music as you are co-creating it , appreciate how your voice is contributing to the music and the muscles and membranes of your throats/tongues/respiration etc are accommodating all of the sensations you are feeling. Allow the song to find it’s own ending. Let it extend as long as it needs to as each person explores their own voices while listening to each others voices,

Listen inside the song, Be within the music. Be with the silence as the music ends.


End by saying your names aloud once around the circle.

Published by Kāren Hunter

Kāren Hunter is a New Zealand based musician, astrologer and ceremonial facilitator.

2 thoughts on “Being In Music

  1. How wonderful. Thank you Karen for sharing your work. The element of music and sound is so enriching and such an important element for being a whole person in a group, with ourselves and as facilitators. I am learning so much from your work.

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