Functional method of the voice: what it is

Functional method of the voice: what it is

A singing method that combines vocal expression and self-awareness, the Functional Voice Method is a continuous research that differs in methods and objectives from the classic teaching currents.


Conceived in the late 1970s by Gisela Rohmert , a singing teacher in Frankfurt, and Walter Rohmert , her husband, a university lecturer and engineer at the Ergonomics Institute of the University of Darmstadt, it is also called Functional Voice Training or Lichtenberg Method . 


It is in this small village that the two researchers founded the Institute for Instrumental Singing and Sound, which initially started as a place to carry out in- depth studies on the anatomy and physiology of the organs of speech , and then became a training school. for singers, actors, but also holistic practitioners and teachers.


In this castle a revolutionary and completely new approach is applied to the use of the voice and, therefore, to the teaching of singing .

The founding postulate consists in considering the voice as a vibratory instrument that each of us possesses in a totally instinctive and personal way . 


The organs involved in phonation spontaneously know how to produce sound in an optimal way, and to obtain the best results it is necessary to let this innate ability be free to create the “voice”, understood as vibration and self-expressive energy , even before being a goal.


This method, therefore, is configured as a series of tools to explore the sound inside and outside of oneself.


Far from applying the rigid respiratory theories adopted by all the other teaching currents that deal with singing, the Functional Voice Method does not so much train the use of diaphragm , breath, larynx, tongue and oral cavity, but rather stimulates an exploration of how sound is created at the vibratory level of these apparatuses. 


The voice as a means of self-knowledge

The teacher, with targeted questions, pushes the student to independently arrive at the discovery of what works best , thus amplifying the learning of the discovered instrument. 


It directs the student , with attention to the specificity of each one , to an in- depth perception and sensory experimentation of what happens to the whole mind and body system when the sound is emitted, when the vibration of sound passes through it , and for all phases. of birth and vocal expression, up to its complete unfolding: from the preparation to emit the sound, to the expression, up to the reception.


In traditional methods the body is a mechanical source of sound: the air, pushed through the organs of speech, produces sounds of certain quality and power, and the quality is the result of the exact execution of techniques. In the vision of the Functional Method of the voice , on the other hand, the body is crossed by the sound and is changed by it : first comes the sound, the vibration of the sound, then there is the instrument, then the body, which is at the same time its source, container and receiver.


This can therefore be considered, to all intents and purposes, a method of self-knowledge even before a method of learning how to use the voice better . It involves the breath, it involves the body and the awareness of the muscles of the body, it involves the sensitivity to the vibration of the sound itself, both internally produced and perceived externally, it involves the deepest part that resonates with the vibrations.

In the functional method of the voice, the awareness of the “singing body”, in every fiber, is the basis for expanding the personal and unique expression of one’s voice, as well as a deep means of knowing oneself . 


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