Vocal Freedom :: Songs of the Soul
Private Sessions and Group Workshops by Sonja Drakulich
In these sessions, we will experience the expanding and refining of our voices through the most liberating vocaltechniques and exercises I have found throughout the Eastern and Western world. The foundation of these techniques lie in the creation of pure, natural tone and in the unveiling of our authentic voice. Our body is our instrument, therefore alignment practices will be included that create an open, clear channel for our voice and purest expression. We will practice strengthening and coordinating the breath to create a strong foundation for our tone. Vocal placement is emphasized, as it is key in creating desired sound quality as well as accurate pitch. Ear training and note recognition is an integral part of the technique based work. Methods of healing vocal strain due to incorrect technique and health care for singers is also offered.
Creativity, Focus and Improvisation:
Vocal improvisation can be the most artful and rewarding form of expression for both the singer and listener. A supportive space, skills and guidance are provided while navigating and letting go of inhibitions. The mind has the most profound influence on our voice, therefore we will learn techniques of awareness in order to excel in our ability to focus, and allowing ourselves to open to creative inspiration. In each session, there is the opportunity to release blockages, fears, insecurities, doubts, worries and tensions, while experiencing our true voice, our new potentials and new freedom of expression.
A singer of any style who is looking to broaden their vocal palette and find solid technique are encouraged. Eastern European technique focuses on bridging the gap between the head and chest voice, widening the range of the chest voice. This is excellent technique for any type of folk singing. In each style, placement of tone varies, we will learn to identity where each placement of tone is vibrating, and how it influences the sound produced, further increasing body and mind awareness. Once we learn how to utilize the various colors of the voice, we then can consciously utilize our full palette for our expression and creative choices, rather than being limited by habit.
Folk Songs / Ancestral Songs / Sound Healing:
Not only is music is perhaps the most powerful tool for emotional haling, it is also an optimal way we can re-wire neuro-pathways for healthy brain / body function. Through the modalities offered in these sessions, we can utilize emotion to transform grief and sorrow into a form of healing and beauty. Singing is the most powerful tool in the realm of music which transforms ourselves in this process. By cultivating specific overtones and learning seed syllables and mantras that correlate with the physical and energetic centers of our body, we can easily reconnect with our capacity to heal oneself through sound, emotionally, mentally and physically.
The beautiful songs of the Balkans and the Near East, along with many other ancestral lineages, with their powerful and delicate vocal ornamentation are offered in these workshops. As creative beings, we have the ability through art, to not only to transform our own grief and blockages, but the unsung grief of our ancestors, allowing this energy to be liberated into it’s essential quality of beauty. Our bloodlines are the unseen rivers that when followed, will ultimately lead us to the ocean- the source. In our learning of these old songs as an unfolding channel, we can experience the unity within the seemingly disparate lineages and cultures, and in turn, the unity within ourselves. The creative process of art, and specifically song, has the power to transform unlike anything else in this world. We only need to show up for this process and learn to open, while increasing our own consciousness. All of the songs and practices will be given in the context of expanding the singer’s range, breath support, vocal colors and textures. Here we discover our unlimited capacity of creative expression and deep healing.
Exploring the realms of vocal expression, ancestral song and polyphonic harmony with Sonja has been so deeply nourishing and inspiring both on a personal soul level and on an artistic, professional level. Her teachings have informed my own spiritual and creative practices with their nuance and grace, and the songs I have learned from her have become integral offerings made again and again throughout my days and nights.
Eve Bradford- Poet / Singer / Producer
Sonja has always been a source of deep inspiration as an artist and as a teacher. She believes in me and my voice (far more than I do), and her unconditional acceptance, support, and patience have encouraged me to further build my confidence and trust my expression. Sonja is a warm, kind, wildly talented (yet unpretentious), profound (yet lighthearted), authentic and divine being – qualities that reverberate through her teaching and performance offerings.
Goyo Aranga- Musician / Designer / Performance Artist
I have never felt so much energy in my chest and heart as I have after working with Sonja. Her sessions taught me to forever think of sound as alive and having shape – shape I am making with this body and chest and heart.
Jade Raybin- Screenwriter / Consultant
Sonja is a gifted teacher with a deep knowledge of techniques that improve vocal quality and foster the connection between body, breath, heart, and voice. She makes her students feel at ease and is attuned to their individual needs. Working with Sonja has been fundamental to my growth as a professional singer.
Jeannette Ferber- Singer
Sonja’s teaching is one of a kind. It is what I have been missing since I moved here to the States. In my childhood in Germany our music teacher would teach us songs and their harmonies from all over the world. It gave us an understanding and feel for all the cultures in this world.
It was an amazing feeling when we are able to sing a song in three harmonies after she patiently taught us. The sound of our voices gave me shivers down my back. I am a repeat student whenever she comes from a distance to teach.
Marion Weaver- Sustainable Landscape Architect and Dancer
I have always had self consciousness about my voice. When I took Sonja’s class for a couple of months, I was so thrilled to find myself singing in the car and the shower, and eventually in front of friends with such ease. She is not only an inspiring singer but a very skilled teacher. She’s brings everyone’s voice alive like magic. She brings the universal resonance in her singing into her singing circles.
Hiromi Vardi- Qi Gong instructor / Shiatsu therapist.
Sonja is a wonderful voice teacher and I would recommend her to students of all levels! It’s clear that she has years of experience in teaching and that she truly enjoys helping others grow. She’s remarkably skilled in knowing what students need: the kind of materials to give, as well as the appropriate level of difficulty in exercises. I met Sonja at one of her group workshops, and as someone who used to play music, I could not believe how nervous and rusty I felt! Sonja was so calm and supportive that my nerves settled in minutes, and I had a blast singing with a great group of people. I knew that I wanted to study with Sonja because I was so impressed with her vast knowledge, and more importantly, how kind and helpful she was to everyone in the group. Our private lessons are super fun and challenging, and she always pushes me to the next level. I had never really heard Balkan music before, and Sonja introduces me to new styles and time signatures while keeping our lessons simple and approachable. She is able to pinpoint my specific vocal issues, and she works intensively to move through them. I’m so happy with the improvement in my singing in just a few weeks of working with her, and I’m learning a whole new approach to music and soundscapes. I fully trust Sonja because in addition to being a fabulous teacher, she is a working musician with invaluable life experience that gives her teaching context and depth.
Genny Krause- Yoga instructor / Musician