Frequently
Asked Questions
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How long should I expect to study?

As with anything that involves coordination, how long you study depends on your goals, your needs, and your budget.  Some performers and athletes have challenging goals and need to function at an elite level of coordination, so they study on an ongoing basis. Other people with coordination, vocal health, or pain issues study for whatever duration continues to bring them an improvement.  There are also people with modest or highly specific goals (such as improving their golf swing or preparing for an audition) who study for a much shorter period of time. Similarly to a piano or dance lesson, it won’t hurt you to study less, you just won’t learn as much.  For time and budget reasons, most people choose to study once a week as they work towards their goals.

Do you think you can help me --Who benefits from private lessons

and group workshops?

The methods I teach are designed to increase your awareness of how you are using yourself in daily life and to give you choices when you are in activity.  They are not a medical treatment or a quick fix. 

The people who benefit from the study are people who want to learn about their habits and how to work with themselves.  They believe that it’s possible to improve by increasing awareness of how they are using themselves and by making choices that result in freer bodies, voices, and access to creative expression.

 

  • If what you do can be improved by improving the use of your voice or body, lessons can help you.

 

  • If what you do can be improved by discovering how to more effectively work with yourself, lessons can help you.

 

  • If you are interested in learning about yourself and the choices that are available to you in the activities that interest you, I can help you realize the next level of your potential.

What is the difference between the Alexander Technique

and the Feldenkrais Method®?

The Alexander Technique is a way of working in with your self during activities in which you are engaged. The Technique can be used at any moment and be applied to anything at any time.  Much of the Technique involves un-learning unconscious physical and mental habits that are causing undue strain on your muscles and joints and are interfering with your body's natural coordination. Alexander Technique brings unconscious habits to

consciousness, and gives you choices based on the principles of free movement.

The Alexander Technique relates the function of each body part to the use of the

relationship of the head neck back and pelvis. This vital coordinating relationship between the head, neck, back, and pelvis is called the Primary Control. If the Primary Control is organized freely, then the coordination of your whole body – arms, legs,

breathing, throat, eyes, jaw, etc. will be more coordinated. The Alexander Technique perspective on movement is that the function of your individual body parts improves as an increasingly well-organized primary control better coordinates the function of the whole self.

 

The Feldenkrais Method® is a way of learning about and improving yourself through comparisons of movement options.  You start by discovering what movements you find comfortable and then work on expanding your range of comfort.  Feldenkrais ® uses a series of movement experiments to relate the way individual body parts can work together to find the easiest way to do an activity. Then when you are involved in that activity in your day to day life, your brain recalls the easy way to do that movement based on the experiences and discoveries you made in the movement sequences. Much of Feldenkrais® learning is experiential and unconscious. The Feldenkrais® perspective on movement is that the interrelated coordination of the parts strengthens the coordination of the whole.

 

Which is better, the Alexander Technique or the Feldenkrais Method®? That is like asking which is better a hammer or a screwdriver. Try hammering a nail with a screwdriver – you could do it, but why? Both methods of working are useful and which you use depends on your circumstances and needs

What is the difference Estill Voice Training and the Lessac System?

 

  • Similarities and Benefits: Each of these methods of vocal training has distinct properties and benefits. Both are kinesthetically and musically based training systems since they originated from classical singing. Both use familiar experiences to teach people to recognize and access the physical sensations and co-ordinations of healthy voice use. Both can increase vocal health, resonance, power, vocal range, and expressive options. 

 

  • Applications: Lessac primarily been applied to train the speaking voice, but it can also develop the male singing voice and the female belt. Arthur Lessac used to say, ”all speech is singing but not all singing is speech” Estill Voice Training™ has traditionally been used in voice therapy and training the singing voice, but it can be effectively applied to vocal health and character choices in the speaking voice.

 

  • Aesthetic Bias: Estill™ has no aesthetic bias and teaches both powerful uses of the voice (such as Opera and Belt), as well as co-ordinations that can be used only with microphones.  The Lessac System develops a powerful, tireless, resonant, and expressive voice that can be used in for presentations, teaching, and performing on stage, screen, and in the recording studio.

 

  • Text Work, Articulation, and Script Interpretation: The Lessac System works with language, and has methods of working with sound patterns within the text to uncover subtext and emotional connection. Estill™ Voice Training does not have a script interpretation or articulation component. The Lessac System has a highly developed and musical method of using consonants to increase intelligibility.

 

  • Voice and Body Training: Lessac is a holistic voice and body training in which the physical and vocal performing instruments are trained together.  Estill is a method of training the voice in which body use is used to support the voice, but is not extensively trained.

 

  • Scientific Research: Estill Voice Training ™ was founded upon scientific research. Individual vocal co-ordinations are specifically trained in ways that can be scientifically measured, applied, and combined to produce specific results. The Lessac System was developed through trial and error by working with stage actors on Broadway and in actor training programs. It has proven itself to be effective onstage and is currently being studied and measured scientifically.

 

  • Technique, Craft, and Artistry: Lessac System is a creative and innovative learning method that is designed to stimulate a performer’s imagination and ability to make kinesthetically informed artistic choices. With Lessac, technique and aesthetic artistry are taught and developed together. Estill Voice Training™ is a craft-focused study in which technique is developed in through concrete muscular training that provides the coordination skills that make artistry possible.

“I don’t know what to study. I just want help. Can you help me?

Call me at (610) 608-2237 or e-mail me at dgaary@aol.com and we can have an individual consultation to see what best would address your needs and situation. Describe your situation and I’ll tell you if and how I might be able to help you. Many people find it useful to set up a trial lesson to see whether this style of learning suits their tastes and need.

Are these lessons compatible with Physical Therapy?

You should consult with your physician or physical therapist about this, but the answer is usually, yes.

What Should I Wear to a Lesson?

No special clothing is required for these lessons.  I recommend that you wear comfortable street clothes in which you can comfortably sit, bend, and lie down. If you are working on a specific activity such as dance, running, singing in high heels, etc.… you may wish to bring shoes or gear that are appropriate for that activity.

Does insurance cover these lessons?

Since lessons in the Alexander Technique, Estill™ Voice Training, Feldenkrais Method®, and Lessac System are not therapies or treatments, insurance usually does not cover this form of study. But I have had students whose physicians prescribed lessons.  These students paid me directly and had their insurance companies reimburse them for the lesson cost.  You will need to have a discussion with your physician and insurance company to see if this circumstance applies to you.

Where do you teach?

  • Private Lessons: I teach private lessons in Ardmore, PA. and in Princeton, NJ. In special circumstances, I will travel to teach private lessons in people’s homes.
  • Private Lessons On Site: For an additional fee, I can travel to teach you at your business, organization, or home  
  • Groups: If you have a few friends or a group of people who are interested in studying together, I would be happy to teach you as a group
  • Workshops/ Group Vocal Coaching:  I can teach on-site at Businesses, Theaters, and Educational Institutions
  • Classes: I teach at Temple University, Arcadia University, and Westminster College of the Arts (Westminster Choir College)

What Motivates People to Help Themselves with these Methods?

People study the Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais® Method, Estill Voice Training™, The Lessac System of Voice and Body Training, and Acting for different reasons; for some the situation is urgent – they are experiencing pain, injury, stress, physical deterioration or vocal symptoms that need to be addressed. These people study because they want their lives back.  For others, their careers or hobbies require a high level of functioning and they want to learn how to better work with themselves so they can achieve their best, avoid injury, and keep doing what they love for as long as possible.  These people study because their pursuit of artistic or athletic excellence demands that they function at their best. And there are people who want to learn about themselves, enhance their experience of well being, and create a deeper relationship with their body, voice, and creativity.  Whatever your motivation is for taking lessons, study is an opportunity to develop your potential and improve your quality of life.