Intrinsic Singing Voice
Training & Therapy
*Certified Advanced Rolfer® & Chua Ka® Bodywork Practitioner
*Tomatis® Listening Training & Therapy working with singers, actors & musicians
Awarded Master NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback Brain Training Certification in 2009
I am David George Delaney, MA, ACR, LPC, an actor who sings and who has worked with professional actors and singers for more than 3 decades, most of that time in full time private practice in New York City. In 1982, I began helping singers release tension/fear/trauma from their bodies that prevents full access to the intrinsic voice, while simultaneously pursuing my acting career in NYC. I was a student, as well as collaborator, with Broadway voice teacher Margaret Riddleberger (deceased 2009). She is one of the inheritors of the physiological side of the Bel Canto School of Singing Voice from Italy.
Brief background: There was a split in the Bel Canto school when true emotion in singing was being asked for, not just beautiful tone where the words were almost secondary. (Margaret called this singing with a “paper bag over your head”!) Many singers began to have vocal problems because their training was not physiologically based and they had not put in the 7 to 10 years that it takes to develop as a virtuoso who will never have vocal problems. This physiological versus non-physiological split caused the rift in the tradition. Many singers who had lost their voices began to teach in order to earn a living in NYC, Milan, Paris, London and this non-physiological strain began to proliferate *I write about this extensively in my upcoming book entitled, “The Intrinsic Singing Voice”. I will send you a notification when it is complete if you will sign up here.
Margaret was trained in the physiological Bel Canto approach by one of the American inheritors of this tradition who taught opera singers at the Metropolitan Opera. Margaret sang at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC, later bringing this profoundly somatic-centered singing approach to the acting world beginning in the late 70’s. Her husband was a theater director and they owned a theater in the Washington, D.C area called the Caliban Theater. Margaret also held a Masters from Columbia University in what was then called “personality stress”, what is now called traumatic stress, or simply trauma.
I studied, apprenticed with and eventually collaborated with Margaret for 23 years, ultimately receiving her blessing to pass on this unique, somatic based approach to intrinsic singing voice development. “She saw that it would evolve with me to include a therapeutic and enhanced scientific clarity that would quicken and deepen the learning process. But even though it has therapeutic aspects, I have maintained my focus for working with singers who want to ascend to the next level in their vocal development. Yes, it is for sure therapeutic, but always with the goal and focus of uncovering and freeing a singer’s authentic voice. My work is grounded in the art of singing that Margaret taught me over 25 years and that will always be the case.
I was Margaret’s voice-studio body trainer/therapist from 1985 to 2002, when he left NYC due to the illness of a family member. My hands-on, neuro-somatic work with her singer’s (as well as other singers from the professional performing industry) shortened the time for singers to access their authentic singing voice where their voice was uniquely their trademark, and never producing vocal problems, no matter how much they sing. Without the ability to achieve the singer’s posture (also called the listening posture), to master bone conduction of your voice, to master control, as well as achieving independence in the speech center and the sound center, you cannot fully access your complete and free singing voice.
This singer’s posture is achieved internally, at the level of the emotional, or survival muscles, which we understand only a little about in the Western culture. My training with Margaret, as well as my training in contemplative exercise, meditation, and non-aggressive martial arts has provided me access to closely held techniques and practices of conditioning core muscles, which function most effectively in dynamic relaxation and elasticity.
Also, my training in the Tomatis® method of audio-psycho phonology is the other powerful scientific way to quickly accelerate a singer’s training time. In short, the inner ear is what’ sings’ if you understand the neuro-physiology of the vocal system. If you cannot hear the frequency, you cannot sing it essentially or you will sing sharp or flat or be unable to sing the note(s) at all. We can train and improve the audio-vocal loop and this has a considerable effect on color, timbre, resonance, range, placement and overall control of the body and voice.
The Tomatis® training has the effect of improving posture, due to the inner ear’s function with kinesthesia (awareness of our body in space) and how our body and nervous system interact with Gravity, (which for those scientifically interested is all about the Vestibular & Cochlear systems). I offer the Tomatis® Listening Test (see Listening Test results graph below) and we can see your precise audio-vocal profile . With this, we see where you are having vocal limitations or dysfunction, correcting them with an at-home training device now called TalksUp® (originally called Dr. Tomatis’s Electronic Ear). With precise listening training, chosen for your specific requirements that you listen to one hour an 20 minutes daily for 14 days, we can advance your mastery over your voice. All this is based on Dr. Tomatis decades experience working with professional singers.
Often, individuals can do up to an average of three at-home Intensive’s and the benefits are permanent. We can also do in office active voice work when that is needed. And I will also likely strongly recommend Forbrain® technology active voice training for integration time between the Intensives.
The virtuoso, the perfect master of his voice, or musical instrument, knows how to control with maximum precision all the parameters of the song she/he is rendering. With this understanding, Dr. Tomatis showed that improvement of the auditory skills of a performer, specifically of his self-monitoring through listening, allows her/him to acquire a greater mastery of his voice (instrument for a musician). Thus the Tomatis method, applied to singers, actors, and musicians, increases listening ability and leads to an improvement in performing potential.
Also a Certified Advanced Rolfer®, my specialty is working with professional singers, voice professionals, and musicians. I am a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology, a Cranio-Sacral Therapy Practitioner, Certified Master NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback Trainer, EMDR trauma psychotherapist and am Certified in the Tomatis® Approach of audio-vocal training.
I am also an instructor of the Chinese martial art T’ai Chi (done for health and relaxation) and Psychocalisthenics®: Master Level Exercise, among other exercise approaches for unifying body and mind. I have taught contemplative exercise, meditation, and bodywork to singers and musicians since the mid 1980’s. I have also worked privately with numerous theater professionals including acting coach Harold Guskin and Tony award winner composer Albert Hague, among others. And I performed my one-man show in NYC, “Love, Desire, and Growing Pains”.
My approach to working somatically with singers is this: our body is the roadmap of our life and it holds all our unconscious, unresolved memories of fear that go back into our early infancy and childhood. This held fear manifests in the form of tension, unconscious protective mechanisms, energy blocks, decreasing limited mobility, avoidance mechanisms, emotional issues, metabolic issues, joint issues and loss of intrinsic (emotional) muscle resilience. A certain amount of unresolved, traumatic stress prevents us from fully accessing our emotional muscles, also called the muscles of initiation, or survival muscles, or what David likes to call the singer’s muscles. This is a well established truth that we singer’s must understand and embody.
We must eventually accept how the body-psyche defends against acquired, past unresolved fear that was too much for us to assimilate and integrate when it occurred. My work with Advanced Rolfing® Instructor Michael Salveson in 1985 introduced me to Dr. Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing® principles and approach of autonomic nervous system discharge for encouraging traumatic stress resolution naturally and non-invasively, that all mammals are capable of. This is the streaming effect, or when the cat or dog ‘shake’ tension out of their body and return to a relaxed state.
I help singers refine the skills to build the presence, confidence and intrinsic vocal skills to sing for audiences in their unique and authentic voice without ever acquiring a vocal problem, no matter how many hours of singing they do. And to do so without a microphone, mastering what is called sonic return.
I also work with voice teachers, coaches, as well as singers who are studying with other voice teachers and methods to help them transition into a more somatically based singing approach. Not a music teacher, but an actor who sings, David’s work is unique: a somatic, motor skills singing voice trainer and therapist.
Here is a link to a published article on my somatic work with singers: LINK