Toby has conducted vocal workshops at the following locations:
The Kessler Institute
Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center
Columbia/New York Presbyterian Hospital
Friend’s Health Connection: Healing Arts Symposium
Baltic Street Psychiatric Clinic
Interfaith Medical Center
New York University
Lincoln Center – Mentorlink
No prior singing experience is required. Many adults are disconnected from their bodies, cut off from their breathing and unaware of ways to use the body’s own sound-healing resources. Everyone can sound and sing for themselves when the intention shifts from performance to healing. Singing is both internally and externally connecting, as the sound vibrations reverberate inside the body and individual sounds mix to create a unique group sound. By starting with depth breathing, non-verbal sounds and movement and then progressing to vocal improvisations with and without lyrics, each participant can find a natural, more authentic voice with which to release tension and express feelings.
Toby will introduce music therapy concepts as related to her focus on the body, voice and breath to promote healing. Participants will learn deep breathing exercises to reduce anxiety and increase body awareness and use their voices in improvisatory music-making. Toby’s approach is both informative and playful. The intention behind this workshop is to introduce the power of the body’s own healing resources through breath, sounding, singing and movement.
Freely making sounds in a group can foster connections on many levels. Dr. Diane Austin writes “When a person is fully concentrated on the game and the moment of interaction, he ‘forgets’ himself and his fears – his critical self or censoring super-ego relaxes and he loses self-consciousness, thereby being able to allow the playful, child-like aspect of himself to appear.” Anshel and Kipper studied the effects of group singing on trust and cooperation in an adult group setting. They found that involvement in group singing stimulated and perhaps promoted trust and cooperation among the participants. Similarly, Gillian Stephens looked at the effect of improvisation on relatedness in adult psychiatric clients. She discusses how a person’s sense of self can be addressed through a personal repertoire of different sounds and that relating to others can happen by identifying the sounds of others, highlighting similarities and differences. On relatedness, she went on to postulate that “…the ability to communicate is rooted in the desire to share one’s sound with another person, and trust that that person will accept one’s sound.”