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Workshop: The Grain of the Voice

Sunday November 17 * 2pm * $10-40 sliding scale * REGISTER

The Grain of the Voice is a practical introduction to the voice beyond language. Through a series of tailored exercises, participants are invited to build new comfort with their voices as we interrogate the ways they have historically been constructed and disciplined by dominant linguistic structures.

The session’s first half is guided by Pauline Oliveros’ 1974 meditation, “Your Voice.” Oliveros’ pointed questions about the capacities and origins of our voices become an aural frame of reference, tuning the group’s listening as we attempt a series of vocal and social-emotional “warm-ups.”

The second half is conducted almost entirely without speaking. Material and constraints for a long-form improvisation are developed through a process of collaborative writing, and this devised “score” becomes the basis for the remainder of the session.

“If you can breathe you can sing,” a phrase borrowed from the pioneering vocal improviser Maggie Nicols, summarizes the anarchically inclusive ethos of this open-ended workshop. Participants of all ages, abilities, and experiences are welcome.

The workshop will be facilitated by Justin Jones. Justin M. Jones is an improvising vocalist, educator, and synthesizer player from Houston, TX. Rooted in a queerly extended lyricism, Jones’ wide-ranging performances and workshops are improvisatory attempts at vulnerability, learning, and intimacy. Jones has performed in ensembles featuring artists like Jaap Blonk, Audrey Chen, Joe McPhee, and the late Pauline Oliveros and works closely with many Houston-based collaborators including David Dove, Niki Herd, Gabriel Martinez, Stalina Villarreal, and Joe Wozny. He is a former member of the Improvisation Group of Lawrence University, current president of the DiverseWorks Artist Advisory Board, and Project Coordinator for Nameless Sound.