Voice Set Free!

VMT Grass photo 1

‘Faith is a bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark’ Poetry by Rabindranath Tagore, India

No matter how dark our lives, cultures or experiences may be, our shadow is always a part of our lives, waiting for us to take the time to listen and attend to our most intimate of inner voices.

Our 2 day workshop was such a nourishing experience last weekend 25/26 April, in Sydney, Australia. So glad, VMT colleague Sophie Martin, and I could facilitate together.

Taking time out from the clock, schedules, duties and responsibilities of our lives to rest in harmony, rhythm and free movement, is sheer relief and joy.

Our bodies and psyches need this ‘time out’ so as to tune in and hear our own whispering and, at times, neglected voices that need safe space for expression.

Playing with contraction and expansion we used songs for aware containment- to float, soar, croak and croon with our voices.

I came away feeling deep fulfilment and peace, and loved seeing the genuine smiles on participants be the end of our 2 days together.

Sophie and I hope to offer more workshops in October 2015. More on that soon.

If you’re free come along!

Trish Watts

Kids kids kids!!!

Local kids shoes 3

When my friend Elain asked me if I’d be interested in assisting the startup of a new project ‘Cambodia Sings!’ I really had no idea what would evolve, I just said YES!

Last Sunday in Phnom Penh city, we had 22 local khmer kids turn up on our doorstep for singing. It has tripled since we started 7 wks ago!

Some of these 5-10yr olds have never seen or heard a foreigner before, let alone seen someone as old as me (70% of Phnom Penh is under the age of 30.) When we started I don’t know who was more shy me or them.

Consequently, I have sung so many kids action songs (in both english and khmer) that I feel like I’m Olivia Newton John – ‘let’s get physical’ – all over again!

It’s certainly a way to stay young and these children are hungry for singing and expressing joy….it’s truly beautiful to witness their magic.


The meeting ground – an exploration of VMT and Mask work

Recently one of our Voice Movement Therapy colleagues in South Africa, Gina Holloway Mulder, embarked on a 6 hour experiential performative seminar, sharing her research process of integrating Voice Movement Therapy and Maskwork. I was moved and excited to see pictures of her work and thought I would share some of it here with her permission

Here are her words…


“The derivation of the word “personality” proves that there was originally a profound understanding of the close connection between voice and personality. The word comes from the Latin persona, which originally meant the mouthpiece of a mask used by actors (per sona: the sound of the voice passes through). From the mask the term shifted to the actor: the “person” in a drama. The word eventually came to mean any person and finally “personality,” but over the centuries it lost its symbolic connection with the voice” (Paul Moses, The Neurosis of the Voice, 1954:7).

Over a period of eight weeks I committed to engaging deeply with Maskmaking and the work of Voice Movement Therapy in order to investigate whether or not the integration of the two would lead to acoustic and or metaphorical vocal development. I worked deeply with the archetypal images and physical sensations and discoveries as well as the emotions that arose from my investigations. In the end I had created and vocally and physically explored 9 masks: the Guide, Fear, the Beggar, the Saboteur,  the Mother Bird, the Nature mask, Silence, Shame and the Child. The Meeting Ground is a sharing of my process and my findings.  It is a ritualized, performative, improvised and experiential exploration, which aims to move the participant/audience towards thinking and feeling differently about both their acoustic and metaphorical voice.

For more information about Gina’s research you can contact her at gina@voice360.co.za

Voice Movement and Play with children


‘Voice, Movement and Play’ is the name of a new group for parents and children that I have recently been involved in and an experience I had to share.

As adults we are often trying to reconnect to our playful child, looking to re-experience our initial attachments, and learn how to just have fun again and explore the world in a safe environment. It is exciting and a privilege to be part of this initial play and singing experience with children. Parents have often reflected with me that they don’t know what to sing to their children, or are worried because they don’t know how to sing and believe they sound terrible. The songs we sing in the group are all songs that we grew up singing and are simple and fun, like nursery rhymes and folk songs. I say to them ‘What you sing is not important, the best voice is not important, what is important is that you spend some time connecting, nurturing, and having some fun with your children. So let’s get singing, moving, and playing’.

We spend the first part of the group within the structure of the sons singing such playful favourites as ‘Three little monkeys’ or ‘Old Macdonald had a farm’. I gauge whether the kids attending the group need more movement or just love to sit and sing and use songs that are good for these needs. We also involve playful aspects to this such as becoming monkeys or choosing things on the farm that the kids are interested in like horses. The children also get to play with instruments involving a sensory experience into their play and giving accompaniment, rhythm and beats to songs. We go with what interests the children most and have fun with whatever we make.

The last part of the group is always free time to play with other kids, make more music, or draw allowing the children to explore their environment and trust their own instincts. I love watching them get creative with puppets and cushions, jumping and playing together.

In the group we spend time singing songs that are all designed for babies and children. They all have movements that benefit brain and body development, and they all involve using  voice to connect and play with the children. Recent research shows that singing lullabies to your baby is incredibly beneficial and music with your children has lots of great effects for mood and emotion regulation.

In a recent study with paediatric patients at the Greater Ormond Street Hospital in London it was found that singing lullabies to children reduces anxiety and perceived pain. They found that live singing is likely to soothe pain to a greater extent than recorded music. This is because facial expression and visual stimulation are important. Equally as important is that the adult can suit their style of singing voice to meet the needs of the child.

So whether you are singing to your inner child or one sitting in front of you. Whether you are in the playground, at home on the lounge, allow yourself some fun and lets sing together!

‘The only thing better than singing is more singing’ – Ella Fitzgerald

Sophie Martin

Sudanese play

images-1  What an experience to recently meet a group of Sudanese women and their kids in Wagga Wagga, Oz. Although having fled for their lives as refugees, the core of their language is instinctual: rhythm, dance, voice! When meeting I said ‘Although I don’t know you, we share a primary heart language – our love of song and dance’. They grinned and said ‘Yes! We get lazy when we don’t move enough, and sitting in front of TV is not good, we get sad when we don’t sing’. One woman said shaking her head ‘I’ve forgotten all the songs.’

Little by little as we danced, played djembes and sang fragments of songs, memories were massaged and more and more came out….like remembering and unravelling the end of a night dream.  Games as children also surfaced and we laughed alot! Joining the dots to good times before war and famine, when community life was healthy and safe, and playful songs were part of daily diet and medicine.                                                            Could song offer that for us today?

Trish Watts

Welcome to the VMT Oceania Blog!

VMT Oceania mainGraphic

VMT Oceania is Trish Watts and Sophie Martin! Two vibrant Voice Movement Therapy Practitioners, Singers and Women devoted to life surrounded by Voice and Song.

We started this blog as a way to connect more deeply with others who share our beliefs and to share our experiences of voice, song and creativity around the world.


It is an energetic expressive arts system based on the artistic and therapeutic qualities of the singing voice. It is holistic and integrative in approach and grounded in the body. The work was developed by Paul Newham of UK and draws on the pioneering work of singing teacher Alfred Wolfsohn, actor Roy Hart and psychologist Carl Jung.


It is for those who wish to discover, reclaim, release and give voice to the myriad of expressions we are capable of as human beings. It is particularly wonderful for those desiring to sing; to befriend fear, judgment and vulnerability, often associated with being heard.

check out more on our website www.vmtoceania.com

so lets share our experiences……