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Letters to the Editor Issue 186

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 186 - September 2011

Obituary: Angela Caine AGSM LRAM: 8 May 1937 - 22 July 2011

Angela was a gifted musician, teacher and researcher who worked tirelessly to develop a simple, effective and practical approach to the development and maintenance of the voice.

Angela Caine

Angela was borne in Nottingham, and moved to Rhyl in North Wales in 1945, where her parents established a boarding house, providing full board for 52 holiday-makers during the summer months. It was here that she learned her considerable home-making skills and a very strong work ethic.

From a very early age she loved anything to do with music, singing, playing the piano and when at 17 she gained a place at a Guildhall School of Music, to study piano and voice, she believed that she was on track for a life as a professional musician and singer.

After a successful debut with the BBC as an emerging singer she was given a scholarship for a further year at college to study opera. However, by the completion of that scholarship year Angela was beginning to have problems with her singing voice.  A second concert for BBC Wales was politely acknowledged with a cheque and a closed door. She later wrote that "I anticipated the closed door knowing as I stood there in the packed hall eye to eye with the conductor that we were both thinking the same thing - 'This is not good enough'. I tried in vain to make some sense of what was happening to me. My voice, always there for me before with so little apparent effort, became unpredictable. I became terrified of auditions, colds, getting tired, singing out of tune, making mistakes."  

Within a year she gave up the rigours of life as a professional singer and became a schoolteacher. Although she was still playing lead parts in amateur operatic productions, and singing oratorio, she was plagued by throat trouble, loss of voice and tonsillitis.

She sought help from teachers of singing and voice therapists, but nothing they suggested was of any help and her voice continued to deteriorate. Eventually she could not sing at all and was advised to concentrate on the teaching of singing because of her extensive knowledge of the singing repertoire and its performance. It was then that she realized that the training she had received covered only the music she had to sing, and she knew nothing about the voice itself: "When I began to have voice problems I could only concentrate on trying to solve running out of breath, singing out of tune, missing entries and being generally un-rhythmic, but these were only symptoms. The causes were in the imbalance in the rest of me, not in my voice."

Angela first attempted to correct this imbalance through the Angela Technique, while she taught singing part-time for several years at Highgate Alexander School in London. Eventually she embarked on a three year full-time study at Fellside Alexander School in Kendal. During that time Angela had a chance meeting with a physiotherapist and a dentist who were members of a special interest group studying functional approaches to cranio-mandibular disorders. She quickly realized that the Alexander Technique did not address all the potential problems affecting voice mechanics. She embarked on a long experimental research programme on the effects of orthodontic and chiropractic interventions on the voice, with herself as the principal subject, helped by a number of interested functional dentists, chiropractors and osteopaths. Angela's research on voice eventually extended to early development, tongue position, cranial therapy and pelvic stability. As a sportswoman (Angela played county league hockey up to age 45) Angela also recognized the importance of physical exercise. She wrote that...
"In 1991 I realized I needed to teach singing in a gym where people could move. I wanted singers to have reference for those parts of themselves they were using to sing so that they knew which muscles to strengthen."

The first permanent 'Voice Gymnasium' opened in London in 1991 and moved to Southampton in 1994. Over the next ten years Angela developed the VoiceGym voice and body exercise system that is now used extensively for the development and maintenance of professional voices. Alexander Evans, a former student and VoiceGym teacher, wrote... "I first met Angela in the mid 90s as a student at Southampton University. I became one of the first in a pilot study to see what effects Orthodontic and Chiropractic work would have on the voice. At the age of 18 I had lost my ability to sing; though there was nothing pathologically wrong with the voice, it became clear throughout the study that the way to recovery from my vocal problems was to explore what these professions could do for me and others with similar problems. Angela taught a number of students from the University, several of whom underwent similar treatment. Once I had become stable enough, I began to embark on what to date has been ten years of a career as a professional Singer, Actor and Musician which has taken me across three continents singing both opera and music theatre, on tours and in to London's West End - A testament to the power of Angela's work and the work of her associated clinicians. Though many steps have been made there is still naivety amongst the singing profession in ignoring the dangers of functional anatomy, dentistry and skeletal misalignment. As Angela wrote in my first music score, 'Beware the chiefs! Stick close to the Indians' ".

Angela continued to work successfully with many professional singers whose voice problems had defeated everyone else, supported by what is now a global network of voice-aware clinicians. She was an active member of The British Society for the Study of Cranio Mandibular Disorders (BSSCMD www.jawache.com) and one of the founding members of an International Functional Association (IFUNA http://ifuna.info/), promoting functional orthopaedic and orthodontic treatments that start to treat at an early age and involve the whole body.

She has written extensively in Positive Health PH Online and other journals, and presented at multi-disciplinary conferences throughout Europe on development of vocal potential, performance stress and the effect of both inappropriate dentistry and inappropriate training on performers' voices. She also published books of voice and body exercises, including audio CDs, for both adults and children, a text book for the development and understanding of the voice and an autobiography, The Devil Within (2006). The books can be purchased, and many articles can be downloaded from www.voicegym.co.uk.  

Her constant pushing of boundaries often lead her into conflict with the voice teaching establishment. Roger Thomas (BSSCMD member) wrote..."Angela was not afraid to fight controversy and in fact seemed quite prepared to meet it head on. It must have been a great comfort to her to find that over time her views were gaining ground. Angela was one of the most charismatic, gifted and innovative speakers that I have been fortunate to meet, being able to make use of her own artistic talents in her voice and on the piano as well as those of her students, to make her lectures come alive and be such fun."

Helen Jones (BSSCMD member) wrote... "As a functional orthodontist I was pleased to receive many patients referred to me by Angela. She totally understood the connection between structure and function. These patients had voice difficulties and she recognized that narrow palates resulted in compromised tongue space and that this was often a fundamental factor in regard to their problems. Working together we were able to enhance their singing, improve their health and help them reach their full potential. Angela lectured extensively and I am sure that she will have inspired others to follow in her footsteps. She will be sadly missed, not only by her family, but also by her many professional colleagues."

Angela was passionate about the well-being, education and development of children from the earliest age, helping them to achieve their full potential. She worked with osteopaths and chiropractors, using stretch, rhythm and voice exercises to help children with motor difficulties. She also worked with orthodontists, developing exercises to aid recovery and prevent regression of treatment in children with severe tongue thrust. Alison Holden, a Chiropractor who used Early VoiceGym in her practice, with children having developmental difficulties, says..."I am very privileged to have been able to learn from Angela. By the time I met her she had pulled together an amazing package of ideas, tying many concepts from many different professions. She had an amazing ability to look beyond her own knowledge base and pull out the relevant threads from others. This form of working functionally requires familiarization with multiple facets, and Angela had excelled in the work she did. She was passionate about her work, and I am relieved to hear that it will not be lost. She will be missed. I had hoped to share ideas and learn from her for many years more. Unfortunately that was not to be."

Angela's principal aim, after learning that she had terminal cancer, had been to be well enough to give her planned presentation to the 5th congress of IFUNA in November. Professor Michael Gorbonos, director of IFUNA, wrote... "Angela was a big figure in the world of Functionalism. She did many things that others would be afraid to do. She was always on the edge of progress, fighting for her beliefs. During the 5th Congress in Argentina IFUNA will give her an award for her life contribution to Functionalism."

Professional wind players are now also using VoiceGym to provide the understanding of the mechanics and physiology of performance not acquired in their traditional training. Sue Dent (principal horn player and teacher) wrote... "As a horn player and teacher I often encounter lack of resonance and clarity of articulation in students' playing. As a devotee of Angela's VoiceGym programme I appreciate the extent to which resonance is achieved through nurturing the suspension of the laryngeal mechanisms and the correct recoil of the tongue. It was her belief that as children are often denied rough and tumble play, their tongue and larynx doesn't assume its adult position. Lack of resonance and clear fluent diction can be heard in their speech. Angela's tireless work was cross-disciplinary and involved practitioners from many fields. The legacy she leaves will be continued by all those who, like myself, benefited from her valuable work."

As Angela Lewis, Angela was also the much loved wife of Chris, mother of Huw and Sian, and Grandma to Harry and Phoebe.

VoiceGym will continue to be promoted and developed under the care of Simone Laraway and Alexander Evans, who can be contacted through www.voicegym.co.uk.  

Editor's Note:
Angela was a true visionary and pioneer, whose work transcended many disciplines and will continue to have a significant legacy. Here are links to Angela Caine's editorial features and a review of her book The Devil Within.
 

Voice - the Forgotten Fitness Factor - originally published in Positive Health PH Online Issue 24 - January 1998.
www.positivehealth.com/article/sound-and-music/voice-the-forgotten-fitness-factor
 

Developing Your Voice as Part of Your Treatment Plan - originally published in Positive Health PH Online Issue 134 - April 2007. www.positivehealth.com/article/sound-and-music/developing-your-voice-as-part-of-your-treatment-plan
 

The Devil Within - The Story of Recovering a Lost Voice - originally reviewed by David Hefferon in Positive Health PH Online Issue 137 - July 2007. www.positivehealth.com/review/the-devil-within-the-story-of-recovering-a-lost-voice

 

 


 

 

Reflections upon Robin's Brain and Communication for Stroke Victims
Gill Ward

A Walk Through Robin's Brain - an excerpt of a taped dialogue between cancer patient, Robin Jones and his physiotherapist Mary Douglas - was originally published in Issue 18 - March 1997.
www.positivehealth.com/article/interviews/a-walk-through-robin-s-brain

Thank you for the link to the article on Robin's Brain. What a fantastic account of the shutting down of the systems! I read it with great interest. The writer was aware of his impending death which confirms to me something that I have long suspected, that individuals do know that they are going to die, especially when they are in that tunnel!
 
Having been in the tunnel, I well remember the sensation of slipping further into it which frightened me immensely. Like Robin, I felt that if I went any further into the darkness, (his doors), I would not be able to return. The problem was that no one knew I was there, and certainly, no one knew how to get me out!

I had a strong urge to look in a Bible and the words that stood out were 'Do not be afraid'. Well, of course I was terrified. It was as if God had spoken to me personally. I phoned the vicar at my local church and told him that I was getting messages from God. (there were a few more!). 'I know, signs!' he said. 'Yes' I said. He told me to come along to the Sunday service. In the sermon, he was telling the story of a man who committed suicide. 'What a waste, what a waste!' he said. Those words hit me and I realized that I was doing that. Really, those words helped to save my life. I felt that God had spoken to me through the vicar. I know how to get people out of the tunnel and a great deal more quickly! It took nearly 3 years for my poor mind to really come out of the tunnel and stay out. The medical profession really do not know how to do this. I have described a number of useful therapies on my DVDs.
 
Having visited a number of people who have had strokes, I am aware that frustration is quite often present, especially if speech is affected. Their intelligence is still there, but they cannot express themselves well enough to be understood. Some years ago, I wrote a list of questions and statements that a person might routinely need, for a gentleman who had throat cancer and could not communicate well. I have now printed this list for a number of people I have visited recently which I hope has been a help as they can just point to what they want to say. I am attaching the list in case you know someone yourself. I have added two more from reading Robin's account today which might be of value to the sufferer.

Communication for Everyday Purposes.

  • Hello, Hi, Good Morning/ Afternoon/ Evening
  • How are you?
  • I feel OK/ not so good today
  • I feel tired
  • I feel queasy
  • I am in pain/discomfort
  • Can you help me?
  • I feel cold/hot/shivery
  • I need the toilet
  • Please open/close the window
  • I feel hungry
  • I feel thirsty- May I have some water, tea, coffee, fruit juice, a stiff drink!
  • I want to be left alone
  • I want to see my wife/son/daughter/friend
  • I want to see the doctor/nurse
  • I don't like that! Could I try something else please? (In relation to food)
  • I would like to wear my pyjamas/dressing gown
  • I would like to wear my track suit/shirt/trousers/sweater/pullover/T-shirt
  • I would like a bath/shower
  • May I have some sweets to suck please?
  • My body aches
  • I want to go to bed
  • I want to read/watch TV
  • I want company
  • Thank you/ thank you for coming etc
  • I am well able to understand all that you say to me!
  • I know what I want to say but the right words won't come out!
  • Please add any sentences of your own

Gill Ward may be contacted via stressfocus@btinternet.com

 

 


 

 

Obituary:  Philip Anthony Salmon
1947 - 2011

Philip Salmon died on 1st May 2011 after a short illness. He leaves his wife Anna Jeoffroy-Salmon and three sons Alastair, Paul and Jamie, and Stepson Daniel.

Phillip Anthony Salmon

Philip was born and brought up in Bradford, Yorkshire and started his working life as an engineer in the Aircraft Industry. Philip developed an interest in Yoga in while at college, and as he developed more understanding of what he wanted from life, he changed direction and trained as a remedial masseur. He moved to Surrey with his first wife Pat where he developed his Energy Therapy and Complementary Therapy understanding and skills, while bringing up his family.

He worked at Enton Hall Naturopathic Clinic where, as a practitioner and manager, he planned and oversaw treatment programmes including, fasting, diet reform, neuromuscular massage, hydrotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic, for more than 70 residential patients. He then built up a thriving private practice. His qualifications cover many energy/holistic therapies, including Cranio Sacral therapy, Electro-Crystal therapy, Painless Spinal Touch, Touch for Health and Colour therapy, as well as, of course, Reflexology.

He is best known for the last 20 years as joint principal of Philip Salmon's Reflexology Centre and worked with Anna from 1993. After a number of years together she became his second wife in 2009. Their school was among the first accredited by the Association of Reflexologists  and he was also a great supporter of The British Flower and Vibrational Essence Association and frequently gave presentations at their conferences on the work that he and Anna have done on researching the link between Dr Bach's Flower Remedies and the Chakras. He is co-author of Dr Bach's Flower Remedies and the Chakras by Philip Salmon and Anna Jeoffroy.

As well as Anna and the family, Philip is missed and remembered by many friends and the hundreds of students who have over the years gained their Reflexology qualification with the school and for many found a new perspective on life. Anna will be continuing with their work and both the Reflexology www.energyworks.co.uk and Bach Essence Trainings www.bachcourses.co.uk.


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