About me and my way
I have a long way of voice search behind me. I lost my voice as a little girl, but I always saw myself as a singer on stage. I learned various instruments, such as alto flute, which I mastered until I was ready for concerts. I also learned the piano, violin and guitar. I devoted myself to singing only in later years, when I was in a crisis and remembered my dream.
I am a classically trained contralto and got to know the most diverse singing methods and also pedagogues. In total, I attended 12 years of education and training in singing and still had the feeling of not being able to sing well and not having access to my voice. I was always looking for a depth that no singing pedagogy could really provide until I met the Lichtenberg Institute in the Odenwald. This encounter changed my life. Not only because I began to question everything I had previously believed about how life and voice worked, but also because I gained access to my voice. I am very grateful to the Lichtenberg Institute, especially Gisela Rohmert and Susann Arbogast, for their wonderful work. I followed Lichtenberg Voice Physiology for a total of 8 years, attended almost all of the thematic seminars, as well as the advanced training, and took weekly private lessons with Susann Arbogast over a long period of time.
In all the many years of vocal training and continuing vocal education, I devoted myself to the Rückert songs of Gustav Mahler and love this music. “Urlicht” and “O Mensch gib Acht” delighted my heart in a special way. Music, especially old music, has done it to me already as a child. Thus, as soon as I heard music, I indulged myself in a beautiful life in order to survive. Therefore, music is certainly my life saver and not only that – it is my greatest love, which cannot be described in words. Almost forgotten, I remembered it again during a seminar at the Lichtenberg Institute. It was like the reunion of an old great love. Then she had me again and I could not help but follow this love.
In my mid-40s, I began to learn the cello and took lessons. An instrument that touches me deeply. At the same time, I taught myself to play the chalumeau. Also an instrument with a beautiful sound. I devoted myself more and more to improvisation, certainly also because in music I longed for the moment when time stands still and when I dive into the depths of silence. It demands a real LISTENING, a real engagement with myself and the fellow musicians. Improvisation is like life itself, not knowing what is coming and engaging in the moment and always receiving what is already there waiting to be expressed. It is a breath of love which flows through me like a current of air. That’s how I love the delicate, the quiet tones that mostly lead us to our power, in such a loud and noisy world.
Since the regulation of my autonomic nervous system, I have been experiencing miracles that existed before but that I could not perceive. In this regulation, a lost resonance to my I, to my SELF reassembled and everything changed by itself, which I tried to change laboriously over many years. This delicate air current of love, has also expanded in encounters, in people who entered my life. Thus, I suddenly met people who were working on similar issues with a similar passion. I encountered respect and esteem, an open exchange at eye level, and I realized that I was probably not so alone after all with what I was exploring and thinking. As a pioneer, one often has the lot of loneliness, because there are not so many who understand what is going on inside you. Often I was unsure if all that I researched and experienced was true and I was simply overwhelmed by how many confirmations I got and still get. I am very grateful for the contact with Stephen Porges and his brilliant discovery of the ventral vagus nerve.
Since last year, I have been continuing my education in Estill Voice Training. I have attended the Level I and II courses, as well as courses in articulaltion and belting with Dr. Stefanie Rummel and am participating in a practice group in preparation for certification.
The exchange and our small research group with Stephanie Maurer (Switzerland) and Niki Beelen (Netherlands) mean a lot to me. We are a group of women full of passion, great spirit of research and we all bring 3 trainings in classical singing, music education and trauma therapy. We believe that the ear in connection with the voice has a great importance for the regulation of the autonomic nervous system and devour books, educate ourselves and learn from each other. This also gave rise to the podcast with Stephanie Maurer, which continues.
My background was as a trained systems and trauma therapist, transgenerational trauma transmission. I wanted to know how strongly the first contact and relationship experiences in our lives, influence the voice and came to the conclusion that they are ultimately the first training of the voice. We encounter these experiences again and again in singing lessons. However, educators know very little about this. Knowledge of developmental psychology, neurobiology and polyvagal theory are elementary here and play no role in vocal training.
Alone the term voice training shows that we need to train something that does not yet work well. However, I know that we already come into the world perfect and perfect and our voice is also part of it. We come into the world with our self, which contains our potential, abilities, task, vocation, voice,…. contains. However, because of our upbringing, we lose access to this self and therefore to our voice. This is due to our first experiences of relationship. Relationship instead of education would be the solution. We develop a false self or an ME that is full of conditioning but belongs to a false life. It is so normal that we believe that this false self is myself. Based on this false assumption, singing methods are then developed, but they assume that something is missing or needs to be trained, because in this false self we are not complete and we are also always missing something – basically our true self, which we cannot recognize. So the false self or ME is worked on and the voice is trained, ultimately trying to change the conditionings, which cannot work. In all the many techniques are usually the same compulsions that we have experienced in our childhood.
So more and more voice students or singers who have been traumatized by their vocal studies and have almost given up hope of singing freely and access to their voice, come to my institute.
I always experience beautiful, deep encounters, sometimes tears flow or it is laughed out loud. Everything that just belongs to life.
The time is now ripe, that this knowledge is heard and seen, to understand MenschSEIN and the distance to our true nature, more and more to recognize.
Let’s finally let the beauty into our lives.
Yours, Iris Hammermeister