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"Breathe In.Sing Out!"
Finding One's Own Song
by Vivianne LaRivière

There was a time in my life, when my singing voice was reduced to five notes. I croaked - couldn’t carry a tune, let alone express myself with full song as in my formative years, and believed that I would probably never sing again…

Then, about 12 years ago, I was working in a dark, sultry underground café. On one particular afternoon, one of the locals had shared a song and passed me the guitar. I gasped. I had an audience, something that I had not experienced for many years. Something greater than myself reached out for the guitar and dusted the cobwebs off my vocal cords. I shared a song that I had written a decade past about the potential hazards of life on the streets for a young girl.

I hope I never forget that moment. Aside from the reaction I received from those listening, I was approached by someone willing to help me with whatever I needed to get to the place that I was suppose to be. This was a turning point and definitely one of the highpoints of my road to recovery.

I sought a vocal coach who could revive my fledging ‘vocal child’ …I was looking for mentors to help me assimilate the musical information that was deep within my self. I became increasingly frustrated with their expectations of what I should sound like.

I started to work on my own, pampering my voice, nurturing it and seeing, listening, discovering the abode of each and every note that existed in my system. I struggled with ego and I often was drenched with self-pity, victimizing my voice, shaming my voice, and refusing to care for my ‘gift’. As my recovery process continued, I found myself expressing my issues in song, my perception of the world, love and self-love. I remember the day I surrendered and ‘breathed’. I had come to the point where I not only accepted my voice; I loved my voice. I had integrated my voice into my identity, discovering the Yin and Yang of my songline in accompaniment of other instruments.

Years of witnessing nothing short of miracles, has led to the development my own method of teaching that enhances and improves one’s breathing activity and voice - speaking and/or singing. I refer to as ‘Imexism’ and demonstrate it in a series of workshops, “Breathe In, …Sing Out!” It is designed for experiencing the breath as the center of our being, and recognizing and experiencing internal, external and eternal influences on our breath. The teachings of the Medicine Wheel contributed to the development of Imexism along with a variety of spiritual influences, like the Alexander Technique, Tai Chi and Yoga. The ultimate experience, using Imexism, is the discovery of ‘one’s own song.’

‘Without breath there is no life’

The classes begin with looking at poor breathing habits and trapped tensions in the body that are affecting breathing. Everyone has a voice. We help liberate the voice and the breath, delivering more oxygen, better blood flow and better overall health. Improved projection is achieved, and ultimately an improvement of self-esteem.

 “Breathe In, …Sing Out!” will help those participating achieve a better understand of their breath, their voice, and the results achievable by adapting to a few new ideas. Cedar Mountain Drums will be sponsoring a “Breathe In, …Sing Out!” four-week continuation course on February 1, 8, 15 and 22, 7-9 p.m.

Vivianne LaRivière, the instructor, is a professional singer/songwriter, (CD “Notes after the Rainstorm”) teacher, producer, and music industry consultant. For information on the course call Vivianne at Cedar Mountain Drums, (503) 235-6345