Hands to Mouth: Manual Mimicry in Choral Singing and Conducting

Caron Daley

This session bridges the fields of Speech-Language Pathology and Choral Conducting to introduce participants to manual mimicry, a tool that links the spatiotemporal parameters of hand gestures to vocal articulations. Manual mimicry offers choral conductors a new approach to facilitating the production, unification, and expressivity of vocal sounds for singing.

In this workshop, participants will explore the theoretical constructs of embodiment and entrainment, as represented in Dalcroze Eurhythmics and the Theory of Entrained Manual and Speech Systems (TEMMS). These foundational frameworks will be used to solidify a reciprocal relationship between body movement and vocal sound. Participants will learn a taxonomy of hand gestures related to the timing, placement, tension, and quality of speech sounds for singing. Manual mimicry techniques will also be applied to the teaching of foreign language diction and to the conductor’s use of hand movements in performance gesture. Implications for student learning will also be discussed, including the effects of embodied teaching on retention, memorization, and enjoyment.

Join speech-language pathologist and educator Dr. Heather Rusiewicz-Leavy and choral conductor and conductor educator Dr. Caron Daley for a hands-on session designed to equip practitioners to create a rich vocabulary of sounds and gestures for choral singing and conducting.