Súper Taller de Voz y Respiración – 26 Nov ’22

Respira, canta, graba

Taller de voz y respiración con improvisación y grabación.  Altea, Nov 26, 2022
Cartel del taller de voz y respiración

Tabla de contenidos

¿Qué haces el sábado 26 de noviembre?

Reserva la fecha, porque te va a encantar! ¿Quieres cantar? ¿Quieres gozar de la música? ¿Quieres liberar la voz y sentirte artista? ¿Quieres explorar tu creatividad y sanar tu sistema respiratorio a la vez? Tengo el taller para ti!

El próximo sábado 26 noviembre vamos a juntarnos en un entorno natural a pocos minutos del precioso pueblo de Altea. Ahí, bajos los pinos, con el sol suave del otoño, vamos a respira el aire puro de la costa alicantina. Con ejercicios de la respiración del yoga y del canto, iremos liberando la voz y preparándonos para montar una pequeña improvisación vocal. Después de una pausa y una meditación en silencio, iremos al estudio de grabación para grabar nuestra canción. ¡Suena guay, no?!

Respiración consciente : Pranayama

En qué consiste la respiración consciente?

La respiración consciente es simplemente una forma de prestar atención a nuestra respiración. Se considera que la respiración forma un puente entre el cuerpo y la mente. El pranayama tiene como propósito cruzar este puente con intención para llegar a unir nuestro cuerpo con nuestra mente.

Todo eso suena muy esotérico, lo sé. Hay que tener en cuenta que los fines de la práctica del yoga son muy elevados. Tienen que ver con la liberación del espíritu y cosas así. Es todo muy noble, pero a veces no queremos llegar tan lejos. Es este taller, ponemos el listón más accesible. Aquí, tan solo pretendemos observar nuestra respiración, utilizar técnicas de ritmos respiratorios y retenciones (apneas) para modificarla y probar un poco de resistencia al dióxido de carbono (CO2). Todo eso nos preparará para los ejercicios vocales.

Calentar la voz

Cómo me puedo preparar para cantar mejor?

La voz es un instrumento que necesita sus cuidados y sus calentamientos. Es fácil concluir que “no podemos cantar” si carecemos de las herramientas necesarias para preparar los tejidos de la garganta y la boca para cantar. En realidad, si puedes hablar, puedes cantar. Es cierto que no todos somos Whitney Houston, pero cada persona tiene su rango (dónde estás más cómodo en la escala musical) y su timbre (las matices de la voz, lo que la hace única). A través de ejercicios sencillos, iremos calentando nuestras voces.

Improvisación

Cantar sin partitura? Qué hago…?

taller voz y respiración - la improvisación!

¡Dejemos surgir lo que surja! Dependiendo de quienes sean los integrantes del taller, qué rangos tienen, y qué onda hay, iremos improvisando un pequeño tema. No tiene que ser muy largo, pero buscaremos la musicalidad dentro de la improvisación. Dejaremos fluir la onda creativa, quizás creando un coro, quizás dividiéndonos en diferentes sub-grupos, quizás permitiendo un canto y una respuesta, quizás utilizando la voz como instrumento en forma “scat”…quién sabe? Escucharemos y dejaremos que nos escuchen. Co-crearemos un pequeño obra que, a continuación, iremos grabando en el estudio.

Meditación en silencio

El silencio y el sonido son opuestos y complementarios

Mientras se prepara el estudio, el grupo tomara un descanso. Se puede sentarse en postura de meditación, se puede usar el aseo, se puede tomar en té, pero todo en silencio. El trabajo del silencio es imprescindible para quien quiere cantar desde su interior. Tan solo a través del silencio y la escucha logramos percibir todas las matices de nuestra voz.

Grabación en estudio

Iremos al estudio de grabación para hacer unas tomas de voz con el micrófono y el programa de edición musical, Ableton Live. No te asustes, la parte técnica estará preparada para ti. Tan solo tendrás de acercarte al micrófono y cantar tu parte.

¡Ojo! Si quieres estar en el estudio mientras graban los demás, se puede, pero siempre en silencio. Si sientas la necesidad de hablar, habrá sitio afuera. Evitaremos entrar y salir mientras estamos grabando, para no perder tiempo y para no distraer a los demás. Al cabo unos 90 minutos, lo que hay, hay. Posteriormente, haré un poco de edición y cada integrante quedará con una copia de la canción.

Como me apunto??

Suena genial! Como me apunto?

Para guardar tu plaza, hay que hacer un Bizum de 20€ al teléfono 667997532 (Rachel Rose) indicando tu nombre y teléfono. El resto puedes pagar en el mismo día. Si decides por cualquier motivo no acudir al taller, guardaré tu aportación para las próximas fechas. Si lo tienes claro que vendrás, puedes ingresar el importe total (35€), claro.

Si te has quedado con alguna duda, mándame un Whatsapp al mismo teléfono y programaremos una llamada. Soy terapeuta y no atiendo al teléfono cuando estoy trabajando, por lo cual es posible que llamadas sin programar no estarán atendidas en el momento.

Una vez que te das de alta, te daré las indicaciones para llegar y la ubicación.

Que tengo que traer?

Una manta, un cojín, agua, un cuaderno y un boli. Y, claro, ganas de pasarlo bien con gente molona! 🤩🥳

Horario del Taller:

  • 10:00 – 10:30 Llegada
  • 10:30 – 10:45 Introducción y presentación de los integrantes
  • 10:45 – 11:30 Pranayama y ejercicios vocales
  • 11:15 – 11:45 Improvisación
  • 11:45 – 12:00 Meditación en silencio
  • 12:00 – 13:30 Grabación en estudio con Ableton Live (mientras que unos están grabando, los demás pueden seguir ensayando sus partes)

Próximas fechas

El taller se impartirá en inglés el sábado 28 de enero y en español el sábado 25 de febrero. The workshop will be presented in English on 28th January and again in Spanish on 25th February.

Figma plug-in 4 UX: html.to.design – Fabulous!

Table of Contents

html.to.design Figma plug-in
  1. html.to.design
  2. Installation
  3. Use
  4. Conclusion

Figma plug-in

html.to.design is a new plugin for Figma that looks to be an amazing ally to any UX designer.

I decided to give it a go and see how it can help workflow and creativity. Keep reading to see what I found…

html.to.design

Honestly, I didn’t even know that Figma plug-ins exist! I am a bit of a newbie and am still getting my head around Figma. It does seem like a very cool tool, and it’s certainly an industry standard for UX designers. Just a quick search on Indeed returns more than 1000 UX designer jobs that require Figma!

I admit that I find browser-based apps very click-heavy. As an old school Internet user, and someone quite used to the UNIX shell, I tend to use key commands more than clicks. Browser based apps don’t always allow key commands as the command might pass to the browser or system, rather than the app. So, I am moving with the times and adapting to browser based apps.

Installation

I had to log into Figma first. Then I went back to the plug-in page and clicked on the link. This opened a blank design. I navigated to the left menu and found the plug-ins. Lo and behold, there was html.to.design.

I tried to import the very page on which I had found the plug-in, https://www.figma.com/community/plugin/1159123024924461424/html.to.design . As this page is behind a log-in, I was not able to import it into the Figma plug-in. In the app dialogue box, they write:

“Need to import a private page behind a log-in? Get notified when this feature is available”

I signed up to receive updates in the hopes that this might also serve to trigger my memory later on! I notice that my mature brain is good at long-term memory and pattern perception, but my short term memory, which used to be absolutely razor-sharp (my mother used to say “you have a mind like a steel trap”), is not as reliable as it used to be.

How does html.to.design work?

I imported my own page and immediately the whole design and structure showed up. I played around a bit and made a prototype which you can view here.

Conclusion

This Figma plug-in is on fire! I love anything that makes life easier! One of the tricks they teach to aspiring UX designers is to UX the page of a company that you’d like to work for and send it to them when you apply for work. I think that this plug-in could be a real ally for UX designers new and seasoned.

Home Studio Diagram for 2022

My home studio

I love making electronic music! But, man does it get complex very quickly.

I could not for the life of me get the bass sounds that I wanted. I found this crazy little hardware synthesizer, the Waldorf Rocket, that is particularly good for bass sounds.

As the Rocket does not have a keyboard, you have to hook it up to something else in order to play it. It only generates the sounds. I called my AKAI MiniAK into action as a MIDI controller and presto!…sounds!

Here is my studio setup as of right now. Well, no, over there on the bottom right, I diagrammed the Traktor cabled to the Yamaha MG06 mixer. In the end, I am not using the Yamaha. Everything for production goes via the Audiofuse. When I dj, I monitor on my little old Yamaha Stagepas 300. The Stagepas has passive speakers, so I have to use the built-in mixing desk and not the MG06. Guess I should update the home studio diagram…

home studio set up

Home

In case you arrived straight onto this page, please check out my home page and check out some of the other cool stuff I get up to.

Superior Singing Method – Super 8-week singing course!

Would you like to sing better?

The voice has been one of my main tools for going on twenty years now. Since I found the Superior Singing Method, I am finally using specific tools to make my voice more stable, more robust and more reliable.

I always loved to sing. But, I was shy, and very soft-spoken. When I was about 23 years old, I had a major realisation: Whenever I tried to make my voice more emphatic, I ended up sounding angry. Also, if I was stressed, I would notice a whirring or ringing in my ears.

This is major, people! In order to move in this world, you have to make yourself heard and also listen to others.

A little music a lot of the time

My steps into music have been small but steady. Although I picked up the bass and played in an Ottawa band called PLANK, I knew that I didn’t want to be a professional musician (even if I had the talent snort!) Having watched a few friends “make it”, I saw the entertainment business as a stressful, uncertain place where drug and alcohol misuse was rife and from which artists could be spit out, broke and broken, at any time. No, I knew myself even then that I do NOT have the character for that sort of thing. I am way too sensitive. I used my brains, studied at Uni, kept my nose to the grindstone…but still managed a massive social life and huge enjoyment of music.

When I was in London, I got into electronic music, specifically hard house and late-90’s trance. I helped out on two promotions (Trinity at the Chunnel Club and Fahrenhite at The Soundshaft behind Heaven) doing the VIP list, taking people’s cash, helping the dj’s get into a packed club at 4AM…it was super fun, I didn’t sleep a Saturday night in over a year.

Singing and strumming

When I decided to stop all that nonsense, (haha), I bought an acoustic guitar and started doing open mics. My first forays into recording were weird, to say the least. Hearing your own voice recorded is extremely strange and basically incredibly HUMBLING. You realise that you don’t sound that good at all. OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH SHIT. How I wish that I had found the Superior Singing Method back then!

When I was in NYC in about 2001, I got this tattoo on my finger. Like that string you tie around your finger to remind you of something? This was to remind me to heal my voice.

Well, I kept bumbling along. During my yoga teacher training, I studied and practised mantra. I sought a singing teacher. But, it’s hard to find a singing teacher when you’re no longer in a place like London where modern music is celebrated.

Finally, I found the Superior Singing Method. From the first week I started to see improvements. This course is amazing. It is not expensive, you can do it from home at a convenient time and the teacher, Aaron Anastasi, is a great motivator. (He is also a life coach).

Invest in your voice, invest in yourself

A calm, beautiful, stable voice is a gift to yourself and to others. Here is my speaking voice. I also do some voiceover work 😉

Lo-fi Figma Prototype

As I carry on studying UX, I am proud to have made my first Lo-fi Figma Prototype! Here is the link:

https://www.figma.com/file/29fmuGt6ymNFHWqfWCm9IJ/Coffee-House-Wireframe?node-id=0%3A1

The process from ideation to prototyping is pretty straightforward, but is surprisingly long in execution, especially when you’re new to it. The Coffee House project is our common project on the course, and we use it for every assignment before proceeding to our portfolio project. My portfolio project, as I have said before, is to create a service review app for a fitness trainer. The two prompts are quite different, and the user journeys are different, but the user flows are fairly similar, and there are frames that can even be recycled.

User Flows

A paper wireframe that I used for my lo-fi Figma prototype.

After creating paper wireframes and then digital wireframes, we created paper user flows and the digital user flows. Over the on the right is one of the paper wireframes that I made, which I later digitalised on Figma. I like the design iteration as it gives me lots of chanced to refine my ideas. In fact, when I started the prototype, I had only drawn five paper wireframes. The final lo-fi Figma prototype has 11 frames!

Yoast SEO is telling me that the 190 words I have just written is too little, and that I need to bump it up to 300 words. I guess that I could, but I prefer to just go ahead and post this, and take my dogs out for a walk before evening falls. I have been working hard, and studying hard, and I would like a little time off. So, thanks Yoast, but not today. 😛

My home music studio.

My home music studio is where I make music, mix music, study UX, write, create and surf. I use Ableton for production and Traktor for mixing. I was dj-ing last week, with the black lights on, and thought it worthy of a photo.

an image of a home recording studio.

A clever Facebook friend pointed on that dodgy D key on the synth. Actually, the keyboard is fine, there was just a power cable hanging down. The synth in my home music studio, btw, is an AKAI MINIAK Virtual Analog Synth. I bought it second-hand this summer. I don’t adore the presets, but I like to play with a hardware synth when I get tired of looking at the screen.

The MIDI controller (below the iMac) is an Arturia MINILAB. I really love Arturia products for the home recording studio! So much so that my soundcard is also Arturia (the AudioFuse) and I have their software synths Pigments and Analog Lab.

A long trip through home recording

I have been playing around with production for a long time now. My first foray into Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) was on a course at Morley College in London. That was back in 1998! We used Cubase on Atari, in a dusty basement. Both the course and the concept were cool enough to invest in a big tower computer with a built-in sound card that occupied two slots of the motherboard BUS. I bought Cubase and tried to produce, but alas, I was always more drawn to composition on a guitar. My musicality and my songwriting developed nicely by learning guitar and training my voice. I never fully stopped playing with production, but nor did I ever fully embrace it.

Apple products called me back in 2001, and I invested in Logic on a PowerBook. Again, I tried, and made some productions, but was never fully invested. I still loved playing the guitar, doing gigs and open mics, meeting musicians. Truly, the solitude of the production studio goes against my grain. I am a very sociable person and my dearest wish is to find a production partner! Alas, so far this escapes me.

Ableton Live

I started using Ableton Live in 2009. The prevalent advice is “don’t change DAW”, so I stick with Ableton even though I hate most of the presets! I did a mixing course with Miguel Alsem at the Universidad de Alicante. This helped me a little, and having a producer boyfriend for a few months did too. So, I have lots of little things recorded (and taking up disc space!), but tend to “release” very little.

But, I keep on playing! My early Christmas gift to myself was an upgrade to Ableton 11 and the aforementioned Pigments software synth. Maybe I will finally pull all of this together and make those guitar tracks translate into the DAW and come alive!

Build Wireframes and Low-Fidelity Prototypes

After a short pause, I am back on the Google/Coursera UX Design Certificate course! “Build Wireframes and Low-Fidelity Prototypes” is the title of this unit, the third of seven.

Wireframes and Low-Fidelity Prototypes

Wireframes and Low-Fidelity Prototypes are the first step in creation of a solution for your product. That is a bit mealy-mouthed, isn’t it? Wireframes and Low-Fidelity Prototypes are a sketch of what you’re going to build. You take all that user research and start to turn it into something concrete – a design!

Whether you are working alone, in a small team or in a big team, the process of making ideas become realities is complex. Getting mislaid, off track or too granular too early is easy. The ideation stage, in which we created personas, empathised with them, understood their user journey and made problem statements has placed us in a position to now define what it is we are going to build.

Instead of a problem statement, we use a Goal Statement. We are building on the research we have already done by now defining what we are going to do and how we are going to measure the results.

User Flows

After that, we make a first user flow. They asked for a a sketch. I did that. But after submitting my work, I was that other students on the course had gone ahead and made a proper flow chart. It took me a little while to figure out where on Google Drive this can be done. I thought it might be slides, but it turns out to be Drawings. Once I got there, I faffed around a bit with design. But, I managed in the end. Funny, hey, how something relatively low-tech like a flow chart still has its learning curve. About a year ago, I started using Google Drive in earnest. I did a little certificate course (funded by the Valencian Government) and discovered that I quite like Cloud Computing. So, without further ado, here is my User Flow Diagram:

A user flow chart sketch for a service review app.  This is a typical Wireframe or Low-Fidelity Prototype for UX Design.
“create a service review app for a fitness trainer”

Where UX gets interesting!

This is where UX gets its hands dirty. Musicians attest that it is much harder to compose a song than to hum a melody. Getting ideas out of your head and into the world is hard, but it is the essence of any creative process. Creation requires patience, dedication, reiteration and plenty of self-doubt. I am happy to be back on the UX course! I took a little rest because I signed up for a dj course at MixPeople DJ School. It was awesome, and I learned a skill I have been wanting to polish for a long time. The Wireframes and Low-Fidelity Prototypes course began with a review of concepts from courses 1 and 2. I felt super chuffed (that is British slang for happy) to discover that the ideas, concepts and methods had stuck and I was able to remember them clearly after a nearly two months rest. Yay for my old brain.

Keep learning!

It is never the wrong time to study. It is always the right time to acquire new skills. Whatever strikes your interest, creates curiosity or stimulates serious reflection is worth learning about. It is tempting, these days, to read a few blog posts, scroll some forums or fast-watch YouTube tutorials, then consider yourself something of an expert. There is a certain humility is actually learning, in studying, trying to make new knowledge stick. I say go for it, get learning. UX does it for me right now. What would you like to learn?

The Elements of User Experience – J.J. Garrett

Rachel Rose with the book The Elements of User Experience.

The Elements of User Experience by J.J. Garrett proved a stimulating and thought-provoking text book which gave substance to my UX Design Course. I loved the book, and made time almost every evening to read a few pages. Upon awakening, I would try to remember what I had read the night before.

Studying is a slow and steady quest. Rarely can I dedicate large chunks of time to my course, but I chug along. I could have rushed into Part Two of the course, Start the UX Design Process: Empathize, Define and Ideate. But, I thought it wiser to buy the two books referenced in Part 1 and thus gain a more solid footing in the material. (The other book is The Design of Everyday Things. More on that later…)

UX

User Experience (UX), like many things tech-related, is a relatively nascent field. As we have broadened and deepened our relationship with technology, we have become more discerning and habitual in the way that we wish to interact with the tech. Making the user adapt to the company’s or the programmer’s vision (or bias) is no longer acceptable. It is a sure path to ruin in today’s competitive online market.

Enter UX. Twenty-five years ago, with insensitive regularity, tech savvy folks would sniff that “the user just has to adapt to the interface”. Since then, certain standards have been established that make information design and interface design more predictable and, well, usable. After all, that’s it: what we want to achieve with UX is a usable site that aligns with the product objectives.

The 5-Elements UX Model

Garrett identifies 5 User Experience planes: Strategy, Scope, Structure, Skeleton, Surface. The Elements of User Experience is a model that accommodates both information and interface design.

The author begins by explaining that the two points of view are opposite but equally necessary. Those who look at the Internet as a big database, who think mostly about the search for and delivery of information, view web development from one perspective. Those who see the Internet as more of an “app”, as something that lets you do something, contemplate it from another perspective. JJ Garrett came up with a model that serves both standpoints.

The Elements of User Experience

The UX 5 Elements Model (graphic)

This image is adapted from Garrett’s original work (2010)

A full description of the theory and application of the Elements of User Experience Design is well beyond the scope of this post. What I hoped to do is comment on a few things about the book and the course.

Takeaways from The Elements of User Experience

First of all, it is perfectly possible to do the UX Design Course and not read this book. I undertook this as an extracurricular activity and am I ever happy that I did. The course description of the five elements of UX is more than adequate. But, the book gave history, breadth and depth to the subject.

Secondly, Garrett is extremely good at defining common terms. It can be easy to think that you know the difference between interface design and information design, but some assumptions are not always true. Furthermore, it is good to challenge your own understanding. I feel much more confident now in distinguishing between the different parts of a web site or app.

Thirdly, reading this book helped me to perceive a bias that I did not know I had: I am an information person and have always approached the Internet from that perspective. Despite being a lover of pretty things, I was always thinking about the information. I discovered that bias whilst reading this book and now look at UX Design from a different perspective.

Fourthly, there is some Google bias in the UX Foundations Course. This is a criticism that I had seen levelled at the course, so was looking out for it. A fair chunk of time is dedicated to the “Design Sprint“. The Design Sprint is typically a week-long intensive in which the prototype design of a project is hashed out. Interestingly, in the last section of Garrett’s book, he says:

“Product development is rarely a sprint…thoughtful, deliberate design decisions will cost you time in the short term, but they will save you much more time in the long term.”

The Elements of User Experience, page 160, JJ Garrett, New Riders Press.

Fifthly and finally, Garrett emphasises the importance of planning and documentation. Every site I have ever created has been done on the fly. When it is for personal use, this is fine. But for professional work, improvisation will only get you so far before confusion, conflict and cracks begin to show. So, point taken. From now on, planning, wireframes and design comps are the order of the day.

Conclusion

The Elements of User Experience was an invaluable book and an excellent time investment. I was really grateful to the print book! Why? Well, I am studying alongside my busy work schedule and I don’t always want screen time just before bed. We all know how that turns out, right? To have a real book to read, just before bed, highlighter in hand, was just…lovely.

I am halfway through the second part of the course. I will keep you posted. Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Rachel

Alteayoga UX User Survey

A web site redesign needs UX and to define UX, you need a User Survey. So, using the Elements of User Experience, I created a User Survey. I will compile the results once they’re in. Let me fill you in on the background. Read on.

The Elements of User Experience

The Elements of User Experience is a fantastic companion of the UX Certificate course I am doing. This book teaches you how to think about web site design from two distinct but equally necessary perspectives. Web sites can be viewed as depositories for information storage and retrieval, or they can be seen as applications, that allow you to “do” something. To accommodate both points of view, Jesse James Garrett developed his theory, the Elements of User Experience.

The Five Elements of UX are Strategy, Scope, Structure, Skeleton and Surface.

Alteayoga logo - the site being redesigned according to the Elements of User Experience.
Alteayoga

Alteayoga is the name of my yoga project. I currently use alteayoga.es, but have alteayoga.com parked on Google. I will design the site with Webflow, a platform that we looked at in the Part 1 of the course, Fundamentals of UX Design.

The first thing I have to think about is the Strategy. To decide the Strategy of the site we are designing, we have to define two things: the product objectives and user needs. The product objectives are defined by the site owner or stakeholder, while user needs come from the users.

Thinking carefully, I figured out what I want, but how do I know what the user wants? To find out, I created a User Survey based the Elements of User Experience.

Product Objectives

Taking pen to paper, I defined my objectives – or, my strategy – for the redesign of Alteayoga.com. From my side, I want Alteayoga.com to

  • Open me to a more international/English speaking market.
  • Allow me to book and manage requests for online classes. (I often get such requests from students/patients who meet me on their visits to Altea).
  • Let me sell the yoga videos, meditation music and guided meditations that I create.

User Needs

To define the user needs, I need to do some research. Accordingly, I used Google Forms to create a short survey. My aim was to keep it short, neutral and simple.

To define my strategy, I need to know if my users use online wellness classes and if so, via what platform. Do they read wellness blogs and subscribe to them? Do they subscribe to wellness email lists? Knowing this will allow me to decide how I present the material and the project.

User Survey

If you’ve read this far, maybe you can give me five minutes of you time? The forms are hosted on Google Drive, but you don’t have to log into to access them.

Here is the UX User Survey in English: Alteayoga UX User Survey

Aquí tienes la encuesta en español: Alteayoga UX Encuesta Usuario

Conclusion

I hope to get a few responses, so that I have some material to work with. Even though I am taking longer than suggested to do the course, I truly feel that applying the methods contained in the course gives me the best chance of success. The course is very practical, and we will create a UX portfolio, but behind that, I need my web sites to be solid. So, here’s to defining my strategy!