BOOKS

EMPOWER YOUR VOICE

Empower your Voice: Women in Business, Politics and Life is written for the woman who wants to not only improve but change the way she communicates with her voice and body. It is inspiring, inviting and informing as it lays out a process for real and lasting change in how a woman expresses her ideas and opinions. The complementary video, featuring the author and two clients modeling the exercises, offers a full vocal warm-up which can be done daily to bring your best voice, body and mind to each communication opportunity.

One of our many challenges as women at work is the pressure (whether internal or external, real or imagined) to be simultaneously feminine, sexy, maternal, funny and a trustworthy, competent leader. Traits that are stereotypically “sexy” (soft voice, soft gestures, artful glances) are opposed to the recipe for confident, authentic communication that Rena lays out in this book. Some habits we may have accidentally picked up along the way must first be broken down to make room for new skills. If “power without press” feels inauthentic at first, give it a few weeks of practice. Soon you’ll find yourself armed with an aligned posture and a stronger, healthier voice – suddenly, communicating with these tools becomes natural because it’s your body’s favorite state of being!

Anna Fearheiley

VOICE AND THE YOUNG ACTOR

“This hugely entertaining, yet profoundly informative book by Rena Cook is destined to be a hit with the high-school drama student. In thirteen chapters, with come-hither titles like, ‘I hate my voice,’ ‘Why am I so tense?’, and ‘No, I don't have marbles in my mouth,’ Cook's important addition to the literature is very welcome.

Before becoming an internationally-known figure in the voice and speech world, Cook was, for sixteen years, a high-school drama teacher herself, so knows of which she speaks! Cook includes fictional blogs from students wrestling with the vocal demands of the theatre they have so recently encountered, and she speaks directly to those concerns.

The book explains the nuts and bolts of phonation, articulation, breathing, etc, in a very easy-to-follow and sensible way. She provides frequent and succinct summaries of her teaching, enjoyable and relevant exercises, and invites the user to make a journal-cum-blog of this excellent work book.

It features an 85-minute DVD of 28 filmed voice workshop exercises with the author and two students Fully indexed, with a generous reading list, and wonderful photographs of ‘just-like-me’ high-school actors at work on stage, this book will readily find a warm welcome among its intended readership."

-Paul Meier

BREATH IN ACTION

“Breath is life. Breath is key to all human activity,” write Jane Boston and Rena Cook. “Breath is essential to survival. We breathe or we die. Yet breath is rarely examined in detail.”

Examining the critical role played by breath is what editors Boston and Cook hope to accomplish in their new book, Breath in Action: The Art of Breath in Vocal and Holistic Practice (May 2009, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 256 pages, paperback, 978-1-84310-942-6, $24.95). Offering the latest theories from a range of communicative and holistic fields, the book shows that if we can learn to breathe better, we may communicate better, act better, sing better, and feel better.

Bringing together a group of leading practitioners and theorists from the arts, the healing arts, and the speech and medical sciences, Breath in Action combines personal narratives and historical scholarship with practice-based evidence and easy-to-follow breathing exercises. Each section of the book looks in detail at a different aspect of breath: breath and the body, breath and the mind, breath and holistic practice, and breath and performance. Together they show that deep, mindful breathing can spread calmness, power and vitality throughout the mind, body and soul, and provide a means of transforming one’s voice and one’s self.

A comprehensive guide to the potency, impact, and authority of breath, Breath in Action is required reading for voice and speech trainers, performers, professional speakers, holistic practitioners, and anyone else wishing to master the art of breath.