Creative Voice - Hilde Knottenbelt
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About Creative Voice

Creative Voice is a unique body of voice work that has been developed and refined by Hilde Knottenbelt in Melbourne, Australia, since 1987.

Creative Voice:

  • Works with the voice as an instrument for song, self expression and play

  • Makes connections between the body, the voice, the breath and the imagination

  • Navigates the world of sound, silence, resonance, listening and attunement

  • Enables individuals to work with a wide range of expressive qualities in their voice

  • Uses the basic elements of improvised singing including melody, harmony, text, pulse and vocal percussion to create improvised pieces or songs.

  • Draws on experiences of group members to create improvised sound poems and songs

  • Takes place in groups and in one-to one sessions.

Commonly Asked Questions

Experiences of Participants

Who's it for?

Aspiring and established singers, shower soloists, experimental vocalists, improvisers, people who sing or would like to sing in choirs or a cappella groups, playback theatre practitioners, musicians, music therapists, speech therapists, people who work therapeutically with story and story telling, and people who want to develop their capacity for attunement, spontaneity and creativity through voice.

Processes Associated with Creative Voice


When working with the Creative Voice approach, a group of vocal improvisers will frequently enter a state of flow both in themselves and with one another. This state is marked by an experience of present time, a sense of timelessness, a particular kind of non-thinking (J Fox: Acts of Service, 1994), a sense of being in synch.

This state can be experienced by equally by people who don't think of themselves as singers and improvisers as well as by experienced singers and improvisers. The capacity to enter this state can be strengthened and prolonged by the development of vocal expressiveness and flexibility, knowledge of musical syntax and harmony and repeated experiences of play over time. It's a combination of focused attention in a relaxed state and being able to choose when to come in, when to remain silent, when to compliment and when to take a clear lead.

This state of flow and creative engagement has a profound effect on our well-being and sense of connectedness to self and others.

Entrainment: Falling in and out of Time

Another element affecting the experience of flow is the concept of entrainment. First developed by Huygen's in the 18th century, this process involves the synchronization of two rhythmic bodies that initially run at separate speeds. When people engage in vocal improvisation, with or without a conscious intention to become attuned, they make adjustments in pitch, pace and resonance. Over time, they consistently fall in time with one another.

Falling in time is thus interconnected with the experience of being in synch associated with flow.

Actively Co-creating

As participants progress in their abilities as improvisers, they are able to couple vocal flexibility and states of flow with finely attuned listening and responsiveness. They have a wide view of what's occurring in the co-creative process. They act as shapers, initiators and supporters of others, bringing the uniqueness of their own particular musicality and feel for text to the whole.

History and Influences in the Evolution of Creative Voice

There have been numerous influences on the evolution of Creative Voice. Among the most significant are the a cappella tradition of unaccompanied harmony singing, psychodrama, playback theatre, group work, body-focused therapies including shiatsu and the many many people who have participated and continue to participate in the sessions. The creative integration of these influences continues to inform and contribute to the weaving of a unique body of work.


The experiences that emerge in vocal improvisation often echo the way we engage with life and learning. While we are singing, playing, listening and co-creating, we are also engaging with life and ourselves in life in a broader sense.

We may experience moments of inspiration, ease and connectedness. We may also experience moments of uncertainty, doubt, boredom and a sense of disconnectedness. The challenge is learning to live with all of that, as we open up our voices and experience the healing and wholing that the aesthetic experience of making music in the moment can bring.

Creative Voice with Hilde Knottenbelt