The Schlaffhorst-Andersen Method
A brief introduction
1. What are the ideas behind the method?
Clara Schlaffhorst and Hedwig Andersen were both born in the 1860s. In 1897, they translated Leo Kofler's book "The Art of Breathing", and developed from it a holistic approach:
Voice, breathing, posture, movement and psyche are all closely linked. They form a system of mutual interdependencies, individual to each person, which also determine how one communicates with others (voice production, language, way of speaking, posture/attitude etc.).
It follows that any dysfunction in this system can only be considered and treated sensibly within the context of the whole.
A central feature of this approach is the optimisation of the functioning of the diaphragm, with the aim of restoring the tripartite process of breathing (inhalation - exhalation - pause). The same principle can also be applied to every other type of muscular function: the conscious inclusion of the pause allows regeneration to take place within the sequence of activity.
Schlaffhorst and Andersen describe in great detail the relationship between the vocal and respiratory functions and the sounds of the (German) language. This "phonological function work" includes not only practising articulation but also making beneficial use of the mutual interdependence between the sound and its specific effect on the organism.
Ways of regeneration (rotational movement - pendulating movement – regularity of movement - breathing – intonation/vocalisation).
They seek to use these to achieve the following aims:
- to restore the tripartite process of respiration (and movement) which is individual to each person and situation of life;
- to encourage costoabdominal respiration, in order to give more strength and elasticity to the respiratory musculature and maximise vital capacity;
- to improve posture and "respiration-related forms of movement";
- to improve the vocal function and enhance its capabilities;
- to train an awareness of different bodily functions and their interdependencies;
- to encourage the acceptance of responsibility for the necessary changes in one's own behaviour;
- to co-ordinate internal (respiratory) and external movement;
- to achieve eutonia of the entire muscle system (i.e. to compensate for incorrect tension caused by stress);
- thereby to achieve economy of effort in the use of the respiratory, vocal and locomotor functions;
- or: to achieve the highest possible performance with the least possible effort.
Verbal and also non-verbal communication are governed by posture, mobility, wakefulness etc. These terms describe not only the external but also the internal characteristics of a person. Thus every enhancement of external physical features also influences the state of mind and therefore the development of the personality.
2. In what profession is the method applied?
The Schlaffhorst-Andersen Method has taught since 1916, originally under the name "The Rotenburg School of Respiration".The school has moved several times. Since 1982 the "Schlaffhorst-Andersen School" has been recognised under Sec. 148 of the Lower Saxony Education Act as a voluntary vocational school. It is the only institution that provides training for the profession of
"State-registered respiration, speech and voice teacher".
Since 1977 the school has been run by Christliches Jugenddorfwerk Deutschland e.V. (CJD, Teckstrasse 23, 73061 Ebersbach). It moved to Bad Nenndorf, Lower Saxony, in 1984.
3. What does the training consist of?
Under the Vocational Schools Order, a person who fulfils the admission requirements and is accepted for training as a state-registered respiration, speech and voice teacher is required to follow a three-year full-time course that covers the following practical and theoretical subjects:
- Medical subjects: anatomy, physiology, pathology, phoniatry, pneumology etc.
- Teaching methods for those with speech disorders
- Vocational instruction, law
- Schlaffhorst-Andersen subjects: individual and small group tuition respiration and singing / speech / movement
- Teaching method and didactics
- Musical subjects: piano (individual tuition)
rhythmics (tuition in small groups)
choral singing, music theory
- A six-month external placement in the 4th Semester
4. Which job prospects will there be after completing the training period?
State-registered respiration, speech and voice teachers can work in the following fields:
- in the therapeutic/rehabilitative field in cases of
a. speech, linguistic and flow of language problems
b. voice disorders
c. respiratory dysfunction
d. disorders of the musculo-skeletal system
e. vegetative dystonia, cardiovascular disorders etc.
- in the prophylactic field
preventive medicine and health training in work with children and young people, health and social education and the training of teachers and child-care professionals
- in the musical/artistic field at schools of music and drama, conservatoires, theatres etc.