MORNING HAPPINESS: A very thirsty squirrel (and a quick tutorial on breathing like a singer).

MORNING HAPPINESS: A very thirsty squirrel (and a quick tutorial on breathing like a singer). September 7, 2016

Good morning, all!  First, here’s your little bit of morning cheer for today:

Little fella is thirsty

Fall voice lessons start today. Like the Spring, I’ll be teaching on Wednesdays and Sundays. Today I get to take on five new students, some of whom I can see have lots of potential.

The first voice lesson always run pretty much the same.

First, I always try to ascertain their level of comfort with physical touch. Sometimes making physical contact is simply the best way to get an idea across. The only hard rule in my studio is that if physical contact is ever made in a way that makes the student uncomfortable, they communicate that immediately.

Once that’s out of the way, it’s time to convey a few basic truths:

  1. Singing is not about strain, as with weight lifting. Singing is about control, like trying to balance a quarter on edge.
  2. Tension is the enemy. Tension closes the throat, and we want to keep the throat open. Good singing is relaxed from the sternum up.

Then it’s time to work on breathing, which is the root of all good singing. If you’re not breathing well, the rest falls apart. Breathing should relax you and be very, very deep (you should feel the area beneath your shoulder blades expand). If you can hear the breath (as if you were breathing quickly because you were scared) then there is tension. Try to remove that.

Once the breath is in, getting it out correctly is not as simple as exhaling. People often wonder what it means to “sing from the diaphragm.” Welp, there’s a real easy way you can feel it! Grab a balloon, put one hand over your tummy, and blow up the balloon. Feel your tummy poof out, not because you told it to, but because your body realizes that’s the most efficient way to get the air out of your mouth (while keeping your throat nice and open)? Boom! You’ve discovered “support.”

Doing it while adding sound is a whole different monster, but baby steps.

Good singing is doing a million different things at once, so it’s beneficial to work on one thing at a time so that eventually you can forget about it.

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