Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tonal Tuesday - The Well Muscled Singer

Somehow that title brings to mind a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger singing a tra-la-la.

Mind you if he wanted to learn, Embro Thistle Singers would love to have him.  Maybe he could teach us about keeping our muscles in shape for singing well.

As I do more research into being a choir leader, I am realizing that ideas I took for granted when I was younger are now coming more to the forefront.

As choir leaders, we often focus on the vocal warm ups but can forget the physical part necessary for the voice to work well without strain.  As singers, we can make a difference by keeping our bodies in shape.  No you don't have to be an "Arnold" but there are some simple things that will make a difference for you whether you are singing or not.

1. Posture is Key - Stand legs slightly apart leaning slightly forward so that your weight is supported by the balls of your feet and not the heels.  Start with hands comfortably at your sides (a perfect stance for singing).  You can do this standing at the counter chopping veggies or waiting for a bus or while standing beside the neighbour's car trading inside tips on extending engine life.  If you practise this posture at all times, it will become second nature.  Not only is is good for singing, but helps you breathe more efficiently and align your internal organs so that they work better as well.  Okay T.M.I. (too much information?).

2. Walk - Park far away from the store and walk to the door.  Make it part of your day to walk at least 20 minutes.  This can be done 5 minutes at a time.  Walk around the block at work.  Walk around the mall on bad days (our small town doesn't have a mall so we use umbrellas a lot). When I was tranferred to a school in another town, I parked at the Board Office that was a 20 minute walk from my school and then walked.  It is amazing what you can do to fit in this simple and yet perfect exercise.

3. Ride a Bike - My dad rode his bike many miles a day far into his 70's.  If walking doesn't appeal then a bike may be the answer.  Even a stationary bicycle or treadmill may be your answer.  I like being outdoors but you have to do what works for you.

4. Take Classes - At the last American Choral Directors' National Conference, they had yoga classes for conductors and participants.  Yoga is not my thing but I love kick boxing.  Since those classes haven't been happening, I find my arm muscles are a bit sore after rehearsals.  Guess I need to find another class.

Whatever it takes, do something good for you.  Keep your body and your voice in good shape.  But for goodness sake, have FUN doing it!!

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