Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Singing Lessons Help to Increase Concentration and Focus (Part 6 of 12 of What Singing Lessons Can Do For You!)
Musical study requires the ability to focus on details for periods of time. How do you sing that phrase with a long, smooth line? What is that rhythm? From reading music on the page to creating the music with our bodies, music making involves concentration and focus.
Those notes are small on the page. To interpret and read them, a student must be able to block out other influences and concentrate on the task at hand. No one else can do it for them as they cannot hide in a big class. The singing teacher helps each student to process the information on the page. Then their brains must interpret the notes and tell their bodies what to do. Repetition of the process to play or sing the phrase as it is written is necessary. Repeat, repeat, and the body and brain remember it. Repeat and add another command such as 'make these 4 measures one phrase and sing it in one breath' and one must really focus. Concentration is a must to do these things. It carries over to other parts of your life!
Just like when reading aloud as a young child, someone learning to read notes must learn to interpret what they are singing as they go. Remember the days that we spent following the words on the page with our fingers to help us to keep our place when we read? Were you ever asked if you understood what you just read? Learning to read can be a challenging task. Learning to read music facilitates reading words as it uses symbols that need to be interpreted just like words do. Eventually reading and reading music gets easier and you DO understand it the first time. The process of the eyes following notes (words) left to right gets easier with repetition and processing.
When singing, another form of focus comes in to play- what is my body really doing? Not only does your brain need to interpret the notes and words it sees, but it needs to multi-task and tell your body what to do. It sends a message to your vocal cords to vibrate at a certain speed to create that specific note. It also sends a note to inhale, fill our lungs with air, and control the exhale. We are not consciously aware of all of the messages, but learn to help our body control the messages more clearly. We can think, 'breathe slowly and deeply on the inhale and control the exhale so I can sing the whole phrase' or 'I want to sing this phrase in one breath, let me see how I can stretch my breath to accomplish that.'
These are complex thoughts when put together in a long strand in a sequence. This helps us increase our focus, concentration, and multi-functioning brain capacity! What great qualities to learn to help us to create beautiful music and accomplish so many other things in our lives!!
What are your thoughts about how musical study increases concentration and focus?