Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Exercise, Diet and Singing Connection. Can it Equal a Successful Singing Career?

One of the many examples of a successful singing career which developed from finding physical and emotional well-being is Lisette Oropresa, opera singer. Starting out her career at the Met in 2006, she experienced a personal and professional revolution at the same time.  Being overweight at the start of her professional career provided some road blocks.  As her career got on the fast track to success, so did she to take care of herself.  "Intertwining the stretching and strength positions of yoga with running and allowing both activities to fuel singing helped me to heal as a human being."

In Lissette's struggles to lose weight to achieve her operatic career goals, she found that yoga and running "created a genuine happiness in me because they have put me back in touch with my center. I thought I was lost, my spirit crushed, and that I may never sing again, until I began to grow from the inside out."

At the same time she was re-vamping her exercise, Lissette began to really pay attention to what food she was putting in to her body.  Her childhood of unhealthy eating habits was catching up with her.  Winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2005 gave her the motivations to get moving and revise her eating.  "You are what you eat" and if you provide yourself with good, wholesome food, you produce a good, healthy product.  Lots of water, fresh fruits and vegetables, portion control.  You know the drill. 

Singing is a tough business. "You are expected to do a lot more than just stand there and sing. There is a big difference between looking the part and being fit"(Lisette Oropresa). It is competitive and you are expected to look and be the part (singing, acting, and dancing, in addition to being physically fit enough to carry the role).

Give yourself the opportunity to stand out from the rest by thinking about it now. Get out there and take care of your body which in turn will improve your singing.

What do you think about the exercise, diet, and singing connection?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fitness and Singing Revisited - Spring Exercise and Singing Goals, What can they do for you?

In the height of spring I am reminded of 2 things that are  re-invented for me this time of year:
1) New goals for singing and teaching
2) New goals for exercise

Why do they always happen at the same time?  They are inter-related.  What you do to improve your physical status influences not only your mental state, but how you use your body in singing.  In other words, exercise improves your singing, heals your soul, and motivates you to work harder. 

Think about it.  When you exercise, you get your endorphins moving and lift your spirits.  The stronger your body becomes, the more it physically can achieve or endure.  Singing is both a physical and emotional act. By taking care of the physical, we also take care of our emotional well-being.  Cardiovascular activity gives us a stress outlet and yoga calms that stress by making you truly pay attention to your body.

You increase your lung capacity and breath control with cardiovascular activity.  Running and walking are excellent forms of exercise you can take anywhere.  You create a stronger you who can do more.  Your body begins to work for itself.

Yoga helps to engage core (abdominal) muscles and to breathe deeply.  It also helps you to support with more strength.   Add to it that lung capacity and ability to sustain a phrase increases and posture improves.  Michelle Latour, faculty at University of Nevada-Las Vegas, states, "with yoga my posture improved and my desire to force my sound dissipated.  I am connected to my support all the time, my shoulder and neck tension no longer negatively affect my vocal production".

Interesting food for thought.   What do you think about the power of training your body to work for itself to therefore create a strong, healthy singing voice?  Tune in for Part 2- "The Exercise, Diet and Singing Connection".