Friday, July 27, 2012

Masterclass on Movement, Acting and Singing - Yoga Poses and Enhancing Performance of a Song

I recently ran 2 Masterclass/Workshops on Pilates, Yoga, and Acting and their Effects on Singing.  What an amazing time!  All of the students had fun exploring how freeing up space in your body can affect the singing voice.  They also had a chance to work with an acting coach on individual songs that they are singing both as a monologue and in song.  It was great for all to see how truly connecting to the character of the song can change how it is sung.  We also explored how establishing purpose to our movements we can free our sound even further. 

Why Pilates?  Pilates focuses on good posture, freeing the head and neck, free flowing breath and core strength which are all essential to singing well.
Why Yoga? Yoga also focuses on free flowing breath, good posture and core strength.  It also adds the concept of relaxation and focus of the mind.  The mind and body communicate to create an empowered state of strength and focus/stress relief.  This is an excellent way to combat performance anxiety. 

The combination of the two helps you become connected with body and mind so you react faster and work better as a unit to create.  free, relaxed and beautiful singing.

The Yoga portion of the Masterclass consisted of a few vocal warm-ups followed by a series of simple Yoga and Pilates poses and stretches designed specifically for the singer.  At the conclusion of the section, we repeated the vocal warm-ups to see if they had any effect on our singing.

- “The yoga poses really had an impact on my singing.  All of the sudden my body and my voice were open and it was easy to sing.”  Current Student

The Yoga and Pilates poses which we did in the Masterclass can be found in my Yoga Sequence for Singers or Shortened Yoga Sequence for Singers  Most poses are pictured in the sequence, but some are described in the contents.  I suggest adding at least 4 poses to your warm-up for singing.   Make sure that you take at least 3 complete breaths in each pose, inhaling through the mouth and nose and exhaling through the mouth.  Repeat each exercise at least once. 
Acting and Singing

The second part of the Masterclass included acting games and work on expression in a song each student is learning.  What a difference connecting to the character and emotion of the piece can have when you sing!  Compound that with allowing yourself to move and elongate your motions just how we stretch the length of our breath support for a phrase and wow did the singing change.
Many students said they enjoyed singing in front of others, hearing others sing and watching the transformation of the singing before them, or actually getting outside of yourself to interpret the character and song and think about how you were physically expressing yourself or not (happy but not smiling or scared, but not reflecting it on the face or body). 

“Acting out the song makes you try something new and look at things from a different perspective.” Current Student

A great time was had by all!  Go to see some samples of the Masterclass at  I am so proud of all of my participating students and look forward to a great Summer Recital!

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