– Your voice is continually evolving as an instrument. You as a singer grow and grow older. Your voice is a different instrument at 16
than at 25 and different at 32 than at 54.
It continues to evolve as you grow older and gain life experiences. Our body cells, life situation, stressors in
life are constantly changing. It is so
important that you keep on track with what your body and mind are saying about
where you are with your singing.
The experiences that you have as a 16 year old high school
student are completely different than those of a 25 year old newly on their own
in the world. A 32 year old who has had
success as a singer but now is married with one or two children and a spouse to
consider has different experiences than they did as a single 25 year old. The list goes on. When your body is your instrument, the
stressors of life and decisions that you make really can change where your
A singer at all ages
and experience levels must pay attention to body and mind signals- What works
and what doesn’t work for you as a singer and as a person? Can you go out with friends the night before
a big performance or do you know that you will be much better off if you stay
at home and go to bed early? Do you sing
best after doing a short cardiovascular workout and a few yoga poses? Do you sing best after a small bland
carbohydrate snack or on a relatively empty stomach?
Life changes. What
works for you today may not work 10 years from now. Sure some things will stay the same, but keep
listening to your body and mind and take care of them both to make yourself be
the best singer you can be! What are the
generalizations of how to take care of yourself as a singer?
Maximize your Success
– You practice, you take care of your body (eat well, exercise, get
adequate sleep, you improve your instrument and make it the best it can be). What next?
Do you see a difference in your singing? How about your overall
mood? Do you deal with barriers and
hurdles in your singing better? Undoubtedly
the answers are yes.
Most singers agree that when they take care of themselves,
they not only feel better, but they have more successes. Get that solo, land a role in the musical
theater production, get into that college, feel comfortable singing in front of
others when you were timid before. The
accomplishments of singing are so deeply rooted in the efforts put forth not
only in your practice and dedication to your craft, but also how you take care
As a teacher, the best we can do is practice what we preach
and take care of ourselves while encouraging our students to take care of their
physical and mental well-being. Just
like in all aspects of our life, taking care of oneself leads to greater
success. Our needs and tolerances of
what we can and cannot do and still produce quality singing are continually
changing throughout our singing lives.
You are unique and it is worthy yout time to dicover your individual talents and what makes your instrument work at its' maximum potential. Stay tuned for more in my next blog Continually
Evolving Singing Voice.
What experiences have you had with your evolving singing
voice? Has taking better care of yourself
physically improved your singing and your self-esteem? Have you seen big
changes in your voice and your success? Have
you as a teacher witnessed changes?
It is not whether you are skinny or overweight, but that you are healthy all
around that will impact not only your self-esteem, but your singing. In order to feel good about what
you do, you must feel good about you. In
Classical Singer, November 2011, voice teachers give their view on Does Size Matter.
Most teachers agree, if students are very fit, sometimes they
have difficulty releasing the body for good breath work, and may be scared that
they look fat on stage, whereas if you are heavier, they may be self-conscious
about their size and see their smaller colleagues as being more attractive. How do you foster the development of a voice
in a student who does not have high self- esteem? You encourage them to do the best for their
body and mind and work on their self-image through the development of the person
as a whole and the beauty of their individual voice.
How do teachers approach the subject? Approaches vary, but body
image in terms of overall health and athleticism reinforces the idea that
singers need to be vocal athletes. Your
body is your instrument, take care of it as such. An athlete takes care of their body, is fit
physically, emotionally, and spiritually. A singer should also strive to do so
to be the best they can be.
The most important thing for a teacher is to encourage
students to think about how they take care of their bodies. A
performer’s appearance has always been important and in many cases, determined
the repertoire that they sang, William Neil, University of Oklahoma Vocal
Chair. Great voices are rare and should
be nurtured and developed carefully at their own pace and own time in a
friendly and supportive environment. The
discovery of what repertoire each voice is meant to sing is a quest for the
teacher and singer alike. Does physical
appearance play a role sometimes?
Unfortunately, yes. Does
personality also factor in? Absolutely.
Finding the drive to be fit- emotionally, mentally, spiritually,
and physically to have a singing career can be guided and encouraged by the
teacher but ultimately the decision of the singer. How do
you help your students approach their self-image? What do you as a student find the most valuable
from a teacher in regards to your self-esteem?
As part of any personal journey, you must be comfortable in
your own skin and have a positive self-image and healthy outlook on life. Singing as an avocation is fun. It can be challenging, but ultimately the
goal is to have fun and share your talent and communicate with others. Singing as a vocation can add another element
of dedication and commitment. It is
tough either way to compete with all of the other singers out there. How do you make yourself the best you can be
as a singer and have good self-esteem to carry you through? Part 1 of 5.
“I must be emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and
physically fit to have a singing career,” is the summary of Does
Size Matter ?, Classical
Singer Magazine, October 2011. In this
polling of a variety of singers, most feel that their perception of their body
image influenced the way they sang and how they communicated on stage. How you
feel about yourself and how your body reacts to that feeling is extremely
valuable to the performing capabilities of a singer.
A singer must have a positive self-image in order to sing
and perform at their best capabilities. You have to feel good about yourself no
matter what you look like. The
competition is tough and you are sharing a part of you when you sing. If you
are well-balanced emotionally, physically, and mentally you have a higher
chance of success. If you are just
learning how to sing, have patience with yourself and try to better yourself as
a whole in any way you can.
People with a negative
body image cannot get over how poorly they feel about themselves, and therefore
cannot truly present themselves to an audience.
Isabella Ivy, soprano
If you make healthy lifestyle changes through being
physically active and altering eating habits, you start on a path to being more
physically AND emotionally well-balanced.
Feeling good about your outside and inside make you emotionally strong.
The more in tune I am
with my body physically, the more connected I am to my instrument and singing
comes from an inner strength and confidence.
Christina Foster, soprano. No
truer words could be spoken. If you are
in tune with your body physically, your mind is in a more positive place and
confidence follows. Yoga is a great way
to get in tune with both body and mind quickly.
My body is my voice, and
they are both unique, Michelle Brook Alexander, soprano. Your voice is unique to you and you are
unique. Your voice and your body have a
place. Your voice may fit a role and the
music, but this unfortunately can only be overlooked to a certain degree. “Look the part” has been a part of performing
forever (both acting and singing). If
you do not look the part, you may need to vary the style of your singing
(oratorio versus opera versus musical theater) to maximize your success.
Practice a “lifestyle diet” in which you are passionate
about health, fitness, wellness, and singing.
The more time you spend on you as a whole, the greater a singer you can
become. What can you do in your everyday
life to improve your physical, emotional, and mental state to maximize your