Thursday, July 27, 2017

Summer Solstice! Find your inner motivation to sing through nature.

In the throws of the beauty of summer take some time, whenever you can find it, to use nature to motivate you and your singing.  The beauty of the sunrise over the lake, the sunset over the beach, a shade filled hike through the mountains or a walk on the beach, use nature to refuel you.  Composers and lyricists write so much music about the beauty of nature.  They are inspired by it, how can it inspire you as a performer? 

It often brings us back to reality or a sane sense of being when we spend time with nature.  Drink in the beauty of the sunshine or the bird in the tree, the rolling of the ocean waves.  You may find yourself humming a song of long ago as you allow yourself to enjoy and relax.  Whether it be "Son of a Sailor"or "Oh Shenendoah", music can be situational, relaxing, and inspiring.  Maybe that is a song you should return to in your practice or an image you could use as you perform a work in progress. 

Don't dismiss the value of enjoying nature and reveling in the relaxing atmosphere of vacation.  It can motivate and rejuvenate our inner soul.  Being outside in nature and enjoying relaxation of a vacation can inspire our inner artist.  Let it inspire you!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Preparing for that Summer Performance

With the joys of summer come many opportunities to perform in a variety of programs.  Whether it is a summer musical theater program or summer recital, how can you assure that your performance is the best it can be? 

1. Dedicate the time to learning the repertoire well in advance.  Learn the music as soon as possible.  Solidify all of the notes, rhythms and lyrics right after you receive the materials.  Work on dynamics and vocal quality so you can add interpretation, movement, and stage direction more easily at rehearsals or lessons.

2. Do your homework.  Know what you are supposed to work on and work on it at home so that time spent at the program or lesson can be spent building on those skills.  Review what you work on in rehearsal or lesson and take the next step as directed by your teacher or director.

3. Analyze the lyrics of your song.  What do the words mean?  What do they mean to you?  Can you relate to them or do you need to paraphrase it for yourself to better convey the message you are singing?

4. Research your song, role, and musical.  Where does your song come in the musical?  What is going on with the character?  Watch a video of the song by a few different people on YouTube for reference or watch the musical.  Find the context of the song and use what you watch and listen to as a way to help solidify your interpretation.

5. Practice in between sessions.  Add a little exercise, sleep, water and fresh air.

6. Build on those new skills. Repeat!

The time spent outside of a summer program and lessons is valuable to your overall experience.  Embrace it and enjoy!!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer Singing and Exercise/Yoga

Summer is in full tilt and so is singing fueled by outdoor activity.  I don't know about you, but when it's beautiful outside, I like to get in some good walking, hiking, biking, and sometimes yoga (beach of course is the best).  It has been a great stretch of weather to do this, so game on!

What does this have to do with singing?  When you workout regularly, you boost your lung capacity, energy level, tone your body and your mind. All of these can directly apply to your singing practice and performance!  Here are some extra benefits:

- Practice after cardiovascular activity (especially running or walking).  Your body is already breathing the way you need to in order to sustain long phrases with slow and low breaths!  

- Exercise gives you energy. You have more energy to schedule your practice time, practice, and perform. 

- Build endurance in exercise and singing.  Endurance in performances is key. You can sing longer and more beautifully because you are in tune with your body.

-Muscle use. You are in better shape and are more tone, so of course all of that practicing in the mirror isn't so bad (ha, ha!).  Seriously though, watch yourself as you practice and see how you are using your muscles. 

- A sharp mind.  Try a little yoga as well to continue to slow your breath and connect your breath to your brain.  A Zen state of being really helps you to focus. Your mind is sharp so you have an easier time remembering all of that technique, lyrics, and stage directions. 

Whatever your exercise passion (or what you find you like with trial and error), see how it affects your practice and performance.  In summer we are full of outdoor activity, so give it a try! A singer's body is their instrument, so treat it well and take care of it!