Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Thank you Teachers of 2020 "Good Educators Share Knowledge. Great Educators Make an Impression That Stays in Their Students Hearts Forever." Part 5 of 5

 As a quick wrap up to this series on "Good Educators Share Knowledge. Great Educators Make an Impression That Stays in Their Students Hearts Forever", I just want to say thank you to all of the teachers of 2020 who are out there doing their best to teach our youth today!  And thank you students and families for joining us on the journey and embracing the new ways of learning of this challenging time.

Teachers: No matter your subject area or age that you teach,we need to continue to support one another in our challenges and successes.  Reach out to each other today to make sure your fellow educators are okay.  Share a good story or something you found successful in your teaching in our modified models of 2020.  Offer to be an ear or a help to someone who has hit a roadblock in how to do something.  

What are you finding is rewarding in teaching in these challenging times?  What are the benefits you see?  I know I find my students are more prepared for their lessons and we are having fun exploring different opportunities to create music!

Students: Stop and think about what you are learning about your OWN learning style.  What works well for you?  What is challenging?  What do you enjoy about learning in these different ways?

Focus on the POSITIVE and YOU will make your world a Masterpiece!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Voice Lessons and Chorus or Band: Tribute to "Good Educators Share Knowledge. Great Educators Make an Impression That Stays in Their Students Hearts Forever." Part 4 of 5

Study of music  in the form of Voice lessons, Saxophone lessons, Chorus, Band, or participation in Drama and Musical Theater Productions have such a large impact on students.  It is here that many students truly witness the concept that "Great Educators Make an Impression That Stays in Their Students Hearts Forever".  


Many Years of Study--Part of this phenomenon is that it is and opportunity to have MANY years of study with the same teacher so there is continual development of the skills of and whole of a person.  

Individual Voice Lessons or Instrumental Study is a one on one opportunity to help develop musical skills and impact students over the course of many years.  As the students ability levels change, so does the teaching.  As their musical tastes develop, so does their repertoire and exposure to repertoire they didn't even know existed.

Although choir, band, and drama directors deal with many students at a time (often in much larger groups than the average classroom), they often also have the pleasure of teaching the same students over many years.  As students grow and change, teachers affect them in different ways.  It is an ongoing continuum of learning where students grow from year to year thus creating a large impact on students. 

Music and Drama as a Subject Touch the Heart and Soul

Music and drama study really touch the heart and soul of a human being.  Whether it be interacting with the other musicians and thespians in the room and creating a unique bond through those interactions OR an individuals response to the music they are making that lifts their spirits and makes them feel good to create, the impact of these subjects on a person can be so profound.

Music and Drama Study Develop Many Aspects of a Person as a Whole:

Study of music and drama instill discipline, ability to accept and work with constructive criticism to make something the best it can be, encourage creativity and so many more things!

Stop and think as an adult:  What are some of your fondest memories of your education in your youth?  Many reply taking lessons, singing in choir, being in the musical, marching band.  If not musically inclined it may be a particular group project or research which YOU did.  Something that mattered or interested you at the time are what stick with us.  Someone stirred that interest in you and the TOPIC fueled your interest. 

Stop and think as a student:  What are some of the things you remember the most fondly of your education so far?  Is it taking voice lessons?  Participating in band?  Missing being on stage in a Musical Theater Production?  Something stirred that interest in you (was it your teacher, your parents) and that TOPIC or how making the music, singing, acting, made you feel keeps you there.

ENJOY your moments in music and drama!  Seek out opportunities available to you.  Let music and drama teachers help you to explore all that is out there!  In 2020 many opportunities are available in different formats due to social distancing. Some may be more likely on a 1 on 1 basis such as Voice Lessons- sign up to enjoy today!  Others may be outdoor opportunities in small groups- let yourself enjoy all that you can and be impacted by Arts Teachers over many years!  Trust me, you will never forget it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Individual Music Lessons: Clear Example of "Good Educators Share Knowledge. Great Educators Make an Impression That Stays in Their Students Hearts Forever." Part 3 of 5

Now almost a month into school, have any new teachers started to have that profound impact on you?  Are they a teacher you had before?  Or is it a new teacher and a new way of learning that make you appreciate them more? 

Last week I shared 2 teachers who made a large impression on me and there are more.  My 5th grade teacher had one year to make an impression on me and did so in a big way.  He was there when I needed someone.  My voice teacher had many years to make that impression because learning singing is a lifelong skill in which I have invested much time in lessons.  My band teacher, choral teacher, drama instructor and future voice teachers also had a large impact on me.  In study of these areas, I had many of the teachers for multiple years AND ongoing guidance in areas that interest me.  The same is true of a coach in a sport which students get to learn across many years.  They can shape our path for years to come. 

This week I want to address Individual Instruction in music and the impact it has on a student (and next week group instruction).  Individual instruction in music (voice lessons, guitar lessons, piano lessons) has a very powerful connection between student and teacher.  The teacher is sharing their knowledge with the student but moving at the students pace and addressing their individuality along the way.  Taking time to talk about individual posture for singing, where THAT student feels resonance, learning about reading music, discussing music preferences and what style or music suits THAT students voice.  

As Independent Voice or Instrument Teachers, we work on building the individual through years of study in many areas.  Here are some of the benefits of individual voice lessons (or music study in general)

* Teach Individual skills including fine tuning the instrument and musicality

* Develop a person and character through one on one interaction and teaching responsibility 

* Build Confidence 

*Teach discipline to craft their art 

* Explore the INDIVIDUAL voice and the changes it may be enduring as a student has vocal demands of both choir and the musical, going through puberty, how the voice responds to singing different styles of music or languages.

* Through many years of study, continually develop musicianship skills and the person.  We get to interact over a longer span of time and do have an impact on the student as they develop as a human and musician!

* Specific to singing and chorus:  There is a human heartbeat to singing.  A sense of belonging, of making music with YOUR voice, the person playing the piano, or the human singing with you (choir)

Many of these characteristics are present in the teaching of the arts in a larger group as well, which we we explore next week, but in the day and age we are living in with so many restrictions to publicly making music together, I wanted to address the many benefits to taking SINGING LESSONS (even if online for a while).  

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

"Good Educators Share Knowledge. Great Educators Make an Impression That Stays in Their Students Hearts Forever." Part 2 of 5


It is beyond imagination the impact that a teacher can have on a child.  Last week I challenged you to thank a teacher and also to think about a teacher who impacted you and why.  Teachers are working even harder in this year of 2020 to do what they love, TEACH, and shape lives.  They are met with added challenges and still persevere.  Yes, I am a teacher too and realize why.  It is partly because of the teachers who taught me.

There are many teachers who have greatly impacted a life that stick out to me from an article I recently read:

A high school English teacher impacted the life of one of her students and encouraged her writing.  She is  now famous author.  The author has thanked the teacher in many of her prologues.  Without the teachers words and encouragement, she would not of set the goal to be an author.

The caring nature of a 10th grade teacher towards a child who lost their parents gave the student the courage and drive to attend school and be one of the first in their family to go to college.  The teacher became a reason for the student to show up to class and do well when the child thought there was no longer a reason to do so.  He gave him a purpose and to know someone was counting on him.

These examples may seem severe or out of the ordinary, but they happen everyday.  Who were the teachers that impacted you?  Did you thank them yet?

As I reflect on my teachers who had the biggest impact on me, I am reminded of the life lessons they taught me and want to share a few who stand out to me:

Thank you, Mr. Bob Wilkey, my 5th grade teacher.  He helped me through some struggles during that year.  He believed in me and gave me courage to believe in myself and my strengths.  He and I have kept in touch over the years.  I know he has done the same for countless students.  

Thank you to my first voice teacher, Pat Conrad, who also believed in me and fostered my talents.  She showed me the joy of singing and love of helping others to learn to sing at their best.  It was so valuable to me I decided I wanted to do the same.  I continued to return to her for years to come and sang with her for many more.  I think of her often as I teach and all she taught me.

YOU as a teacher make a difference.  YOU as a student are impacted and YOU as a student also give teachers the motivation to do what they do.  We all give energy to one another.  Keep it positive and share your positive influencers.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

"Good Educators Share Knowledge. Great Educators Make an Impression That Stays in Their Students Hearts Forever." Part 1 of 5

 "Good educators share knowledge.  

Great educators make an impression that stays in their students' hearts forever."  

ESPECIALLY IN 2020! (Part 1)

I read these words a few days ago and it really rang true to me as something to remember right now!  Educators are working harder than ever in this wild and crazy year of 2020!  Not only are they doing what they love, TEACHING, but they are becoming proficient on technology, planning more than ever to hold seamless virtual classes or simultaneous virtual and in person classes, and trying to reach their students in all the different ways that they need through the computer and/or with COVID safety measures in person. So many challenges and so many added responsibilities.  From the math teacher, to the 5th grade teacher, to the Chorus Teacher, to the college professor, to the Voice Teacher, I have no doubt some of the teachers our kids really remember in their lifetime will be from this time.  

Teachers, take a moment and breathe and know you've got this.  It will take extra time and patience, but your work is important and we will all get through this together.  (Yes this is a pep talk for me too!)

Parents and students, take a moment to breathe and remember 'patience is a virtue'.  You've got this too, you can adapt to learning in new ways.  What teachers are sharing is still important.  Not only the CONTENT of what they are teaching but HOW they teach with compassion and WHAT you learn about humanity.  What sticks with you?

EVERYONE, take time to do something that lifts your spirits!  Listen to music, sing, play the guitar, go for a run, dance.  

Once you have done that, think about what TEACHER really touched your life and why?  Was it in a particular subject or just who they are?  Tune in next week for more.  In the meantime, take an extra moment to thank a teacher you appreciate in your life right now.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

What? School is Online? I need a creative outlet and 1 on 1 interaction-Try Singing Lessons!

 Ah 2020, what is going to be next?  School (and work) is online for many of us and so many students need a creative outlet with one on one interactions.  Singing Lessons may be the answer!

Think about it:  Music has been the one thing that everyone went to when we first went into quarantine in March.  How many videos did you see of people singing and making music together through the computer?  How did it make you feel?  It made me feel good and think about how much music soothes the soul or as a recent colleague said, "Music fixes everything."  

Music and singing specifically gives you an outlet for your emotions.  A chance to explore what lies within you.  Interacting with a voice teacher is a human connection that helps you improve those skills. 

 The one on one attention makes you feel like you are important and what you do really matters.  It does. Sing from the heart and work on improving something within yourself.  Try singing a new style of music, learn to sing in a different language.  One on one singing lessons have so much to offer!

Making music gives you a creative outlet, something we may be missing with online school.  Singing releases feel good endorphins.  Go out and sing your heart out to lift your spirits.

Do you love choir but not feel like you are getting the same satisfaction when singing in an online choir?  Maybe you need more individual human interaction and guidance from a singing teacher.  Not only can you hone your skills, but feel better in the process.  

Sing a bit to yourself.  Go on, Give it a try!  How do you feel after a bit?  Would you like to make it sound even better?  Reach out to a voice teacher like me today and get started!   Voice Lessons Inquiry

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Reduce Your Anxiety and Improve Your Overall Well Being with Yoga, Pilates and Singing Part 6

I hope you joined me in the fun of planks and the experiment to see how it affects your singing.  After a few weeks of adding 2 planks to your daily practice, what happened?

I noticed I started supporting my singing from my abdominal muscles immediately upon doing my warm-ups.  A plank activates the abdominal muscles to do exactly what we want them to do when singing:  contract lightly but firmly.  It also activates the quadriceps or front muscles of the legs. Engaging these muscles when standing helps us activate the internal abdominal muscles and provide adequate breath support to our sound.

My breath support was balanced from the start and I avoided the potential to oversing even in emotional passages.

My brain also was truly focused on singing from the start.  The extra couple of minutes to get myself set to sing made an impact. 1 or 2 minutes of concentration on a muscular task also calms the brain.  Instead of trying to calm it down to focus all on your own, physical motion helps you.

It also calms and slows down your breath from our quick paced and uncertain world.

Comments from my studio:

"The planks help me develop a stronger core which I can feel."

"A tighter belly creates more breath support which is therefore easier on my throat when singing.  I always want to start my sound in the throat without using my breath first.  This is helping me to break this habit."

"My core is getting stronger to use it and guide my air better."

"I am connecting with my breath more now when I sing."

Thank you to all of you who commented on my blog The 2 Plank Challenge-What-does-doing-2 planks before singing do for you?  Most singing teachers agree that adding planks and other physical activities help singers be more in tune with their bodies, minds and improve singing.

"I've been advising my clients for years to do the Plank Challenge in order to build up their core strength - very effective :-) http://30dayfitnesschallenges.com/30-day-plank-challenge/" Kim Chandler

"I have been having my students planking for a year, I have been doing it for a long time. The results are immediate: even on days when they are a bit under the weather, after planking for 30-40 seconds, the breath connects with the body and the vocal results never cease to amaze! HIGHLY recommended..."  Angela Ahiskal 

Each individual is unique so various approaches work for different people.  Singers who are also athletes may need less direction on support and dancers often already have tight core muscles which may need to be relaxed when singing.  Those who are not as physically active outside of singing may need to take more time to get in tune with their bodies.  Physical fitness is an important part of being a singer today.  It is also a way to be a more well-balanced individual in these trying and uncertain times.  Find the activities that work for you to keep improving your singing and truly get your voice and body coordinated to make YOUR best sound.  Keep up the plank challenge and let me know other things which help you!


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Reduce Your Anxiety and Improve Your Overall Well Being with Yoga, Pilates, and Singing Part 5

Pilates Practice for Singing and what are some of the most effective exercises?

There are many pilates exercises which are beneficial to singing practice.  We are engaging many of the same muscles with focus on centering, concentration, precision, control, breath and flow which are the 6 Principles of Pilates and often a source of focus in singing study.  Here are a few samples of effective pilates moves for singing practice:

Planks:  Strengthens core muscles and engages abdominal muscles in the same way we should engage abdominal muscles to initiate and stop airflow for singing.  Planks may be done on elbows on floor or ball (as shown) or on hands.  Keep up the planks in addition to these other exercises before you practice and don't forget to let me know how they are improving your singing and mood!

Image result for pilates

Chest lift with rotation: Engages and strengthens core muscles for breath control.

Spine twist and Side Lift : Strengthens side abdominal muscles and stretches vertebrae for good posture and breath engagement

Corkscrew: Strengthens all abdominal muscles and focus on control and flow of movement.  Slow controlled breath to initiate the movement and throughout the movement very effective for how engaged abs should be while singing a phrase.

Thread the Needle (Shoulder Stretch):  Opens back and shoulders to increase expansion of ribs and ease of breathing.  So important to singing!

Side Stretch (Sitting or Standing):  Opens side for ease of expansion for breathing in singing and articulates length of spine from the side.  As you stretch, imagine your spine growing in length by adding space in between vertebrae.  On returning to center, you should feel more space in your spine and side and stand taller with more buoyancy in your stance.  

Cat and Cow Stretch and Swan Prep:  Work the back extensors and latissimus dorsi and strenghten while articulating the spine.  Eases back pressure and add space in between vertebrae for better overall posture while singing.

Spine articulations with Spine Stretch (seated) :  This works the separation of the vertebrae in the spine.   While contracting abs, forward motion with arm reach stretches and separates lower spine.  Upon return to upright sitting, a taller and more separated spine. This is excellent to undo the crunch we put on our lower spine with sitting.  

Bridge: In bridge work, you are contracting back and abdominal muscles simultaneously.  The initial bridge opens the back vertebrae and lowering bridge you can articulate each vertebrae coming down one at a time and separating to release tension.  At the same time, you work the glutes and hamstrings for a tall energized stance for singing.  The more agile the spine, the better for singing.  

Many of these poses come from a paper on Pilates and the Classical Singer https://d3a512p2kajs89.cloudfront.net/media/paper/-pilates-and-the-classical-singer.pdf

In Pilates we work to free the muscles of the head, neck and shoulders and work on strengthening the core stabilizers (abdominal muscles).   We reduce outside tensions and open the resonating chambers of the body, creating a more resonant (freer) singing voice.  We establish more core awareness and stability in connection with making a resonant sound and help to build the foundation of a strong and resilient singing voice.  Some basic Pilates study will help you find strength from within your own body to enhance the beautiful singing you know lies within you.  Imagine the freedom you get in your singing voice when your posture is wonderful and your core muscles are truly connected to your sound!  When you are strong in body, you are strong in mind and sing at your optimal potential!  Let me know how this impacts your singing!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Reduce Your Anxiety and Improve Your Overall Well-Being with Yoga, Pilates, and Singing Part 4

So many similarities between Pilates practice in general and singing, but the most important practical move to use for our singing is the PLANK!  I have a challenge to all singers out there, add 2 planks of 30-60 seconds a piece before practicing.  It is ideal to to this on your toes, but on knees is a good start.  Try adding this to the beginning of practicing for a week or two.  How does it impact your practice that day?  Take note if anything and what changes about your singing.  Write it down and then process, what does this do for your singing?  What does it do for your mind?

Try it and then respond to this blog post.  Then check back in.  How does it impact what you are doing?  Does your body remember what to do better then when standing?  I will post more thoughts next week and a few more moves.  Join me in improving your singing and your mind!  We will do a check-in on the affects of your planks in 2 weeks!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Reduce Your Anxiety and Improve Your Overall Well Being with Yoga, Pilates, and Singing Part 3

 Our overall well-being is becoming more and more important through this pandemic we are living through.  We have spent much time talking about how Yoga can help us and applying it to our singing practice.  Now its time to explore Pilates and its affects!
What is the overall concept you think of when you hear the word 'Pilates'?  I think abdominal muscles and core work!  It is a focused intention no matter the area of the body, but strong abdominal muscles are one of its most efficient affects on our singing.    

But there is more: Pilates and Singing: Why and How Pilates Helps the Singing Voice

What are the main components of Pilates and how do they relate to the singing voice?

6 Essential Components of Pilates (from the BodyBook) (and Singing by Me)

1. Centering: Everything begins and ends with the center

Pilates:  All movements are energized and empowered by the strengthening of the core muscles

Singing: All breath flow starts with the direction of the core muscles and coordinates with the ribs and entire body to balance breath flow.  Breath flow is initiated and ends with the center core.

2. Concentration: Attention is on the intention of the movement or beginning of a phrase

Pilates: Attention is spent on the intention of movement before it begins and as it happens

Singing: Concentration on how our breath and sound is coordinated is the focus of much of our practice time until it becomes second nature.

3. Control:  Body and mind

Pilates and Singing: In both, we control and sync together the body and mind

4. Precision: Focus on each part being precise!

Pilates: Each movement is performed with precision and focus.  The details matter.

Singing:  Each start, duration, and end of musical phrases is performed with precision and focus.  The details matter to practice to make it seem flawless and effortless.

5. Breath:  Transformative

Pilates: Breath transforms the body and mind by working together

Singing:  The sycronization of the the breath with the body and mind makes singing such a unique art.  The mind slows to be in sync and the breath then does its job to provide the catalyst for our sound. 

6. Flow:  Breath, body, mind.

Pilates:  The goal is to flow from one exercise to the next gracefully.

Singing: The goal is to flow from one phrase to the next (coordinating our breath and muscles) gracefully.

One more thing which I find to be paramount to Pilates and Singing is that it works on improving and strengthening your posture.  Good posture is essential to good breath and therefore good singing.  Pilates work strengthens our core and posture which in turn improves singing and makes the motions of good singing more natural. 

Pilates work involves the coordination of body and mind.  Add some to your Yoga and Singing practices this week (start with some planks).

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Reduce Your Anxiety and Improve Your Overall Well Being with Yoga, Pilates, and Singing Part 2

Yoga helps our singing (and mind) for many reasons.  It calms your breath, nerves and minds, opens up the body to breathe better, elongates your spine for better posture and therefore breath support, it centers our soul.  Yoga creates balance- the words are essentially synonyms for those who do yoga.  But how can yoga and other balance related activities help your singing? There are a myriad of benefits to the singer.  Lets look at the science as to why!

In Make Your Unstable Life Work for You, Claudia Friedlander describes the science of how the balance of yoga can really help your singing!  I was fascinated with how she described what I use often in my studio.  I highly recommend what she has to say!  Let me try to explain it with a few references to her words (in italics):

Stand up and find your balance on one foot, bringing your other foot up to your calf or above your knee, and raise your hands above your head (tree pose).  Feel how you find balance and how your leg, hip, ankle adjust to keep the balance.  It is a series of continuous, incremental adjustments.  Find a sustained phrase from your repertoire that is challenging and sing it while in this pose.  You may find that this passage is now much easier to sing.  WHY?  Finding this balance has put your neuromuscular system on high alert making all motor activity that you engage in benefit.  It cannot lock up like your knees might or stop and start as the breath might because everything is going in to you keeping your balance.  This makes total sense.

As Friedlander states, Singing, like balancing, is a continuous activity.  The more you think about locking up a part of your body to balance, the more possible it is for you to fall over.  The more you think about holding pitches rather than continuing the breath through them, the more difficult they are to sustain.  Find activities that promote stability through continuous movement such as tree pose, walking the phrase, or pretending to throw a baseball with a slow follow through.

Balance and stabilization can:

- Enhance body awareness (improve your mind/body connection to your voice)
- Promotes good posture (free larynx, improve resonance, coordinate better breathing)
- Make you more comfortable and graceful moving on stage
- Stabilize your joints so that you can safely exercise and maximize your stamina (cardio and strength training)
- Teaches your neuromuscular system to create stability through continuous movement that impacts all of your physical activities

Singers should have a workout regimen that includes stabilization training to balance their muscles. Challenging your ability to keep your balance and maintain good posture throughout a series of movements prepares your body and your nervous system to perform movements requiring greater strength and fine motor coordination.  (Fine motor coordination that is essential to quality singing).

How do you do this?

A variety of activities but specifically Yoga, stability ball activities, and functional strength activities (keeping your balance on one foot while manipulating small dumbbells in bicep curls) are a few ways to get started.  As you exercise in these ways, you are challenging your body and brain to stabilize through movement.  This works on the neuromuscular control necessary to develop stability both physically and in your singing.

While focusing on your neuromuscular control, you enhance your focus skills and start to feel better from the inside out!  Give the above suggestions a try and let me know how it goes!  Pilates work up next week!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Reduce Your Anxiety and Improve Your Overall Well-Being with Yoga, Pilates and Singing

Reduce Your Anxiety and Improve Your Overall Well-Being with Yoga, Pilates and Singing: 

It has been studied and reported for many years that yoga and music (specifically singing) can reduce anxiety, improve your overall mental health and just plain make you feel good!  NOW of all times is a good time to explore this concept!    We are all facing different challenges in this Pandemic of 2020.  Some from our work & school, others from family and friends and being responsible by staying home.  It introduces good things (more family time, time to explore hobbies, clean out the garage, get things done) and stressors (missing friends, performances being cancelled, time to enjoy our hobbies with others outside of our homes).  Both yoga and singing are said to help improve our mood and focus.  Now is a perfect time to explore the affects of Yoga, Pilates and Singing combined!
Yoga is a practice that  focuses and calms your mind, aligns your spine, improves posture, and strengthens your whole body which is all beneficial to singing.  Pilates takes mental focus in addition to strengthening your body from the inside out with much emphasis on ‘the core’ or abdominal muscles which are the powerhouse of a singer.  Both pilates and yoga are practices that help you to be more in tune with your body and pay attention to the needs and comfort of your body and mind.  Because your body is your instrument, it is essential to be in tune with it and take care of it as a singer.  It is clearly a good combination to work on your singing skills!
Singing itself releases endorphins that make us feel good.  We are seeing so many examples of how music is helping people cope and heal on social media today.  Because we all have added stresses and are adjusting to a temporary new 'normal', we can use a little extra help balancing ourselves using a combination of yoga, pilates, exercise in general and music to help our mental health.  
Lets take a moment and think about how yoga and pilates are helping our singing as well!  As a singer, your body is your instrument, so you should take care of it by exercising and eating well.  Both yoga and pilates help posture for singing.  Time is spent on body alignment, deep breathing, releasing tension within the body and mentally finding a better state of being.  Moving yourself to the mat with thy myriad of free programs available today will get you in a better frame of mind when anxiety creeps in.  Getting your body moving will calm your mind and the poses release physical tension while strengthening your muscles (and mind).  With regular practice, you will  have more control over your breath, be able to sing longer phrases, have more endurance, and feel better about yourself.   You will also be more in tune with your body and, just like an athlete, the more awareness you have over you body, the greater your success.

So, lets get moving. Try a few yoga poses to calm you brain and body.  A few of my suggestions are 

* Downward Dog and a few Sun Salutations will help you connect to your breath.  
* Warrior 1 and Warrior 2 poses to bring you empowerment and strength.  

* End with Tree to center you and lengthen the spine.  

 "Oommm" and relax and breathe.

And a few more Beginner Yoga Poses

Stay tuned for more on yoga next week!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

You've Got This!! You Landed the Role, Now Keep It Healthy

You've Got This!!  You got the role of your dreams or one of the leads you thought you wanted in the show.  Your hard work paid off in the audition, now stay healthy so the hard work you are putting in through rehearsals can really be seen in the performances!  Don't throw away your shot by getting sick!

I know, so many rehearsals, lots of singing, dancing, acting, memorizing, all on top of the homework, work and life!  How do you find time to stay healthy with all of that?  Prioritize yourself and your physical and mental well-being and you will be so thankful!  Your body and mind work better and retain more information quickly if we are all around healthy!

Here are 6 things YOU can do to help yourself through the busy rehearsal schedule to make sure we all get to see YOUR BEST self in performance:

1. Sleep (8 hours a night is the goal)
2. Eat well (fruits, veggies, vitamins)
3. Drink lots of water (64 oz a day is a great goal)
4. Exercise (physical activity promotes a healthy mind and body) Yoga counts!
5. Limit interactions with those are sick and minimize our socialization if it interferes with 1-5
6. Practice (silent review of those lines, lyrics and choreography can actually go a long way)

 Pay attention to your body and mind, it knows what you need!   Now go out there and show them what you're made of!!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Summer Singing and Musical Theater Programs: Why Summer, what do YOU want, and Details on One Right Here that is PERSONALIZED for You or Your Child

                                                                 Summer Singing Programs and Musical Theater Programs

Why is summer the time to do an intensive Singing or Musical Theater program?  We often have unstructured time to fill in our summers.  Do something constructive that takes focus and concentration while having a fun time!  Sing, dance, and act and fine tune those skills to enhance your experiences throughout the year and increase your chances of getting cast in bigger roles, being given a solo, whatever your dream may be.

There are so many different options to choose from, how do you decide?  Take some time to analyze what you (or your child) need and want to get out of a program.  NOW is the time to address those things that need to be worked on or what you want to fine tune.

Do you need direction in what is the best repertoire for you to sing either in the musical theater genre or in general?  Do you need Vocal technique only?   Dance training?  Acting coaching? Vocal technique in combination with acting and dancing or work on all 3 simultaneously?  Confidence building?  Do you need a small setting for individual attention or a large setting where individual work is minimal?  Do you want a combination of all of the above?  Maybe you do 2 programs of different structures.  One can give you the individual attention you know you will thrive under and the other a larger stage experience.  If taken simultaneously or back to back you maximize your potential!  What is right for you or your child?

Here is an option to consider:

Summer Musical Theater Series:  

What is it?  Longer individual voice lessons over a span of a few weeks (5 lessons of 1 hour each over a 6 week period), an Acting a Song Masterclass and Dance Workshop.  This enables repertoire selected for each individual,  focus on learning 2 songs quickly, address vocal technique, text analysis, acting a song, and delivering musical theater repertoire in a performance.

Will this work with other summer programs?  This program is designed to work on all of these skill sets and enhance your skills in any other program you may be doing.  Commitment is 5 1 hour blocks of time over 5 1/2 weeks of Tuesday and Thursday teaching times.  You identify when you are available during teaching hours presented and which of 2 Workshops work for your schedule.  Focus on the INDIVIDUAL voice and how to add it to other performance aspirations.

When is it?  Tuesday/Thursday June 8-July 25, July 12 or 17 Masterclass and July 26 or August 1 Performance

How do I find out more?  Visit Susan Anders Brizick Website and Registration  Full Program Information and Registration page is found here.  You may also comment on this blog requesting information.   Happy Singing!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

What are the 2 most important things for you to do in the height of your intense Musical Theater rehearsal schedules? 1. Warm Up 2. Stay Healthy (and be disciplined about it)

What are the 2 most important things for you to do in the height of your intense Musical Theater rehearsal schedules?  1. Warm Up  2. Stay Healthy (and be disciplined about it)

Why is warming up on your own important?

Warming up is so essential to the health of your singing voice.  Everyone’s voice is different and needs different levels and amounts of warming up to perform well.  Think about athletes a minute.  Do all of them have the same routine of warming up before they go and play a game or a match?  No, they all may have similarities, but do different individual things to get themselves ready to go.  For example, one singer may only need 10 minutes to warm up and be ready to sing a full 2 hour rehearsal.  Another may need 15-20 minutes and start with a few yoga poses prior to that to make sure her body is in good alignment and her nerves are in check.  You never know how much time a director or teacher will give to warm ups or not.  If you know your voice is ready to go, you are in safe and productive territory.  Take the time to figure out what works best for you for warm up exercises both vocally and physically.  What did you do vocally in some of your best lessons or before a rehearsal?  What warm-ups do you like? What yoga postures help you get centered and focused?  You will feel good about what singing you are about to share.  Arm yourself with taking care of the muscles of your instrument to be the best singer you can be.

Why is staying healthy important? (or MORE likely HOW do I do it?)

We know it is important to stay healthy to sing and perform well, but HOW do you do it when you have so much on your plate with rehearsals, homework, work?  There are a few key things you can do:
1. Make sleep a priority 
2. Drink LOTS of water 
3. Add some extra vitamin c, orange juice
4. Wash your hands and use sanitizer 
5. Stay away from those who are sick

Believe it or not, your friends and family will understand if you explain you need to take care of yourself first and foremost, you are making sure you can be the best you can be for your performances.  Yes, you can say," I will talk to you later, need to stay healthy" OR" text me later, ok?".  You can put down the phone or ipad and focus on what ABSOLUTELY must get done so you get it done quicker and more efficiently.  Taking a little extra time for you and your vocal health by warming up ahead and health in general is going to put you in the best place!  I know its hard but you've got it.  Remember the old adage: "I can't, I've got rehearsal" and go do what you love!  Everyone will love YOU for it with the result (including you).