On Breathing for the Singing Dancer

Got to document my discussion with osteopath Jennie Morton on training singers who dance and dancers who sing. Jennie is a pioneer in Performing Arts Medicine.  A former professional dancer/singer/actor, now works as an Osteopath in LA, she uses an integrative approach to managing physical and emotional challenges in her work with performers.

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Jennie is a pioneer in Performing Arts Medicine. A former professional dancer/singer/actor, now works as an Osteopath in LA, she uses an integrative approach to managing physical and emotional challenges in her work with performers. Movement on stage got you feeling winded? There ARE strategies you can take to make your breath management more strategic during performance. Were you taught to pull your stomach in when performing? What did that do to your singing? Have you thought of choreographing where to breathe? Comment below with your thoughts! ⤵️ #singeractordancer #dancers #musicaltheatre #singing #danceandsing #vocaltechnique #vocalhealth #music #voice #vocalcoach #la #osteopathy #performingartsmedicine #performingarts

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When Training Makes a Difference

Giles has been singing for 9 years and training with me for 10 months. He practices every day and had countless gigs over the holidays. He finally had a realization recently.⁣

Have a listen to the video below.

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Giles has been singing for 9 years and training with me for 10 months. He practices every day and had countless gigs over the holidays. He finally had a realization recently.⁣ ⁣ If you are consistent with your training and practice, then you are going to build consistency in your voice. If you want to change your voice for the better, it starts with daily focused practice. (and that doesn't mean practicing and wearing your voice out for 2 hours, more on that later…)🤪 ⁣ ⁣ So how do you hit those high notes? You have to build the right muscle memory and the only way to build muscle memory is through specific tools. And the tools have to be catered to your specific tendencies as a vocalist. ⁣ ⁣ So that's why you need a vocal coach to help guide you to mastering those high notes.😎⁣ ⁣ Keep training, keep practicing, keep having breakthroughs.🤩 ⁣ ⁣ Love ya!🤓

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Q&A Live: Vocal Health for Singers Dec. 6th

It’s the end of a fantastic year and as we head into the holiday season, let’s make some time to reflect on our vocal health and what changes we can make for 2020!  Join the discussion!  Please let us know your questions ahead of time, or jump on the live chat with us!  Click here to watch our facebook live at the Surrey Voice Clinic alongside Sherri Zelazny, Surrey Voice Clinic Clinical Director.

How to Practice

I have been teaching for a decade and I can always tell when a client comes into their lesson having practiced.  It makes a HUGE difference to their progress and their vocal strength. Many of you sing everyday, are consistent with your practice, and you can already tell how much you’re progressing.  Since you only come for a lesson once a week, or once every two weeks, it’s so important to have a structured practice regime outside of your training sessions.  

This is the beauty of having your lesson recording.  When listening back, try not to focus on how you sound in the lesson recording, and focus more on what the exercises feel like as you sing along.  If you like to take notes, jot down some of the coaching tips I give you as you’re singing.  Or make a mental note of what coaching points are always repeated, chances are those are habitual patterns that need to be worked on.

Here are some tips to help get you started on a more regular focused practice. 

1) Pick 3-5 days at the start of your week and schedule in your practice times (no less than 3 days per week) – yes actually type or write this into your schedule, the time in which you are going to be practicing

2) Aim for 20-45 minutes of practice  – with periods of rest – this may increase to one hour as you advance – always make time for short increments of vocal rest during your practice – straw work and sips of water etc. 

3) Don’t go straight to your songs without working through the scales – scales are going to help you progress better in the songs

4) Listen and sing along with the recorded sequence of exercises:

-warm-up

-vocal development

-song application

5) Listen to the song(s) you are learning – active listening is paying close attention to the melody, follow along with the sheet music or lyrics, what is the singer doing, where does the song go? 

6) Practice along with the singer  – if you don’t have the correct melody, go back and listen to it again, if there is a riff that you need to learn, practice it slower – do you have precision and clarity on each melody note (approach notes and ‘not so important notes’ too!)

7) Having trouble on that one note?  – take out the lyrics, and practice along with the vowel consonant combinations assigned (more details will be given in the application portion of the lesson)

8) Practice phrase by phrase, slowly – over and over again (3-5 minute increments) 

9) Write down what came up for you that was challenging and bring that into your next session (you can also bring your practice journal in to share your progress)

10) Remember to have fun!  The process of training is exciting and should be enlightening!  Your voice will get stronger and more balanced and you will be able to sing more challenging material.  Do not rush the process.  Aim for progress vs perfection! 

11) Change is good – if it doesn’t feel different from what you’re used to doing, chances are you aren’t making progress.  Use this practice time to build better habits and better muscle memory which is going to feel different from how you approached singing before. 

Singing After Vocal Injury Webinar – Sept. 14th, 2019

Thank you to all who attended our Singing After Vocal Injury webinar!

Thanks again to Sherri Zelazny from the Surrey Voice Clinic for co-presenting with me on such an interesting topic.

Vocal Confidence

When it comes to vocal confidence, our mindset truly matters.  Check out my latest Insta post on False Confidence vs Authentic Confidence.

 

Vocal Health Webinar

Thank you to all who attended our Vocal Health for Professional Voice Users webinar. I was happy to host this as Sherri Zelazny presented on a topic I am so passionate about. Here is the replay in case you missed it!  Lots of great information on vocal anatomy, understanding your instrument and how it works, plus vocal pathologies.  My personal favourite was when Sherri covered voice myth busters!

Thanks again to Sherri Zelazny from the Surrey Voice Clinic for her wonderful insightful presentation!

Advancing Your Vocal Health – Free Webinar

Please join us for a free and informative webinar on vocal health. Learn the latest and greatest info on voice therapy, and innovative vocal health strategies from Sherri Zelazny. If you are a voice user or voice professional don’t miss this free opportunity to learn more about your instrument. Bring questions if you have them!

Sherri Zelazny is a Registered Speech Language Pathologist with more than 30 years of experience. She pursued advanced clinical expertise in the area of Voice and Laryngeal Airway Disorders at the University of Wisconsin Madison Voice and Swallow Clinics. Her areas of special interest include voice evaluation and treatment, paradoxical vocal fold motion, voice therapy for Parkinson Disease, and community education.

Alida Annicchiarico is a vocal consultant has been a private voice instructor for over 12 years, based in Vancouver, Canada. A graduate of UBC, a Certified Vocal Mentor Instructor as well a member in good standing with NATS, she has worked with some of the world’s top groundbreaking voice instructors as well as vocal health professionals. She is passionate about helping singers and performers to understand their instrument better and train so they can avoid vocal fatigue or injury.

Click here to register.

5 Ways to Maintain Vocal Hygiene

I recently had a discussion with a speech therapist who suggested that a lot of singers don’t actually know what their voices look like.  Sometimes, it’s only when they are at a visit with the ENT or SLP that they finally get to see the vocal folds on a screen upon examination.  She also made me further aware of how important it is that singers are educated in how the voice works and especially how to care for it, after all, it is their instrument.  Preventing injuries and voice disorders can be challenging especially considering the crazy scheduling demands on professional singers these days.  However, I agree that it’s crucial singers are educated on the importance of maintaining vocal hygiene because by doing so it can minimize the risk of vocal health issues later.  Not only that, it can ensure longevity in their career.

So what is ‘vocal hygiene’ anyway and what steps can we take to make it happen?  Vocal hygiene is the practice of maintaining and caring for your instrument both on and off stage.  A lot of times we as singers are more focused on the music, the songwriting, the performance, the audience, the rehearsals…the list goes on and on.  Those are all very important aspects to the art of singing.  But equally important are steps we can take to maintain our instrument.  Here are just some of the ways to keep your vocal hygiene in check:

Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.  Simply put, if the body is healthy, the voice is healthy.  Ensuring you get restorative sleep nightly, and maintaining a nutritious diet are both contributing factors to vocal hygiene.  With nutrition it is all about researching what works best for you.  If you suffer from acid reflux or allergies (which can effect the vocal folds) seek advice from a medical professional.  Whatever you put in your body affects the voice, so avoid toxic substances.  Physical exercise can help increase your lung capacity and can contribute to better stamina when singing on stage.  Plus it gives you more energy and awareness of posture which is important in singing. So taking steps towards a healthy lifestyle definitely counts towards vocal health.

Commit to overall hydration.  Vocal folds work much better and don’t fatigue as fast with moisture.  Hydration doesn’t mean chugging down huge amounts of water the day of your performance or lesson.  Rather, experts suggest that a commitment to overall hydration (daily intake of water) is much more efficient.  You want to keep your vocal cords moist all the time.  If you live in a dry environment, or suffer from dry throat, steaming the voice has been recommended by vocal professionals as a way of keeping the area moist.

Exercise your voice daily.  Daily vocalizing sessions to warm up the voice are so important.  But also vocal development and honing in on the areas of the voice that are challenging to develop on your own. For example areas above the chest area (as we refer to as the “mix” area or even head voice) can be difficult to sing into without any training.  A qualified voice teacher will be able to assign you specific exercises to warm up the voice but also increase your vocal balance in those difficult areas.

Work on your speaking voice.  How you use your speaking voice on a day to day basis counts towards vocal hygiene.  If you are speaking aggressively or shouting excessively, or using it way too much, you are more likely to fatigue your voice.  If your occupation requires you to speak for long periods of time, ensure you are speaking with enough pitch inflections.  Moving your voice in pitch will allow it to not just stay in the same position all day. (Imagine just standing in the same position all day long and not moving around much). Vocal cords needs to be stretched a little here and there and using more than just one pitch to speak on will allow more movement.

Take time for vocal rest.  If you use your voice frequently throughout the day in your occupation, or for singing or public speaking, be sure to take time out of your day to rest your voice.

The process of keeping your voice healthy requires awareness and commitment and can be quite challenging.  Start today to make small changes in keeping vocal hygiene in check.  Your voice will thank you for it!

Book an online voice lesson.