Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
~ Red Auerbach
Before working on your breathing/vocal exercises and/or singing, you should relax with exercises that affect the whole body as tension in the body will affect your breath work, quality and tone of voice. Here are some quick exercises you can do before you commence singing to help release tension in your body and help you sing better.
Progressive Relaxation Exercise
This can be done sitting, standing or for maximum effect lying on the floor.
Now bit by bit, slowly begin to tense/clench your whole body, from the bottom up. Squeeze everything as tight as you can and hold for a fairly quick count of 10 and slowly release taking note of how you feel as you let go of the tension. Commence in the following order.
2. Calves, thighs, bottom
3. Back and shoulders
4. Arms and hands
Now, just let go and relax completely.
Check for Tension in the Lower Abdomen
Placing your hands just below your belly button feel if you have any tension. Now just let this relax, even letting it become a little “paunchy” and take a deep breath. Notice the difference in the way you feel. If you are still feeling a little tense take a moment or two just to let go and relax, don't hold your stomach in, just let it go.
Once you feel relaxed sip in the air you would use for singing a phrase of a song. Notice how quietly and deeply the air moves into the lungs. This is what a good singing breath feels like: low, deep and quiet.
Now, Relax and Breathe
Before commencing your warm-ups or singing practice at least 10 “quiet breaths.” Really pay attention to how the quiet singing breath feels. Continue practicing the quiet breath on a daily basis until its habit. Don’t feel obligated to inhale a large quantity of air when you’re practicing silent breathing. Sip the air down to fill up your lungs from the bottom up.
It cannot be over-emphasised that tension in the body will effect your singing. Therefore before any practice or performance take time to breath deeply and relax each muscle in your body, so that you can get the most out of your singing and more importantly ENJOY it so much more!
Feel free to leave any questions and/or comments regarding this blog. I hope it has been helpful.
Have a great day!