For a few months now, I have been holding weekly intimate PWYC vocal workshops in my home. We have been discussing and practicing 'singing with mindfulness', exploring the voice using various breathing and movement techniques. It has been totally fascinating hearing loved ones' voices and energies shift from week to week, as well as trying out some new methods and explorations.
I have promised this group that I will record some sort of a video, and/or give a homework assignment, for the summer - to keep everyone occupied and growing. So, I have come up with some ideas for "things to practice [over the summer], if you're looking to improve your voice, breathing, and confidence in singing."
1. Keep a breathing/singing notebook to observe practices and shifts.
2. Observe your breathing daily. Write some observations in your notebook - for example, how often do you breathe using your diaphgram (into your belly rather than your chest)? See if your observations begin to shift the depth of your breath
3. Notice the sounds you make on a daily basis (especially involuntary - such as yawns, sighs, orgasms, etc) ... Notice whether you are holding in any sounds that need to be released, and if so, try to release them!
4. YAWN more often! Take yawn breaks from work where you consciously force yourself to yawn. It will become natural after a while!
5. Notice your body, and take observations in your notebook... are you tense, or relaxed? If you are tense, where are you holding your tension? Are you sucking in your stomach (a tendency that most women tend to have, thanks to all those damn fashion magazines...)? See if you can consciously release some of your tension. Be patient with yourself!
6. Make some sounds in different spaces - walking through tunnels, on the beach, in your room, in the shower - and notice how different vowels and pitches sound different in different spaces. Don't judge - just observe! Have fun!
7. Lie down and just LISTEN to a WHOLE record. Observe. Enjoy. Document your thoughts.
8. Sing a song with your friends! Just pick a song you all know, and sing it - badly - and have fun! Don't worry about whether or not you sound "good". The important part is connecting with loved ones with your voices.
9. Try this amazing qi gong video! It's only 20 minutes long, and does wonders for the energy. http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/videos-detail.asp?video=30 AND check out Ali's amazing class at Yoga Village on Tuesday evenings!
10. Try singing a (or a few) long tones when you wake up in the morning and/or when you go to bed at night. Pick a vowel ("oh" "ah" "oo" whatever!), pick a note that feels comfortable, and just go for it! Hold it and feel the sound in your body. Breathe in again, deeply into your belly, and hold the note again. Notice the sensations, where the vibration is happening, how steady the note feels, etc. Just observe - do not judge. Try it a few times. Experiment. Have fun.
11. Listen to the sounds around you. Notice how they make you feel, whether you like them or don't, etc. Observe, document, explore.
Some of these 'homework assignments' will really put you out of your comfort zone. I highly suggest that you do them anyways! I find that being pushed out of our comfort zones really helps to bring vibrancy to life, and helps us to grow stronger.
Thanks for reading! I'd love for you to comment and let me know what resonates with you, what you've tried and liked, and if any encouraging shifts have happened. I am hoping to record a video soon with some more specific vocal/breathing warmups and exercises... don't hesitate to let me know if you're interested!
All of the love.