Essentials For Singers & Speakers
This session is arguably the most important session of all - and the single most important aspect of this session when first exploring your voice and unravelling its mysteries is of course......
WITHOUT AIR you cannot vocalize (or stay alive!)
WITH AIR you will be able to vocalize correctly by learning to control your airflow (and stay alive!)
USING AIR as instructed will allow you to control your voice, and ultimately help you to maximize your vocal potential.
a) ♫ Find a reasonably weighty book or two.
b) ♫ Lie on the floor comfortably on your back with your feet and legs resting on a chair (see image below).
c) ♫ Place the book on your Upper Abdomen just below your rib cage. This area we call the Airflow Control Center (ACC).
d) ♫ Exhale and watch the book sink as your tummy deflates inwards.
e) ♫ Inhale through your mouth and watch the book rise as your tummy expands outwards.
f) ♫ Repeat this a few times just to observe what happens and to get used to the tummy movement.
FYI: INTERCOSTAL MUSCLES
are thin sheets of muscle between each rib that contract when air is exhaled and expand when air is inhaled.
♫ Stand tall and arrange yourself (see image below). Yes, how you stand does affect the way you vocalize because your body is the instrument holder and protector.
♫ Your voice needs a solid framework to perform efficiently and yet also some degree of body flexibility to allow for contraction and expansion of the lungs.
♫ Standing well helps you sing or speak well!
a) ♫ FEET APART - about hip width.
b) ♫ STAND TALL – feet firmly on the floor.
c) ♫ MAKE A LONG NECK, but keep your chin
from sticking out. Try to think of touching the ceiling
with the top of your head.
d) ♫ CHEST UP, SHOULDERS DOWN. Put a hand
on your chest to make sure it is not collapsed inward
but rather expanded outward.
e) ♫ DO NOT lock your knees!
f) ♫ IF YOU are not sure how straight you are standing, then use a wall to stand up against as a check.
FYI: Making adjustments to your posture may feel a little different at first – but when you develop the habit of good posture, once you get used to it, you will vocalize much better!
THE GREAT BALLOON PREPARATION EXERCISE
Prepare to breathe correctly…….
1. ♫ TAKE an uninflated balloon.
2. ♫ TAKE a normal breath.
3. ♫ PLACE the end of the balloon onto your mouth and blow all your air out hard through your mouth and into the balloon. You will see that the balloon starts to inflate in a way that is similar to how your lungs inflate when filled with air.
4. ♫ DEFLATE the balloon and make it "sing"!
5. ♫ REFILL your lungs with new air while allowing your “tummy” to expand outwards at the Airflow Control Center (see STEP Ic).
5. ♫ REINFLATE the balloon as before.
6. ♫ REPEAT this this several times to get used to it.
PREPARATION EXERCISE PLUS 3
1. ♫ Make sure your Posture is correct as shown above.
2. ♫ Do the Preparation Exercise.
A) Twelve Hold
3. ♫ After filling with air and expanding your tummy, hold the air in your lungs and count to 12 in your head or with a stopwatch, while holding your tummy in the expanded position.*
*FYI: When you are counting, make sure that you count in SECONDS or slower. You could use a stopwatch or try 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi etc.
4. ♫ Do the Preparation exercise again, maintaining your Posture.
B) Twelve Release
5. ♫ After filling with air and expanding your tummy, start letting a small amount of air out through your mouth while counting to 12 as before**.
At the end of the 12 count you may have some air left over……. but don’t worry if you don’t!
**FYI: We sometimes call this the Candle Flame Exercise,
because another way of doing it would be to hold a lighted candle
in front of you, and let the air that you are expelling, waft
gently through the candle flame.
This will move the flame but won't blow it out.
C) Twelve Sing
6. ♫ After filling with air and expanding your tummy, sing any low note to the vowel sound ‘OOH’ while counting to 12 as before.
REPEAT these exercises as often as you like in order to master them but at least do them DAILY.
Always Remember the TCP factor:
TIME - to learn and develop your vocal abilities.
CONSISTENCY - a daily workout to keep you on track.
PATIENCE - to work positively and calmly through any challenges.
Coming up -
In Session #2 you will learn more about your breathing with some valuable tips, and also the famous 'Tummy Bounce'.