Sunday, October 4, 2015

Full Body Vocal Performance

In March of this year, Drake Oranwood and I entered a student/teacher relationship. Drake is a talented and accomplished bard in the Society. He has learned a great deal on his own. However, he wanted further instruction to improve his technique. As such I offered to open my knowledge base to him.

Whenever I work with a student, no matter their skill level, I always start with the very basics. So often, the basics are left out in instruction, given that they are, well, basic, and should have been taught when the student was first learning about singing. From grade school and up, some very basic things are often left out of instruction, in order to work on more advanced technique.

So begins our first lesson.

I asked Drake about the warm-ups he does. He gave me a list of some vocal runs and mouth warm-ups he does. He said he spends about 5 minutes doing warm-ups. These are the warm-ups he's always done with the same results; they help to loosen his vocal chords and prepare him for singing.

Something most people don't realize is that vocal performance, particularly singing, is a full body performance. Singers don't just use their mouths and vocal chords; they use nearly every muscle in their body from the bottom of their feet to the top of their heads.

Drake's first assignment was to spend some time trying different full body warm-ups and seeing how they affected his singing. Each person is different. So, a warm-up that works for one might not work for another. Warm-ups can be anything from yoga to stationary stretches, as long as it gets your full body ready to move.

After trying out several different methods, Drake found one that he felt comfortable with. Even one day of a full body warm up made a noticeable difference in his voice.

If you are looking to improve your tone, support, and overall quality, start by trying out different warm-ups. I recommend doing a different one each day that you'll be singing, until you find one that works for you. Don't stop after one or two. Try at least 5 different exercises. The first one you find might improve your quality, but there might be a better one. Once you find your warm-up, use it! Remember to always do the warm-up before performing.

If you have any questions or would like any recommendations, I'm happy to help however I can. Happy vocalizing!