Recently my singing/speaking voice has decreased in range, partly due to a lack of practice, over use as I lecture in college classes, and pushing the bounds of style. But what about the “beliefs I have about myself?” How does a decreased self-confidence and stress effect my voice – and my Voice?
According to Christiane Northrup, M.D., “we are taught from an early age that our health is largely the result of our genetic heritage, whether or not we’ve been immunized, how many supplements we take, and how much exercise we get. There is no doubt that these factors can contribute to our state of health. But their influence pales in comparison to the power of our beliefs and attitudes.”
Take a moment to document the stress coming at you from the outside. Are you pushing it aside or breathing through it? Do these stressors include work, increased work, care for your family, increased care for family, and maybe a change in your own physical health? Is it the weather and how weather effects these stressors? In any case, you and your health are a lot more important than what our culture wants us to achieve. And how I view and believe in myself is too.
Take time to calibrate and understand this connection. It may help save your life making it richer, bolder, and healthier.
The first thing any singer or soon to be singer needs to do is take a long hard look at their breathing. Learning to breath is disregarded by most, but not singers. As I think about it, most musicians, dancers and actors think about breathing as they advance in their work. All one needs to consider is the stress and fast paced life we try to keep up with. This life causes us to “breathe high.” Our shoulders lift and our lungs only inflate to a fraction of their capacity. I probably don’t have to tell you that this is not good. “Breathing high” keeps us in a fight-or-flight state.
To escape the race and the confinement of a “normal” person…take some time to breathe. Sit in a comfortable way on your chair or stand. Place open palms on the rib cage, right on right/left on left (4 fingers front, thumb facing back) and close your eyes. Then imagine expanding your rib cage into your hands. Exhale slowly on a “hissssss.” Now you are breathing with a fuller capacity of your lungs, allowing your rib cage to expand, internal organs to be pushed out of the way, abdominal muscles are expanding and your breath is beginning to slow. Your diaphragm, a crescent moon shaped muscle under your heart will expand and do its full job. This is a “low breath” and what you mean when you think about “singing with your diaphragm.”
Take three “low breaths” – open your eyes – and know that you are ready to sing. You are ready for a better view and more settled way of your own life.