|Tunes & Travels|
by Jennifer Matthews
Use your body!! Your body is a complex system. It needs attention and action. In my experience as a voice teacher I can tell you that the students who exercise regularly and are in tune with their bodies, have an easier time of learning to use their diaphragms and abdominals to support their voices.
Singing is an overall body experience. It is not limited to the throat area. On the contrary. If you have a strong and well maintained body that is in alignment and healthy, it helps to connect to the areas of your body that provide that best support to your voice. Posture is important. Keeping your hands at your sides or in front of you. Not in your pockets or behind your back. Keeping a straight spine and shoulders down. Chin straight ahead and not looking upwards or downwards. A few recommendations are to stretch daily.
Walk two miles a day and breathe fresh air. Try to walk outside opposed to on a treadmill. The fresh air and open sky feeds your endorphins which in turns feeds your body good energy. Workout three times a week getting your heart rate up for 30 minutes straight each time. I recommend the elliptical machine or riding a stationary or road bike for cardio. Always stretch and warm up before cardio workouts. Also, calisthenics are important. Do your sit ups and leg lifts. Get yours arms working and strengthen your lower back. Doing abdominal exercises as part of your work out must be done religiously. A good strong abdomen is very important to singers. It is the core that you connect to in terms of providing strength to your diaphragm and your voice. I like to recommend the ab exercise of laying flat on your back, putting both hands under your but and lifting the legs all the way up and then slowly letting them down repeating for a total of 60. It really works the lower abs which is what you use when singing correctly.
A note on smoking: Smoking is clearly bad for the throat and vocal chords. It weakens the voice significantly and also it weakens the lungs. If you are not up for quitting smoking try to cut your daily intake in half. It will make a difference by diminishing smoking even if you can’t completely quit.