HYDRATION

HYDRATION, HYDRATION, HYDRATION

Well the amount of articles I have read on hydration in the last couple of days had me back into study mode, like I was doing my masters all over again. The interesting thing that I found out, is what I have known for a very long time. Systematic Hydration (which really just mean drinking water or liquids that add water to you system), benefits vocal production, increases self-lubrication of the vocal folds and improves overall fitness and efficiency of the vocal equipment. DAH… vocalist and vocal teachers have known this for years. The difference is that academics have decided to study it and study it they are. They still have a long way to go in this area with hydration, dehydration and placebo groups of study, but they have come leaps and bounds in just the last few years. The problem with studying hydration and dehydration on the vocal folds is that they are difficult to get to. The studies they have done dehydrating and hydrating cadaver vocal chords from humans and animals shows that hydration does improve the vocal chords… but getting the research to be definitive on alive vocal chords is much more difficult because of all the variables in the amazing instrument that is the voice.

They have also discovered that drink caffeine and caffeinated drinks increase dehydration. SURPRISE, SURPRISE. So try and keep you caffeine habit to once a day, twice at the most… but it also means all you coffee drinkers out there that you require more water, (but what is one more glass if you can enjoy some of that sweet nectar called coffee) so make sure it’s a good one!

SUPERFICIAL HYDRATION

I believe that this is an area that a lot of vocalists don’t know about. Honestly, I have only been aware of it in the last few years. Superficial hydration is when the vocal chords are hydrated through external means; such as Humidified air inhaled through nebulizers; humidifying the air you breath in at home or inhaling steam. It has been found that if vocalist or people who use their voice a lot combine systematic hydration and superficial hydration, they can achieve ideal vocal production.

So what is the verdict…? Drink water and at the very least inhale the steam in the bathroom when you have a shower. If you were going to invest in a humidifier the most important place would be in your bedroom. If you are a gigging vocalist, vocalist in training, teacher, profession speaker, preacher, call centre worker (lets face it they need all the help they can get) or really anyone who uses their voice a lot, you should drink 2 litres of water a day and inhale steam or humidified air on a regular basis. If you can’t be bothered with that or you just can’t drink water then you aren’t really serious about your voice!

TIPS FOR DRINKING MORE WATER

  1. Filter the water and make sure you but it in a non-BPA bottle, as water that has been sitting in plastic and gets heated tastes funny and you don’t want to drink it any way. Bottles from the supermarket are for one use! Invest in a good drinking bottle that is not plastic, you will thank yourself.
  2. Put a squeeze of lemon or other citrus in it as when you drink a lot of water it can taste metallic… this stops this!
  3. The first thing you should do in the morning after you have been to the toilet (if weeing in the morning is not the first thing you do, you are not drinking enough water) is to have a large glass of water with lemon squeezed into it. This is beneficial to your liver as well as you.
  4. Make sure you drink a large glass of water BEFORE you eat, so at my count that is 4 large glasses a day… you are off to a good start.
  5. Be a super sipper. While having glasses of water throughout the day is still beneficial, sipping continuously is the best way to go

DON’T STRESS your bladder will start to realise that you don’t need to go to the toilet all the time and will balance itself out!

I hope this is helpful see you soon!

Emotional Connection

EMOTIONAL CONNECTION

So I thought it was time for me to post on my page!!! I haven’t read anything new as I’ve been busy falling in and out of love as well as teaching primary school children the fundamentals of guitar!

So I am going to share something that I have learnt and something that I know… What happens in your life affects the way you sing… Your emotions are a major part of your connection to music and hence they affect your approach to a song… How you relate to that music, what songs you choose to sing at particular times and many times your technique! When you open your mouth to sing, your teacher (if they are aware of this) can tell your mood, what has been happening in your life because what is in your heart comes out your mouth!
Think about that painful love song that you didn’t really connect with until your heart was broken… at that point you truly understood what you were singing about! Or that song about the joy of something that you love and really suits your voice, but didn’t have any really passion or power to it until you experience it in your real life… then the song was transformed because of your experience… As vocalist we need to cling to our emotions and use them to better our performance and technique. Understanding and channeling our emotions into our music transforms songs from a musical number into a musical encounter that has the capability of touching, changing, healing and empowering people’s lives! That is the sort of singer I continue to aspire to be and I hope you do to! Thanks for reading 

How Well Do You Know Your Body

HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR BODY?

I have just been reading an article from a voice journal that I subscribe too called the “Journal of Singing” which comes from America. The article makes reference to Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences specifically Musical Intelligence. It discusses how music is an integral part of language intelligent, Logical-mathematical intelligence, Spacial intelligence, Kinaesthetic intelligence as well as Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Intelligences. While all these intelligences are fascinating in how they relate to music, INTRAPERSONAL intelligence is what I find most intriguing and most valuable for the vocalist.
How well you know yourself? How well do you know your body, the muscles, what they do, and how they relate to you making the best possible sound? Instrumentalist search high and low for the best sound, the best instrument they can afford, why not vocalist? How well do you know how you make your sound, or do you just open your mouth and hope for the best. I have always said that the Voice is hard to teach because it is on the inside of you and you can’t just put your finger on something and make a sound. How much money do you spend on what goes into your body to make the sound that you want it to make… is it good CLEAN Food, Water?
The best singers, know their voice, their body, what works for them, what doesn’t, how they make the best sound without tension or pain.
AND the most important thing is WHAT DOES YOUR VOICE SOUND LIKE….???? when was the last time you practiced or sang and taped what you sounded like. In todays technologically advanced world it is so easy to record. Please do it and find out what you actually sound like. The voice in your head isn’t the voice that people hear…. we all know it because we hate listening to ourselves on answering machine, but that is what we sound like when we talk, so check what you sound like when you sing… you could be surprised :)) You are your instrument, know your instrument the best you can, care for it, it has to last a long time!

Resonance

RESONANCE
So I woke up this morning (late) and was thinking (I know, scary). What is the most misunderstood and most difficult to understand aspect of singing, particularly with contemporary vocal technique? In my opinion it is resonance!
Most of us know what we want to sound like, but getting to that point is a different matter. The resonant sound is produced by so many different factors, adjustment and movements within, and out of the body that most people find it too difficult to understand let alone want to! Most people (when you get to know them) can be distinguished by the sound of their voice (if we didn’t’ have caller ID). This is because your lips, tongue, jaw, head, position of the larynx and type and shape of your body all has an effect on the resonance of your sound. Also tension and/or release of all these structures can positively and negatively affect the resonance as well. So how do you choose what you want, to get the best sound that you can produce?

I believe that you as the singer should know your body… you use your sense of touch and your kinesthetic (the physicality of movement) awareness to sense the movement of your body and voice. I could go into great detail about muscle names and functions, but for most of you, that is not what you are looking for out of this page. Exercises to help with exploring your resonance are not hard.

When you are warmed up, start singing different vowels (every vowel has a different resonant sound) and feel your way around your mouth and body. What happens when you sing and poke my tongue out, lock your knees, lengthen your torso, move your jaw, close your mouth, open your mouth, pout your lips etc.…? Explore your sound (ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU RECORD YOURSELF) Find out what the soft palate does (I will probably talk about that at a later time). What is your Pharynx and what does it do? How does your jaw affect how you sing? When you sing, what parts of your body are tense? What parts are relaxed? What affect do your lips and tongue have on your resonance? When you explore these structures that affect the resonance of the voice, you can find a resonance that you like, and change resonance for different styles of contemporary songs. Remember that a good singing teacher should always encourage you to explore your voice and allow that exploration in a safe manner. If you have any questions or would like me to post about something particular please send me a message!
Thanks and happy singing!

Control versus Strength in Singing

CONTROL VS STRENGTH

So who would win in a competition Batman vs Superman, Wonder-woman vs Cat-woman, Captain Kirk vs Captain Picard… this is very interesting but what has it got to do with singing? My question to you is Control vs Strength? Do you sacrifice Control so you can get Strength? Is it possible to have Strength and Control? I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter and I will be posting again tomorrow with what I think is a solution!

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