Page 5 - Voice for Life Yellow Workbook
P. 5

 Stretching the spine
Singing often involves long periods of standing. If the area around your lower spine aches after standing for a while, this could be because it is too curved. Try stretching the base of your spine with this exercise.
Place your hands on your hips, with your thumbs on the hip bone at the front and the fingers behind.
Bend your knees slightly. Turn your pelvis by moving your thumbs upwards and backwards slightly while your fingers move downwards and forwards.
 Relaxed or locked knees?
Stand up straight with your body balanced. Relax your shoulders, put your hands down by your side, and relax your knees. Keep your head and spine straight, and your breathing steady and natural. Breathe in and out a few times.
Now lock your knees (push them back as far as you can) and breathe in and out a few times, as naturally as possible. You will begin to feel that your breathing has become restricted and that there is tension in the lower abdomen and up towards the throat. Unlock your knees once more, and breathe again to feel the difference. Try this when leaning your body weight to one side and locking one knee. You will find that this affects your breathing too.
 The effect of balance and tension
In your bare feet, walk around the room singing a simple song. Now walk on tiptoe and do the same exercise. Can you feel your leg muscles stretching? Can you feel how your body has to adjust the balance and position of your head? You may also find that you cannot reach high notes as easily.
Try this exercise with another singer. While one of you sings, the other should listen to hear the difference in the timbre of the voice. Then swap over.
Bear in mind that shoes with a heel higher than 4cm force the body to re-adjust and balance itself. This can affect the quality of the voice.
 Relaxing the shoulders
Keep your shoulders relaxed at all times as tension will affect your voice. Raise your shoulders up as far as you can. Drop them a little, and then drop them again to release tension in the shoulders. Compare the feeling of tense and relaxed shoulders.
Your body is your musical instrument. Take care of it every day. Think about your posture often – when standing in a queue, while chatting or cooking. Good posture helps the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body, releasing tensions and making you feel fitter and more energetic. You could ask your choir trainer for more advice about your own posture and how to improve it. Here are some hints.
The following exercises will help you to compare good and bad posture, and the corresponding effects on your body and your vocal production.
 Module A: Using the voice well 5

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