Magic Choral Trick #204 Rip it Up Fabulous Singing – At the Party After the Gig

Was chatting with a student this week about the difference between our solo singing on the gig, and the standing around the piano, drink in hand, stunning top A’s and endless breath control we can pull off at the party afterwards.

Granted, because there’s usually a beverage involved, our perception of our own singing could be somewhat altered. But then someone says something like “Wow – Why didn’t you do THAT out there on the stage tonight?” (At which point we thank them, then quickly move on to find someone else to talk to.)

Once upon a time I thought I’d try to duplicate that ‘after the gig’ feeling by having one glass of wine before I went onstage. It was great – no nerves before the show, no nerves or tension as I walked onto the stage and started the first song. Then Bam! Halfway into the first piece, every part of me tensed up as I realized that my brain was having a little undeserved vacation.

Didn’t ever do that again.

But what if our brains are still active, vigilant and clear – but our bodies think that we’re just relaxing.

I’m speaking now to choir members as well as solo singers. (However – this is for the keeners – the singers who work so hard and care so much, that they create tension in the body, and therefore in the sound.)

We can trick our bodies into letting go of the stress by adopting postures that are more associated with down time:

Like leaning back against a wall – feet about 8 to 10 inches out from the wall, and back, hips and head resting against the wall

Like sitting forward, and leaning forward in a chair, with elbows resting on the knees, as you look at the floor.

I asked one student to slouch back in a chair while pretending to hold her favourite beverage – and that worked too!

The mind must still be as vigilant as ever – and thinking all the correct thoughts, but the body is being tricked into believing that it’s on vacation.

Once our bodies learn this feeling of relaxation as we’re singing, it begins to become muscle memory, and we can then sing freely in any position.


About janetkidd

I've been waving my arms in front of choirs now for more than 35 years - and these are descriptions of all the very best things I've learned. I direct a Women's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Men's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Med School choir, and for a few weeks each year - Big Choir (about 100 voices) - which performs at an annual fundraising concert. Hope at least some of these Choral Magic Tricks will be useful to you - and thanks for reading. Janet

Posted on December 3, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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