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How can we best develop muscular memory for singing?

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voicewisdom
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On the 'singing tongue' thread, Raphaels asked if it was good to do these exercises sitting in the office. And it made me think in more general terms, what's the best way to develop good singing habits?

My general answer to questions on how to learn and automate new techniques and muscular patterns is to try to introduce them outside our singing sessions. If we are awake for, say 16 hours a day, and only think about our singing muscles for 45-60 minutes of that at the most, then what are we doing with those muscles the rest of time? Most likely, we are collapsing the spine, tightening the neck, breathing shallowly, speaking from the throat rather than the belly etc. In other words, for most of our waking hours, we may well be repeating and reinforcing the bad habits we are so keenly trying to eradicate during our singing lessons and practice time.

It makes sense to see if we can incorporate awareness of even one muscular technique into odd moments throughout the day: relax the jaw, and align the neck before picking up the phone to speak; sit up straight on the bus / tram; free the shoulders and lift heavy objects using the knees; and yes, do the odd tongue swallow or other tongue exercise while sitting at your desk.

If we make this physical and vocal awareness part of our every day - throughout the day - behaviour, then warming up, or even going straight into singing doesn't then feel like we have to set up or step into a completely different body or muscular setup in order to sing.

Alexander

http://www.OxfordSingingLessons.co.uk/resources.html

http://www.youtube.com/voicewisdom

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On the 'singing tongue' thread, Raphaels asked if it was good to do these exercises sitting in the office. And it made me think in more general terms, what's the best way to develop good singing habits?

My general answer to questions on how to learn and automate new techniques and muscular patterns is to try to introduce them outside our singing sessions. If we are awake for, say 16 hours a day, and only think about our singing muscles for 45-60 minutes of that at the most, then what are we doing with those muscles the rest of time? Most likely, we are collapsing the spine, tightening the neck, breathing shallowly, speaking from the throat rather than the belly etc. In other words, for most of our waking hours, we may well be repeating and reinforcing the bad habits we are so keenly trying to eradicate during our singing lessons and practice time.

It makes sense to see if we can incorporate awareness of even one muscular technique into odd moments throughout the day: relax the jaw, and align the neck before picking up the phone to speak; sit up straight on the bus / tram; free the shoulders and lift heavy objects using the knees; and yes, do the odd tongue swallow or other tongue exercise while sitting at your desk.

If we make this physical and vocal awareness part of our every day - throughout the day - behaviour, then warming up, or even going straight into singing doesn't then feel like we have to set up or step into a completely different body or muscular setup in order to sing.

Alexander

http://www.OxfordSingingLessons.co.uk/resources.html

http://www.youtube.com/voicewisdom

alex, i'm thrilled to see you've joined the tmv forum. bob

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Nice post. Good to see you here, Alexander.

I think another big piece is visualization. Visualizing the sensations of resonance and phonation, muscle movements and releases, the effortless sound you produce, and even the positive audience reaction will play a huge role in conditioning your neurology when you can't actually sing. Top athletes have been found to do tons of visualization of their form and performance.

Joanna Cazden and Jaime Vendera (both TMV experts I believe) each sell great audio programs that take you through great singing specific visualizations and I can't recommend them highly enough. The improvements were actually quite fast and dramatic for me, I was expecting a really slow hard to quantify improvement but I was hitting new notes easier after listening the first night.

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