Part 2: “Do Squat” to Improve Your Singing
Part 2 of a 5 part series: sharing creative ways to integrate breath into your singing.
Use a standard exercise squat to improve your singing.
Do you hear blah…. blah… blah….?
In a singer’s study, they may hear instructions like – “Your singing needs to be grounded in your body.” “Use your entire body to sing.” “Have strong legs when you sing.” “Sing on the breath.” These are words and images that may not translate easily into every person’s vocal technique. A well-meaning phrase may sound more like blah… blah… blah….
Many paths to enlightenment
I believe there are many ways to help a student connect with his/her breath and body – different types of learners need different types of explanations, or activities, to inspire the breakthrough.
For me, I spent most of my career listening and seeing breath explanations… but I did not truly feel the connection or feel the coordination until I started doing this type of work. These exercises are variations that were passed on to me by master teacher Madeline Abel Kerns of the Body, Breath, Sing Method™.
Let’s get movin’
Step 1. Coordinate the breath
Start in a standing position. Feet shoulder width apart. Begin by allowing a full exhale and then allowing the air to naturally flow into your lungs on the inhale… with an open throat, allow the breath to travel as silently as possible. You will notice how naturally the lower abdominals engage when practicing this action. No pushing, no pulling, no holding… just allowing for a full circle of breath.
Step 2. Add motion
Once you feel comfortable with your standing breath, let’s add the squat. The most important part about this motion is that you begin the move into the squat right on the natural exhale. Motion and breath are one. Try this a few times – observing the steps of muscle coordination that your body is experiencing.
(don’t forget to… )
Remember – allow the exhale and inhale to be as silent as possible and for your neck, jaw, and tongue to stay relaxed and free.
3. Add sound
Next, I would like us to add a sustained tone to the movement. Keeping the idea that motion and breath, and now sound, are one.
Note: On the sustaining tone, I will do several squats during one breath.
4. Add melody
Move to the next level by adding a phrase of music.
Through this process, my students and I have found
1. We are intrinsically grounded in our feet, legs, and hips.
2. We are out of head and in our body.
3. Our breath is low and diaphragmatically supported.
4. Our Breath and sound are connected and coordinated.
5. We are singing with the breath that is “on” the body.
Play with this exercise – give it a try the next time you feel you are stuck and want a new way to become connected to your breath and sound.
Watch the exercise video demo below.
Let me know how it goes… I would love to know how this exercise feels to you.
Rejoice In Your Voice™!