Lunge Into Your Singing!
Lunge Into Your Singing!
In part five of my five part series: sharing creative ways to integrate breath into your singing. Today, I’ll show you how a simple lunge may be used to align diaphragmatic breathing and create a supported sound.
A quick review of points made throughout the series…
Why this type of physical movement for singers?
Throughout this series, I have been using physical actions to take the idea of breath management out of your head and put it into and on your body. When you physically to do the action, you have the opportunity to put your academic intellect on hold and let your body knowledge do the work.
These exercises, used in small dosages, round out a singer’s understanding of how deeply breath is connected to sound, the precise muscle coordination involved, and the gentle balance between singing athleticism and allowing breath to “naturally” occur.
I thought breathing was supposed to be simple and natural?
We all breathe… but for some of us allowing for a “natural” breath may be a place of ambiguity. Perhaps you have unconsciously acquired some bad habits. These exercises are fashioned to bring awareness and clarity to how the body WANTS to breathe… low diaphragmatic breathing, efficient muscle use, and an active breath that gives freedom to the vocal apparatus and enhances singing stamina.
This exercise is a variation of an exercise passed on to me by master teacher, Madeline Abel-Kerns founder of the Body.Breath.Sing. Method™.
Key Points to Remember
1. The exhale and the physical exercise begin at the same moment
2. The exhale, sustained sound, and physical exercise also begin at the same moment
3. Allow for lots of space in the upper torso, spine, neck, and throat
4. Relax your jaw and tongue
5. Inhale as silently as possible
1. Exhale fully (watch video for demonstration)
On the natural inhale, allow your lower abdominals to fill. Chest and shoulder are relaxed, open and free. No holding your rib cage, shoulder, or neck.
3. Add physical motion
On the exhale, begin the physical motion the lunge. You may do a standing lunge or a walking lunge. I prefer the forward momentum of the walking lunge.
Just like you are at the gym…. Keep your knee of your lunging leg directly above your foot…your knee should never extend over your toes.
Unlike the gym, there is no competition here. The goal is to feel free and open in your body. No muscling your way through this exercise. Allow the movement…. Allow the breath to move with ease.
Do the relaxed lunge motion as you “silently” exhale.
4. Allow for deep expansion
As you move with the breath, bring attention to how the lower abdominals engage. The abdominals are not just located in your front stomach area…or on the sides of your torso…they reach all the way down to your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is how low and internal the breath may be engaged. Allow for this deep expansion.
Continue the motion until you have reached full exhale.
On the inhale, let your arms descend to a relaxed starting position. Take your time to allow for full inhale, your lower belly dropping or falling as breath capacity increases. Upper torso is relaxed and buoyant.
6. Add sustained pitch
Now exhale with a pitch. As you start the lunge, feel your way through the motion, always providing for space in the spine, neck, and throat. Allow for deep expansion in the pelvic floor, releasing any tension in the upper torso.
Feel how breath, sound, and motion move as one. Feel the muscle coordination that is gently working to create your sound. Feel the openness of the sound as it exits your body. Feel your entire body singing.
7. Add a phrase of music
Try this exercise with a phrase of music. Then feel free to add several phrases of music, taking adequate time between each phrase to inhale slowly and with physical freedom.
As you can see… this exercise is very similar the work done with the sit-up, squat, and bicep-curl. All get the body involved in the singing process in a new way.
Don’t take my word for it. Try this exercise for yourself. Play! Have fun!
Let me know how it goes…. and always feel free to ask me any questions.
Happy singing! Until next week…. Rejoice In Your Voice™!
Click video below to watch the exercise demo:
January 24, 2014
Tricia – I LOVE the way you teach singing! As someone who helps others learn to move better so they can dive into their passions without reserve – your embodied approach to voice is utterly inspiring. Thank you! I will happily share this with all the singers in my life. 🙂
January 25, 2014
I’m not a singer, but I love reading your blog for tips to help with public speaking. This one could be great for practicing your talk at home – that way the proper breathing would become part of your “muscle memory.” Love the video instruction, too.
August 10, 2015
I so wish you had started your website back in 2006! I must be a kinesthetic learner because engaging your five lessons is helping my mind connection! I have taken private lessons for over 10 years. When I attended college, in order to attain a degree in vocal performance, you had to perform for the board of the vocal department. I failed because of breath, lol. Everything was beautiful, perfect, impressive, but my approach and attack of breath has always been horrendous. So excited to implement and establish this connection. Breath has always been ambiguous for me until now. Thank you!
October 1, 2015
Hello Sarah ~ I am so glad you are finding these teaching helpful I can very much relate to your story. I am so sorry about the results of your vocal department performance – how stressful! What I share on this site has truly transformed my singing and the breath is the foundation. Keep up the fun and connecting to the breath! Best wishes!