Snowfish and Stardom

Connemara, our castle“If the INFP is a queen, then her home is her castle, her refuge and her domain.”

When I read this sentence years ago in my personality profile, I remember laughing about it with my boyfriend. Me, a homemaker? My culinary repertoire consisted of pasta and cookies, and the sight of a cleaning brush made me break out in a cold sweat. And yet now, five years later, like all terrible things, it seems to be coming true.

From looking at my humble, mismatched little apartment, you would never know it. I’m not a queen in a domestic-goddess sense. I’m more a queen in the medieval sense; I married into this position for life. I just happened to marry a TCK (third-culture king. Or was it kid?). Together we dreamed together of living in the far reaches of the world, and his vocation as an international school teacher made it possible.

In our first country, Thailand, many forces combined to relieve me of my royal domestic duties. Continue reading

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3 Pranayama Exercises for Singers

Bamboo meditationAs a singer who practices yoga for its health benefits, I can’t help noticing many similarities between certain singing and yoga exercises. It’s not surprising, since both singing and pranayama are considered Arts of Breathing. While not all yoga exercises are useful for singing (the Ocean Breath, for example, which involves constricting the throat, is great for yoga practice but not so much for good vocal tone), there are three pranayama exercises which I’ve long incorporated into my daily singing routine to great results. And singing aside, they also work as great go-to energy fixes when you need to clear and focus your mind and you don’t have time for a nap! Continue reading

The Where, When and Whether of Marking

Road marksRichard Miller, in his book “Solutions for Singers”, gives this good definition of marking: “Sparing the voice during rehearsal through reducing dynamic levels; indicating certain pitches rather than singing them fully.”

While the purpose of marking is to save the voice, particularly when directors are placing high demands on a singer, or a singer is “out of voice” (due to illness, oversinging, etc.), many teachers and singers claim that it hurts more than it helps. Still, I have yet to meet a professional singer that does not mark from time to time, and have met many an amateur who could benefit from marking techniques. Continue reading