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

Singing Basics #1: Posture

This month we’ll explore 4 core areas of singing technique: posture, breathing, resonance and tone. These are the topics that start most voice lessons, and also the ones that even the most experienced singers refer back to time and time again.

The first time I went in for a professional massage, I was about 15 years old. At our first session, the therapist told me that my neck and shoulders were so tight, she should take me on as a charity case. This continued, until two years later, when suddenly everything changed. “Are you less stressed now?” she asked me. “Did you meet someone?”

The truth was, I had picked up a new love: dancing. Continue reading