Thursday, July 29, 2010

Singing under the shower

We all do it.

"I only sing under the shower". That's what you will hear most people say.

But why sing under the shower ? Why not in the kitchen or in the bedroom ? Two main reasons :

1) Making you aware of your muscles

To sing, you need the following muscles (I'm just giving a few, there's 800 muscles involved in the breathing process ! ! !):

- your abdominals
- your back
- your neck.

Those are the principals.

When you read about singing exercises you will mostly hear about the abdominal muscles. "Keep your belly in, let your stomach go out, relax your abdominals, sustain pressure."

But what about the back muscles ? the neck muscles ?

The back :

- The muscles of your back help you to expel the last bit of air and maintain stability in your breathing. Should you have an emotion, your abdominals are gonna be unstable. Your guts are trembling if you're stroke with an emotion. Your back, on the contrary, doesn't move. It keeps on sustaining the airflow, it's the solid base you're gonna rely upon to keep your singing open and clear even when the text moves you to tears.

Exercise :

Bend forward. Take a deep breath, and start expelling air pronouncing the consonant "f". As you expel the air, start straightening your back. Do you feel how the muscles in your lower back and between your shoulder plates help you expel the air ? When you're straightened, start taking your belly in while breathing out the last bit of air. Feel the energy in your back muscles ?

The neck :

- The neck muscles control your vocal chords. If they're tight, your vocal chords are tight and your singing will be "tight". The sound will be screamy, you will have to force the air out, the whole thing will just be full of tension. That is not what we're looking for.

Exercise :

Try to tuck your head inside your shoulders. Raise your shoulders and retract your head inside of them. Now try to sing... feel the tightness we where talking about ?
Now put your shoulders back, and straighten your neck. Not too much, we don't want to go inside the opposite tension. Just normal posture. Now try to sing. Yeaaah, much more relaxed.

Being under the shower does two things for you. The warm water relaxes your neck, and the water dripping along your back makes you aware of your back muscles, which we generally don't control consciously.

Therefore, you have much more power, and much more resonance because of the relaxation.

Talking about resonance...

2) Resonance

The shower/bathroom is generally a small room in which you close the door. This causes a lot of resonance. This resonance is like a reverb you put on the microphone. It makes your voice smoother, and you hear the harmonics of it better. When singing, you will naturally adapt your voice for this resonance to be maximized, just because of the pleasure to hear yourself sing in a relaxed, resonating and stable manner.

So don't stop singing under the shower. It's an excellent exercise. But don't make it your unique singing exercise. Try an empty church, a parking, a tunnel. Those are great voice resonators too. And why not once try a karaoke, for others to enjoy your singing as well ?

For exercises regarding muscle relaxation and usage of the back muscles don't hesitate to visit the Vocalist site

Singing Regards,