Monday, November 16, 2020

What If You Don't Feel Like Singing?

   It has been a rough year for many singers during the pandemic. I hope you have stayed healthy and have found ways to keep singing. I’ve been very impressed by my students this year. Some have really used their extra stay-at-home time to double-down on practicing. Some have been working on sets of songs in preparation for when we’re all free to go to concerts again. Some have been live-streaming to stay in touch with their fans. And one go-getter student gigged steadily from the summer until now, all at outside/distanced shows.

    But some of us have been too challenged by 2020 to do much besides scrape by and watch too much TV. I have singer friends who haven’t sung in months. If this sounds like you don’t let your lack of singing or practicing get you down. It’s enough right now to just get through the pandemic, you don’t have to do more than that. Singing will still be there when you feel like singing again.

     If you don’t feel like singing but you really want to get or keep your voice going, try the baby steps approach: 

1. Once a day sing a song, any song, a cappella.
2. If songs feel too emotional set a timer for 5-10 minutes and sing some of your warmups. Just a small bit of singing can help you retain your vocal strength and technique, and since endorphins are released when we sing it might also brighten your mood.
3. Forget songs and warmups: just make some sounds. They might be out-of-tune, silly, sing-songy, or weird. Just let yourself vocalize in some way. Do it in the shower if you’re worried about others hearing you.
        I have done all of the above at various times this year!

        If you are like my singer friend who completely stopped singing last spring but are now ready to bring your voice back, go slowly as you let your vocal cords and singing habits reawaken. Sing small-range songs. Perhaps only do the earlier, easier parts of your warmup. You may need to pay more attention to breathing and facial resonance for awhile. If you can do lip trills (also called lip rolls or motorboating) and/or tongue rolls do a lot of them: loose ones, or over scales or songs. I show you these starting at 2:54 of my video “Singing When You’re Sick”.
    If you’re really feeling rusty or having difficulties bringing your voice back, my method The Vocal Recovery Warmup can help. It includes several warmups of varying levels of difficulty, plus lots of instruction. One of my students, who sings professionally, still uses the last set of exercises as his daily warmup. Make sure to read the pdf guidebook that comes with the download, the audio lessons can be used alone but using them in tandem with the book is much more effective.

    I hope we all get to sing with each other and for each other, IN PERSON, in 2021!

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