To be a professional singer, you must have the goods. It is the foundation on which we build the career. The building blocks of this foundation are a healthy technique, unforgettable musicianship, and captivating stage presence. Easy, right? No amount of “career-making” will make up for deficits in these areas. Lead magnets and sales funnels can make us career obsessed rather than focusing on the foundational work that needs to be done.
Career obsessed? Me? The girl who writes annual, month-long series about how to make a career in classical singing?! … Never… Well, this phrase really hit home when I heard it, “artists often begin mission-driven and somehow along the way get tricked into being career-driven. The creative process is the house and the career-making is the scaffolding.” Do not let yourself become all scaffolding. Make sure that foundation is solid.
Your Day 22 Challenge for this 29 Days to Diva is to Evaluate Your Technique.
I witnessed quite a rousing Facebook conversation (aren’t they all though?) the other day about technique. If you want to perform at the superior level of top professionals, whether you’re an NFL player or an opera singer, you need to understand what your body is doing to make that performance happen. That understanding of technique does not replace the need for artistry but rather allows for it to happen more regularly and healthily.
While you’re doing your daily grind activity of practice today, challenge yourself to turn your awareness to two specific areas of technique. Since we’ve updated our practice routines to give focused attention to technical issues, this should be an easy transition. I highly recommend you check out the writing that Claudia Friedlander does on the subject of healthy vocal technique. She writes it so succinctly and with an impressive depth of knowledge. She is currently featuring a series called The Master Singer which is an incredible resource for us.
The Breath is the Fuel for the Voice
All of my voice students know that I am obsessed with the “low, silent breath.” It is practically a mantra in our studio. While focusing on technique today, evaluate your breath coordination. Do you feel that relaxed and silent inhalation? Record yourself while you sing and specifically listen for the breath.
Could you experience better alignment when inhaling or phonating? For example, I thought I had good singing posture for quite a while until I decided to give myself a “Yoga30” challenge and realized I didn’t fully understand the feeling of “shoulder blades flat across your back.” Be open to new ideas especially in areas that you thought were solid.
Are You Freely Vibrating?
For today’s second technique tune-up area, reflect on the coordination and response of your vocal folds. In technical exercises, sightreading, and repertoire, check to make sure your vocal folds are coming together cleanly. Can you tell when you are putting too much pressure into the area or moments when you’re disengaged? To put it more clearly, make it one of your goals today to pay attention to the adduction and abduction of your vocal folds throughout the entire practice session.
Check Your Foundation
Even if you were lucky enough to work with vocal technique geniuses in your educational and training background, take a moment to check for any cracks in the foundation. It would be silly for us to have impeccable scaffolding only to miss that the house is crumbling in front of us. Finally, we don’t want to focus too much on the scaffolding at the expense of the rest of the house. We also do not want to focus only on the foundation at the expense of the rest of the house. Let each aspect strengthen and add more value to the whole.
Oh what fun it is to ride with my divas who also slay…
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