Monday, May 02, 2022

Why are we stretching when we’ve come to sing?

I believe that proper preparation for singing is vital.

But sometimes I forget to explain why to singers who come to my one-off sessions. This is what I should remember to tell them.

I always try to begin each new singing project with a brief explanation of my approach to voice and singing. Especially if singers haven’t worked with me before.

But sometimes I forget! Also, I get a little bored with using the same old phrases.

Here’s what I should say to singers at the start of each project.

Singers often expect some kind of warm up, but not necessarily a physical one. So stretching and shaking can be unfamiliar when people have come to sing.

Preparing yourself for singing is important. I try not to use the phrase “warm up”, because that doesn’t do justice to what that preparation involves (and also doesn’t make sense on a hot day!).

I believe that the voice is rooted in the body and the breath. We need to prepare ourselves by (re)connecting our voices with our bodies and breath.

Our voice is just one small part of our body. It depends on a whole system of interconnected muscles and tendons.

The majority of people in everyday life have lazy bodies and lazy breathing; their posture tends to be slack. We need to re-engage and wake up our bodies in order to improve our posture, reduce tensions and free up our breath.

That’s why I always do stretching, hip wiggling, shaking, and so on when preparing to sing.

You can read more details in my series of four posts Preparing to sing.

You might also like to read:

The singers who didn’t like warm ups (and what became of them)

How to adapt singing warm ups if you have limited mobility

How to develop perfect warm up exercises for your choir

How to keep your warm ups and singing sessions fresh and engaging

Chris Rowbury


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