Before any performance or practice session, it is important to prepare both your body and your voice to make sure that you can showcase the best of your abilities. Having natural talent is brilliant, but like any skill or project, the key is in the preparation to make sure that you feel fantastic, confident and ready to shine.
Mind, Body and Positive Energy
Before making a squeak, you will need to engage your body and your brain to deliver the performance of a lifetime – even if it’s just a practice session you are preparing for, make every performance better than the last, if you believe that this will be your greatest performance yet, you will push yourself to show greater and greater talent with each note, each song and each performance. Giving yourself a pep talk is one of the key factors in warming up for a show or rehearsal, your mind is very influential when it comes to physical performance, so if your head-space is good, your performance will be, too!
If you are struggling with stage-fright or the stresses of everyday life; stand tall, taking deep breaths in through the nose to a count of four, hold it for a count of seven, and release through the mouth to the count of eight. This is a well-known breathing exercise, known to calm anxiety and help insomniacs drift off to sleep, but it will also help to calm any performance related nerves, and wok on your breathing at the same time, bonus!
Preparing your body is a great habit to get into whether performing is a regular occurrence for you or not. Making sure that you are nourished, hydrated and physically warmed up will give you an energy and confidence boost – ready for show-time! Every singer knows what foods and drinks affect their voice, so drink plenty of whatever is good for you and your vocal chords and make sure you have eaten within the past 4 hours to keep your energy up. If you do not know what food and drink negatively affect you yet, eat at least a cereal bar and stick to luke-warm water. Try to do some light stretches, focussing on the stomach and diaphragm to get your airways open and clear.
Let’s Make Some Noise!
Now that you’re feeling positive, confident, nourished and calm, it’s time to make sure that your vocals are ready to wow your audience.
The first exercise is designed to get your lips and facial muscles moving – it will also make you feel a bit silly and hopefully put you in a good mood!
Relax your facial muscles and make sure your lips are together lightly, not forced together, but sealed.
Place two fingers on each cheek and push the skin up until your fingers rest on the hinge of your jaw, this should not pull tight enough to cause discomfort but should stretch the lips slightly.
Start by humming, then push the air out through your mouth rather than your nose. This should result in a silly ‘mmm’ noise, which makes your lips vibrate together – similar to the fake ‘ringing phone’ noise you make with your lips.
Play around with pitch, or even practice scales whilst warming up your lips and mouth muscles.
Warm-up 2 – Me and Ooh
This warm up is actually for your vocals and to get your voice ready for your performance;
Start by saying, or singing, a ‘me’ sound. Use your normal voice to begin, ensuring that it is coming out clearly and is not obstructed by anything in the throat or mouth.
Starting low, without pushing your range, ‘me,me,me’ through the scale until you reach your highest comfortable note. Again, do not push.
‘Me, me, me’ back down, but this time, gently push lower than where you started.
‘Me, me, me’ back up the scale, again, pushing gently at the top.
Repeat with ‘Ooh’ sounds, then ‘Aah’s.
Now that you’ve warmed up your mind, body and voice, you are ready to take to the stage and steal the show, or rehearsal. Putting your best self out there every time will boost your confidence, give you more faith in your own abilities and push you to consistently improve and work on your talents and natural abilities.
*Once your performance or rehearsal is over, don’t forget to cool back down to avoid straining or damaging your vocal cords and overworking yourself*
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