Lip rolls are great. I do them daily - early in the morning and late in the day. They stimulate the lips and wake up the cords and at the end of the day it’s like a gentle massage to calm things down. Don’t stay fixated on them. Move on to other exercises that include fricatives, nasals, and plosives and start singing when you feel good and warmed up. You can do exercises until the cows come home, but the only thing that will get you singing is to sing!
automaton |ôˈtämətən, -ˌtän|
noun (pl. automata |-tə| or automatons)
a moving mechanical device made in imitation of a human being.
You wake up and head to the kitchen to make coffee, moan and groan and start doing the same thing day after day after day. When was the last time you changed your routine?
When a student comes in stressed and I ask if they’d like to share anything, it’s usually that they are bogged down doing the same thing and they feel pressured and behind schedule. The stress compounds when they can’t seem to find time for their music. Just a little change in your daily routine may jump start you in a positive direction.
Starting tomorrow morning, instead of shuffling into the kitchen, go outside and do 10 jumping jacks. Crazy? Maybe. But I promise you’ll either laugh or curse and that will be a good start to changing your routine. Maybe you’ll write a song about it!
It’s interesting how some cultures celebrate karaoke and no one is afraid to sing in public. Here in the U.S.? I have so many students dealing with real life stage fright. Take baby steps to share your voice in public. Start by humming. I’ve observed my students are far less fearful when their mouth is closed. As soon as they open up their mouth, it’s as if they’re sharing the deepest part of themselves. Face your fear of singing in public by taking small steps. As soon as you’re comfortable with humming, you can take the next step by singing melodies with ooh’s and ah’s. Just make sure you’re doing this in public. I find myself humming when I cook and when I go grocery shopping!
When my daughter, Nikki, was in grade school I used to ask her several questions to sum up her day. What’s the best and worst thing that happened today? What’s the funniest and saddest thing you heard today? You can use these simple prompts on yourself to come up with ideas for songs. Your audience is interested in you and how you live and observe life. It’s not necessary to look for prompts online. You have all the story ideas you need in your head from your daily life experiences.
It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I never stop being aware of it and it’s been 15 years since I was first diagnosed. My art kept me centered during some dark moments.
It was about 2 weeks before my mastectomy and 6 months of chemo and I was in an understandably strange headspace. My art and teaching mentor, Phyllis, encouraged me to write and produce a song to help me work thru my feelings. Phyllis was an art therapist for terminally ill children so had a lot of experience in this area. The song I wrote was a reflection of feeling like I was floating between 2 worlds. Underneath me was the cacophony of life that I felt separated from and above me was a calm that I couldn’t reach. I trusted my Buddhist friend, Rick, to produce what I was feeling. My Jewish friend (and pianist on the track), Mitch, had given me a prayer to recite before going into surgery that called on angels to surround and comfort me. I mention those angels in the lyrics. I thought about the Catholic saints I knew from my youth for lyric inspiration.
I’m sharing this story because I want all of you to write for yourself and share your stories. Money and fame from your art is great, but there is no greater healing of the self than writing from and for the depths of your soul.
For the month of October, the zuketeas Original Blend and Autumn Cider teas are 15% off to celebrate Zuke's 15 years as a breast cancer survivor.