This means to turn off our tendency to live on autopilot. It means mindful movement. It means living in your body. It means focusing your attention on what you are doing at any given moment.
We, humans, are creatures of routine and ritual. Our routines and our rituals provide security for us. We learn how to move about the world safely by performing our routines and rituals. The downside of this is that after a while many of us zone out. Remember all those times you’ve driven to a familiar place and upon arrival realized that you couldn’t recall any details of the journey? That’s letting your inner autopilot take over.
We live in a world that is moving at tremendous speed. Multitasking is our way of life. The thing is, multitasking is really a myth. Don’t get me wrong it’s primal programming, the gift of divided attention allows us to keep an eye out for danger while carrying out our routines and rituals. But divided attention doesn’t work for singing, or that important business meeting, or that training class you’re leading, or the sport you’re playing, or any activity where you need to be fully involved and at the top of your game.
It’s so very easy to tune out, and all of us do it from time to time. How often are we “asleep” at work? How many times do we catch ourselves half listening to our friends or family?
In singing, your body is your instrument of communication. You must be tuned in to your body to consciously recognize the sensations of singing in order to produce, reproduce, and gain mastery of them.
Before you sing, you must get grounded, meaning that you get your mind connected to your body. The easiest way to do this is with some physical warm ups before making sound.
Physical Warm Up Exercises
- Circle your arms
- Stretch up to the sky
- Stretch down to the ground
- Bend your knees
- Shake out your arms and legs
After warming up your body, begin to warm up your voice.
Vocal Warm Up Exercises
- Gently sigh or yawn
- Hum on pitch, do some arpeggios
- Try a few lip or tongue trills
- Then add vowel sounds
- Do some breathing exercises
Physical and Vocal Warm Ups are essential for reconnecting the mind to the body and for avoiding vocal or musculoskeletal injury.
Work on connecting your mind to your body and you will be well prepared to gain conscious mastery over your instrument.