Case in point: I’ve seen students, in an attempt to “breathe into their belly,” literally attempt to put air in their abdomen.
Problem is this: you have no lung tissue in your belly.
Zero. Nada. None.
Yet when singers hear this instruction they attempt to do just that.
This is an impossible task to carry out, like trying to inhale and exhale at the same time, and the result is dissonance in our systems.
Dissonance in our system = physical tightening.
Another place I see this form of dissonance is when singers tell themselves to “relax” as a solution to get rid of tension.
I’m certainly not anti-relaxing (who doesn’t love relaxing on a couch bingeing on Netflix?).
But I don’t think the concept has much use in singing or any performing art.
Relaxation is defined as “the state of being free from tension.”
Sounds nice, huh?
Except for one small problem.
Singing, even the most free kind, involves a certain amount of tension. That’s necessary or appropriate tension.
By telling yourself to “relax” when you sing you set yourself up to do an impossible task.
Ironically – more tension!
Think about it: if “relaxing” actually worked, there wouldn’t be any tense singers!
Some singers believe that if they just did a better job of relaxing they would have more freedom.
I’m here to blow that myth to smithereens.
Singing is a highly activated and energized whole-body activity that does require a certain amount of tension (in the right places).
Part of your work as a singer is to discover the appropriate amount of effort required to sing each note, phrase and piece.
Nothing more, nothing less.
So instead of relaxing, I suggest a few more useful concepts:
- Restore balance and poise to your system
- Seek out places where you can release and let go of unnecessary tension
- Critically examine your pre-existing ideas about what you think you need to do to sing
- Learn how to cooperate with your body instead of fight it (which first requires that you know how your body is designed).
These are all things I teach you how to do in my regular vocal freedom email tips.
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