• Jennifer Iovanne, Practice 12.01.2010 Comments Off on Tis’ the Season (for colds and flus…and lessons!)

    Occasional flu and cold symptoms are inevitable for most of us, especially during the colder months.  Added to the normal responsibilities of school and work, feeling under the weather can leave us with little energy leftover to practice music.  By all means, take a few days off of practice when you’re sick.  But what should you do when you feel well enough to get back into the swing of things? Here’s a few tips, whether you’re a piano guru, a guitar shredder, or a vocal star!

     

    • Wash your hands before lessons!  This is always a good idea, whether
      you’re sick or not.  Preventative care is an awesome way to help avoid
      spreading germs!
    • Aim to practice as regularly as possible – the more consistently you
      take time to rock out on your instrument, the easier it is to keep
      progressing and make learning fun!
    • Get plenty of rest – the more rested and relaxed you are coming to
      lesson, the easier it is to focus and think happy thoughts!

    For voice students, there’s a few other tips to follow:

    • Don’t over-sing.  Yes, it’s tempting to belt out your favorite song
      another 4 times, but doing so can inhibit recovery from colds.  When
      your vocal chords are swollen, keep vocal use in check.  It’s worth
      it!
    • Don’t sing too loudly, too quietly or too high.  Again, be as kind to
      your voice as possible.  Keep the singing range from venturing too
      high, and avoid volume extremes on either end.  Whispering is actually
      pretty tough on vocal chords, believe it or not.
    • Drink lots of liquids.  Water, hot herbal tea are especially great.
      Even when I’m healthy, I drink at least 10 cups of water a day.
      Staying hydrated is really important to the voice!
      Stay healthy in the new year, and keep rocking!

    Voice Lessons in Vancouver, Washington

    Voice Lessons in Clackamas, Oregon

  • Rachel Nichols, Singers, Voice 12.01.2010 Comments Off on Utilizing Your Breath

    A few blogs back we discussed the basics of breathing and how our body should respond to a naturally formed breath.  Now that you have been paying closer attention to how your body operates daily when it inhales and exhales, let’s try some exercises to help form even better breathing habits!

    There are two things we will do to help improve air function.  The first is to STRETCH our breathing muscle so we are able to expand and take in a large amount of air.  The second is to STRENGTHEN our muscles so we can have good control and support in the releasing of our air.

    Here is an exercise for stretching….

    1. Sit on the edge of a chair and lean over, resting your elbows on your knees.  Relax your upper body.  Don’t stiffen your back.  Put one hand on your stomach region underneath your bellybutton.

    2. Now squeeze strongly and release all of your air by pulling your stomach muscles in.  Squeeze everything out until there is nothing left inside!

    3.  Now very slowly take air in through your nose and mouth.  You should feel your stomach expanding and filling up like a balloon.  Take air in until your stomach feels like it will pop.  Air should be filling your body from the bottom of your stomach then upwards.  Your chest and shoulders should not be moving.

    4.  Once you are filled up squeeze quickly and strongly again and push all of the air back out.  You should feel your muscles contracting when you do this.

    Implement this exercise everyday doing 3 to 4 inhales and exhales.  Stop when you feel dizzy!  As you do this exercise you will feel your stomach muscles being able to expand more!  Your body will also start to develop the habit of taking lower, deeper breaths.  Put this into your practice routine and watch as your breathing becomes a strong foundation to your notes! Then we will come back to learn how to strengthen those muscles….stay tuned and good luck!

    Voice Lessons in Vancouver, Washington

    Voice Lessons in Clackamas, Oregon