Try These Movement Drills to Improve Vocal Clarity

November 8, 2017

Let's keep digging in on the voice-body relationship! How does movement affect our voice? Maybe you've experienced a change in your singing after increasing movement in some way. If you haven't, try singing a phrase of your song cold, then sing the same phrase after doing 10 jumping-jacks. You'll probably notice a different energy in your sound. At the very least we can count on movement to inspire the energy in our breath, maybe even freeing the breath and thus freeing the sound. This is why a physical warm up is a great place to start your morning singing routine.  



But let's go a step further in our movement conversation. Most all of us have some places in our body that can be more clearly mapped out or made more proprioceptive. It's hard to place our sound or breath somewhere that is hard to feel. As an example, it's easy for me to lose awareness of my lower back without a well-intentioned exercise. We are all unique and have our own versions of these places (though lower back does tend to get lost on many people). 


To improve our awareness of these places, we should increase movement and add physical contact (or vibration). You better believe I'm going to do some floor breathing to improve that lower back breathing. Why? Having the contact with the floor will open up that area. Tapping, rubbing and scratching is also super helpful to create better mapping for those tense spots. (Hint: try using a body brush)


Here's a couple mobility drills to try out to increase vocal agility: 


1. LUMBAR CIRCLES - facing forward, laterally lunge into one leg and "rag doll" over into the bent leg. Continue to circle around to the other side and roll up one vertebrae at a time to neutral position. Repeat once or twice and switch sides. 


2. CAT COW (Thoracic Glide) - on palms on knees, (1) round up through your mid-back and release your head. Move slowly back to center and (2) curl underneath while lifting the chin slightly up to stretch the spinal cord in the other direction. 

These movements should be synchronized with breath! Be sure to test each of these drills before and after singing a phrase or two or your song, and note which ones create a positive change. 


Good luck and keep on MOVIN'!


Special thanks to Andrew Byrne and his Singing Athlete course for much of this topic's inspiration.



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