Last week we talked about spending vocal bucks and a few things we can do to ensure we don't OVER-spend. Here's a few more self-care tips to help stretch out those bucks, so that we are in top shape for auditions and performances.
NASAL BREATHING. When you aren't speaking, take some time to check in with your natural breathing pattern. Are you breathing through your mouth or your nose? Nose breathing is more efficient and encourages lower abdominal breathing. We want more of this -- especially in NYC where the frenetic pace can often cause shallow and rushed breathing. Many of us are hyperventilating without even knowing it.
In Patrick McKeown's book The Oxygen Advantage, he says "Noses are for breathing and mouths are for eating." If we are mouth breathing, our CO2 losses are higher than if we were nose breathing (loss of CO2 means less transport of oxygen to our blood cells. Not to mention, CO2 calms our brain. Double win!). All this said, mouth breathing is a fatigue accelerator because it will dry our respiratory tract, thereby making our vocal system work overtime. So, nasal breathing while awake (and asleep) is super important! If nose breathing is hard for you due to congestion, I recommend Breathe Right Nasal strips!
We talked about joint openers last week -- once your body is feeling open and aligned, you can try these simple vocal exercises. Remember to keep it simple and never go to the point of cough, tickle or scratch in the throat.
WATER BOTTLE CHEEK PUFF. This one is fun (but I'm also a huge nerd, so forgive me if you don't have a rip-roaring good time). Grab a half full water bottle -- pucker your lips on the rim like you ate a really sour warhead and then puff your cheeks wide like a blowfish. You can do simple pitch glides or you can sing the melody of your song. If your voice is feeling heavy, this is a winner for finding more lift and a hot pocket for speaking.
RASPBERRY SIRENS. I'm doing these all the time on very chatty days because they unpress the instrument and ultimately bring more ease into the tone. Just stick our your tongue and move some air over the top so that it starts to flutter, like you were teasing a younger sibling. If in doubt, do as the husky pup does.
Do a few sirens from low to high so that you are stretching into the upper register. A few of these while you're in the restroom or while you're on break can go a long way in saving vocal buckos. Bonus feature: raspberries are also great for tight tongues!
Set a goal for yourself this week to check in with your speaking voice and your breathing. A little self care can go a long way so that you're bringing your A game to Pearl and Ripley Grier this season.
Wishing you all a vocally present and exciting week!