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SoundWorkZ Updates

Read Barbara Ann Grant’s latest concert review ‘A Revelatory Feast of Opera’. Reviewed in the Nelson Mail 16 May 2016.

May 22nd, 2016

Listen to Barbara Ann Grant’s interview with Nelson radio Fresh FM. You can check out the new brand profile here

March 1st, 2014

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    Top 5 Tips To Improve Your Singing and Life: No. 1 – Get PRESENT!

    Look at your singing in a new way!

    Over the years of teaching singing I’ve noticed specific patterns around what’s holding people back from most fully and completely enjoying and optimising their singing. I thought in the following few blogs I would give my top 5 tips to improve your singing. I realise there’s plenty of people out there writing tips on singing technique and I promise to include some of these – however, I also believe that it pays to look very holistically at what’s holding singer’s back and that means never underestimating how they, ‘feel’ about their singing as well as how they sound. Therefore top of my list is to, ‘get present’!

    Tip No. 1

    1. Get present!

    Often when I take on singers who come from another teacher, or singers who’ve been working on the club circuit or doing a lot of musical theatre or just performing constantly I’m amazed by how, ‘auto-pilot’ they are when they sing. To me, it pays to always remember that when you sing your body is the instrument. That means you have to get present in your body before you can, ‘play’ the instrument effectively. If you don’t know what I mean by, ‘get present’ think of all the times when you’ve driven somewhere and realised at the destination you have no memory of the drive, or when we’re at a lecture, doing the laundry, watching tv, playing a computer game etc. there’s plenty of moments every day when we aren’t present in our body – we disconnect the mind from it’s physical housing. This isn’t a good policy for singing as you do sing with your body and you want to be, ‘inside’ the sensations of singing to gain conscious mastery over them. So get grounded, get your mind back down inside your body before you sing. That means when you come to sing do the following everytime:

    1. Physical warm-up

    • circle the arms
    • swivel the hips
    • bend the legs
    • stretch up to the sky
    • bend down to the ground
    • act out chopping some wood.

    This is the way we wake up the body and improve the mind / body connection prior to making sound.

    2. Vocal warm-up

    • sigh gently mouth closed
    • now sigh gently mouth open and put sound on it
    • do some lip or tongue trills on an arpeggio
    • do some abdominal breathing exercises
    • do some downward, ‘sirens’ ensuring you’re floating your sound on top of your air.

    These two steps are crucial for getting our minds back down into our bodies and getting in touch with what it feels like to engage the body in making sound. Create the connectivity between the mind and the body and you’re much more enabled to gain conscious mastery of your instrument.

    Next blog – Top 5 Things to Improve Your Singing – No. 2

    Get present!