Thursday, 17 June 2010
Breathe Low and Slow
Thursday is my shortest day, and so I spent time having coffee and lunch - well I think I have earned it!
I came home to teach and got involved in a session of breathing technique. Breath - that which we need to live, and which we use every moment of our life, yet which is the single most fiendishly difficult thing to control and harness for an unmiked singer. When the air is gone we are vocally done for. When we are tired and cannot make the muscles work we are vocally........and when we are frustrated and angry, we are vo............and on and on.
The list could go on endlessly, but I think you get the point! Breathing is something we take so much for granted, and yet without doubt, the only time we do it correctly is when we are asleep. Now I have heard (and been to) boring concerts - but snoozing in the middle section of an aria just to help with the breath support would not put many bums on seats!
For me, learning to breathe and support with my abdominal wall muscles (a la Yoga) was a 10 year journey. That is not something, you understand, that I volunteer to an aspirant youngster who thinks the weekend after next is blindingly far away! However, I firmly believe that successful breathing is all bound up with personality, being totally happy in one's skin, and being confident and relaxed enough to fill your own space - however large that may be! And I should know, my space is wonderfully roomy, and would happily accommodate me and a small school of dolphins!
The young soprano who wants so much to master this, needs first to forget how much she wants it and simply allow some mental slow motion. Now that's a big ask indeed! I know she will tackle it intelligently and with an real intellectual appreciation and understanding - did I say she was a soprano?!
Sometimes a lobotomy sounds like a top notch idea.
Would it be illegal in Paradise do you think?!