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Slow down, ya move too fast...

Singers! Most often in audition, rehearsal, performance, or even practice we are barreling through, and not allowing the instrument to shift, and also not allowing our optimal best to release. Most situations, except when one is alone in the car with the windows firmly closed, singers are rushing! There are several ways to ease away from this, and fully enjoy and even love the moment you are in, and what you are doing! We work, train, and practice diligently on our technique, craft, and artistry but we must also train another important muscle that thoroughly assists the athletic art of singing, and that is the Brain! Yes, we must create a technique and muscle memory for our physical and instrument, but we need to apply that to our mind, too! You must give nutrients to the brain for it to optimally assist and work with the singing instrument, and acting prowess. When a singer/actor/dancer feels pressure the heart rate starts to race, and this will take away from the success of your “performance”. A quick way to combat this is to center your breath. By taking in a deep controlled diaphragmatic breath of 8counts inhale - 4counts hold - 8counts exhale (20seconds total) done 3-5 times - your nerves will lessen, and you will become more focused, ready, and your energy supply will be present for the task at hand, not the over-excited heart rate, clammy hands, sweats, etc. You can calm the body, and brain by centering the breath. Centering the breath will ease the stress and help create a similar atmosphere of when you are relaxed and capable. Another wonderful thing to do is to not think not, i.e., don’t say don’t: You are not ready, your are not good, you don’t have that note, you won’t succeed. Chances are because you are focusing on the negative, the negative is likely to happen. Develop a short self mantra of positivity, for example: “One phrase at a time, focus on this moment, prepare for the next," or hundreds of other ways to focus but not overwhelm you. In Jason Selk’s 10-Minute Toughness, he cites Hall of Fame baseball player George Brett using “Try easier” as his performance statement or mantra.

Use statements that help you hone in on the action that brings out your optimal best, not perfection, but your foremost application. Give good for your mind to reap, instead of weeds for your mind to thwart. Most likely, bearing down to produce will create or aid a tight gripped sound, etc., there must be an ease for an easy tone, etc. Yes, you are working but you are working optimally not with tense-ness. Easier said than done, but try to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, if replaced with good, the brain can focus on that rather than doubts, and fears. Create a mental picture of your singing success, in the moment. Map out how you will do your song, your phrase, your singing and acting moments, yes, have spontaneity, but choreograph your mind and instrument to work for you. If you do not, the mind will typically race to negative. In or out of the context of the work, a few of the aspects of Elphaba's Defying Gravity are about empowerment and unlocking full potential - that is what the actor must do; in the last Ah (actually sung somewhere between OO (the vowel in book)/Uh and then to Ah) the actor needs to promote powerment not ill at ease. The same applies to The Prince's final Vincero in TURANDOT, the tenor must promote a sense of victory, wonder, future, etc. not the gumption of muscling the note out and hoping for the best! Visualize yourself in the moment that stresses you, and turn it to good. Use your senses to experience what you will hear, see, feel, smell in the moment you are outlooking with success. This visualizing actually will set up a muscle memory that you can re-create in the audition room, theatre, etc. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” Enjoy!

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