It was World Book Day recently. We would say the official date, but then we know many schools had to rearrange their celebrations thanks to the massive amount of snow that decided to fall and cause loads of them to shut
So first of all, we hope you had a great Book Day (whenever you held it) and that loads more children got excited about stories and storytelling.
Get to the point
Yeah it’s not fun when an article promises something that gets you interested and then spends the best part of 3000 words rambling about other rubbish! So let’s get straight to it. What does that headline mean?
Well, the key to giving your best performance is to utilise a strong singing technique, and to warm up thoroughly. With nothing more than a heavy book and a floor, you can achieve both.
How do I do it?
Lie on your back, flat against the floor, and place a heavy book on the top of your stomach; just where the centre of your ribcage finishes. This is where your diaphragm lives. Then all you have to do is breathe, making sure that the book is pushed up by your diaphragm as you inhale, and then descends again as you exhale.
The book shouldn’t wobble or fall off and the key thing to be aware of is that your shoulders shouldn’t lift towards your neck (this means you are most likely breathing using your chest rather than your diaphragm).
Start by simply breathing in and out, at a slow-ish pace. Then after you feel you have a good rhythm going (maybe 2 minutes) take a deep breath in whilst counting slowly to 8, then hold the breath for 8, then exhale slowly for 8. All the time you should be in control of the book, making sure especially on the exhale that you control the descent of the book, and that its weight isn’t forcing the air out of you.
How does this help?
This exercise provides a two-fold benefit:
1. It strengthens your diaphragm and gets you used to using the muscles as a means from which to breathe when singing.
2. It opens your airways and warms up the muscles in your throat, which will soon be used for singing.
We promise you will notice a marked improvement in your singing if you perform an exercise such as this just once a day, and especially before a big performance. You may be able to sing higher notes than you could before, or you may just find you aren’t getting tired from singing.
Remember that your vocal cords and diaphragm need practice and strengthening just as a bodybuilder would lift weights to increase their arm strength. You can become the Arnold Schwarzenegger of singing!!!
So grab the biggest, hardback book you can find leftover from World Book Day, and get going.