Apart from the teacher-finding problem I’m in a much better mental place. I’m reading a great book about technique and tips for coping with being sick and things. (Steam inhalation!) And it’s really good to just go back to basics and think about things like diaphragmatic tension in a different way. I definitely pushed through too much air when I was with Hilary. Like, I’m breathy. I hate it. So in my practice at the moment I’m focusing a lot on regulation the flow of breath, keeping my throat open and not holding tension in the stem of my tongue, or in my upper body.
Even just having adjusted a few elements of my posture and the way I use my tongue, I’m able to keep singing for soooo much longer. I think I did a straight 40minute practice earlier. It did include breathing, but I totally think that’s a worthwhile investment and it was mostly singing.
Another thing I’d like to change is my visualisation. Definitely with Hilary, the way she’s taught me to visualise makes me inclined to be flat. She has always told me to think down when I’m singing up, because the larynx goes down when the pitch goes up.
So I used an exercise from the book I’m reading. It’s one we used before in a speech module I did at college. You hum at a low pitch and feel the resonance with your fingers, then change the pitch and feel how the resonance moves. To be honest, I can never feel it with my fingers, but it always alerts me to where the resonance is actually going. So now, I’m imagining the different areas of my face, hairline, top of my head. It seems that when I do this I really do get a more resonant sound on my top notes. And for some reason it encourages me to open my mouth more at the top.
Just going back to the stem of my tongue, it’s something that was pointed out in the book. When I studied with Hilary, she taught quite a complicated system of tongue positions. I understood it to an extent and it helped me a lot in my middle register but once I had to go up my upper register I found it constricted my throat. And I realise now it’s because I was too focused on what my tongue was doing, and as a result I just tensed the bejesus out of it, which tightened my throat.
It is quite disheartening to come from five years of training to think that you have to go back to the start in many ways. Honestly, I’m relieved this is happening now rather than going on being afraid to sing because of sore throats and just STRESS. I learned a lot from Hilary and I can definitely sing. It’s just that I think it’s time for some new perspectives.