So yesterday morning I had a sound check and orchestra run through for a concert I did last night. Call time was at 10:15 am. As you can imagine that is not ideal for the singing voice! It reminded me of a time in my life when I used to sing at schools through L.A. Opera. It was an educational program that brought opera to schools all over. We had 8 a.m. assemblies to perform in sometimes! Being that I am a coloratura soprano (the one who hits the highest notes), that was a tough morning prep.
I came up with a routine from that that really helped me get through it which I would love to share with you. Try and hit as many of the steps as you can. This routine is ideal, but I do realize that we can not always reach our ideals. So do your best with it.
So how do you prepare yourself for an early morning singing performance, audition, or rehearsal?
Here are 15 steps to try follow when preparing for an early sing:
1. Wake up early. Not only do you need time to get ready, practice, and prepare, your body needs time to wake up and get itself going so that it can be there for you to do these things well. Give yourself an extra hour or so. (I know it might be painfully early, but especially if you are going to be singing high notes, you need to get yourself out of bed.) It is important to somehow convince your body that it is not to early to get everything moving required to sing.
2. Take a hot shower. It will help wake up your brain as well as your body. The warmth of the water on your muscles will help to start getting the blood going. You will need these muscles to support your voice so that you can sing well. So you need to wake them up!
3. Do yawn sighs really gently in the shower, humm a bit sing very gentle warm ups. Nothing serious. Just make easy singing sounds. Continue doing this during your morning routine, keep them light.
4. Slow stretching. Again, you want to wake up the muscles of the body.
5. Breathing exercises, I have great ones on my first v.1 of Voice Lessons To Go- Vocalize and Breath. This will open up your ribs, get your abdominal muscles working and make space for your resonance.
6. Physical exercise. If you can get on a bike, take a walk, do a yoga tape, or even dance to some favorite tunes, even 10-15 minutes will make a great difference. This will invigorate your muscles and activate them to “alert” mode so that you will be prepped when you are singing.
7. Eat. Singing takes energy. Feed your body.
8. Drink something warm. I like to drink a tea called “Throat Coat” before I sing. An herbal tea is a great warmer and soother for the chords. I keep one going all morning.
9. Get dressed. Give your body a few minutes to digest before your practicing begins.
10. Warm up your voice. Take it nice and slow. At this point your voice should be a bit warm from your humms, and yawn sighs. Start easy on your vocal warm up. Voice Lessons To Go is perfect for this. You may not have complete resonance when you are singing at first if your body is not totally awake so take it easy. Don’t push, let your voice come in naturally as your warm ups progress. Do a nice slow long warm up if you can so that your voice really wakes up in a healthy non intrusive way.
11. Walk away and finish getting ready. (That’s right, I didn’t say practice your music yet). Give your voice a little time to settle down from the warm up while you are arranging your stuff, putting make up on, getting directions…whatever.
12. When everything is done and prepared sit down and practice your stuff. Make sure that you really sing through everything well so you don’t feel that you have loose ends on your way over to where you have to sing. I always like to make sure that on my high notes I am warmed up higher than required of me that day so that if my voice settles by the time I have to sing, I have extended my range stretch in the practice past the point necessary. This helps me to feel more confident when I walk in to sing.
Do not over sing or strain. This is not the time to practice new exercises, and repertoire, range broadening, or stamina building. You need to save to good stuff for your actual performance.
13. After you practice. Be quiet. Go get yourself to where you are going. Spend your time thinking about the words, staging, and rhythm on your drive or walk over. Your body by now should be really warmed up. Keep a warm drink with you for the event. I also like Glycine drops to help keep the voice moist.
14. Once you arrive and before you actually begin singing, do a few breathing exercises, stretches, and something physical such as jogging in place for a minute or two to prep the body for your sing.
15. Don’t forget to bring in an excellent attitude even though it is early morning. Say your good mornings with a smile, everyone is suffering with the call time, be the one to help people through it rather than the one complaining about it. Everybody will appreciate your good energy.
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