Thursday, 9 January 2014

How does Physical Exercise affect Singing


Among professional singers and students attending vocal classes, some of you may wonder vocal training just involves hardwork, and of course an excellent coach/trainer.  Well, before I read this article, I never would have thought that Physical Exercise has an effect on how well you sing and how you project your voice.

In this study / article,

It talks about 3 Main types of Exercises which are thought to improve one's singing ability.

  • Aerobic exercise,
  • Muscular conditioning and
  • Neuro-muscular coordination exercises

A quote from the article states:
"You (your voice) is your instrument."
This statement is undoubtedly true as it doesn't work like any other musical instruments, such as: Piano, Violin, Flute, or percussions.

Another quote that is also true in the article is
"Whatever improves the instrument(s) helps the voice."
Now, let's go back to the types of exercises:

1.  AEROBIC EXERCISE

As singing involves breathing using the abdomen, it can be considered as an athletic activity.

You probably have heard of Aerobic and Anaerobic exercises in your high school / secondary school Biology class.  This is the Aerobic (meaning: with oxygen) exercise we are talking about here which stimulates heart and breathing rate.

The exercises in this group includes walking, jogging, swimming and aerobic exercises (such as Starjumping), dancing and hiking. 

 

       The use of Cardio Machines in Gyms 

Many may have heard that cardio machines will help one's fitness level tremendously.  While those   machines may be used, but you can successfully do aerobic exercise without them as well.

2. MUSCULAR CONDITIONING

This type of exercises involve strengthening the muscle groups in our body.

Some of them are Sit-ups, Push-ups and perhaps Weight lifting 

However, one set back of these exercises may include tense shoulders as well as neck, and this may affect the singer's voice.  This is because, in singing, one of the main goals is to strive for "greater energy, without greater tension".

 

 

3. NEURO-MUSCULAR COORDINATION

Neuro-muscular coordination exercises include Yoga, Alexander Technique and Tai-Chi.  It is thought that these type of exercise helps a singer's relax and energise him/herself.  Neuro-muscular coordination also involves 2 levels: intra-muscular coordination and inter-muscular coordination.. 

For more information, visit the following sites.

Strength and Fitness UK: Neuromuscular Coordination

Physical Exercise for Singers

Curing Voice Problems with Alexander Technique

The link betweeen Alexander Technique and Pianists - For pianists seeking to know how Alexander Technique benefits piano playing