How to learn a whole song with your whole self
A Simplified Intro to the Alexander Technique & Singing by Audrey Luna
While we’re all starting a new school year and learning mountains of new music, check out this series of tips on how to learn a whole song with your whole self from ATsinging founder and faculty member Matt Cahill.
You get a new song or aria. Now what? Here’s one teacher’s method for learning a song from “never seen it before” to a full embodied, dynamic, truthful story-telling experience. See if any of these steps are helpful to add to your own learning process. If you have any questions, especially about Alexander Technique terminology like “whispered ah” and “use”, we’re always happy to answer an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Day 30 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip: The Royal College of Music Voice Faculty Thinks the Alexander Technique Should Form the Basis of Singer Training
Walter Carrington: “…behaviour is most effectively controlled by the development of the conscious powers of reason and intelligence which are able, through the normal processes of nervous physiology, to direct and control the use and functioning of the organism as a whole.”
Day 29 Alexander & Singing Tip: Allow the Ground to Support You
There was an experiment in the 1950s, giving Alexander lessons to the singing students at the Royal College of Music. The results were very impressive and a scientific comparison was made with a control group from the Central School of Speech (This is written up in Barlow’s collection of writings about the Technique, ‘More Talk of Alexander’).
Day 28 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip: What our Cincinnati Spring Intensive students are saying.
ATsinging teacher Matthew Morris works with soprano Rachel Brown on allowing her hip joints and leg muscles to stay easy, so that she can allow her weight to transfer to the ground without interference, and receive the bounce back ground-reactive force support from the ground up through the top of her head, which allows for an easier suspension of her throat and vocal production.
Day 26 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip: The Importance of Calm for Learning
Tenor Maximillian Jansen and Mezzo-Soprano Jardena Gertler-Jaffe speak about their experience at the ATsinging Cincinnati Spring Intensive, what they learned, and how Alexander Technique relates to their singing.
Day 25 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip: the Omoyhoid, or easy shoulders for easy vocal production
Why a state of calm is so important for the learning process, and one tip for how to encourage that state of calm.
Day 23 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip: How these tips can work for anything at any time
Our neck is in an information and muscular high way between our brains and the rest of our bodies. Countless nerve endings, blood vessels, and muscles make up what we call “our neck”.
Day 22 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip:
ATsinging teacher Matthew Morris discusses how all the tips this month can be used for almost any activity, and can be the beginning of a life-long practice for your singing.
Day 20 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip from Ann Rodiger
From ATsinging teacher Ann Rodiger: “Ann here. I'm working with another student in Athens to remind her to leave the musculature around the larnyx to stay easy and soft.
Day 19 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip: Day 4 of 4 on Breath!
Ann here. I'm working with a student in Athens to gently remind him that the ribs go all the way around to the back. The front can widen as well so movement of the diaphragm is allowed to occur. The hands on work provides a reference for the student. From the work we did this student was able to allow the air to come deeper into the body and discover a longer air column.
Day 18 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip: 3 of 4 (we've added one!) on breath
Today is day four of our four day series on breath, but is by no means the end of the conversation! Consider it just a wrap up for this part of our introduction.
Today: read on for some ideas about that holy grail for singers: proper breath support!
At ATsinging we like to think of the idea of breath support more as breath energy, which is something that if you’ve read through the last three posts, can start to see how like singing, breathing can be (and should be when functioning optimally) a whole body activity.
Day 17 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip: Day 2 of 3 on Breathing and the Diaphragm
Managing any topic on only three posts is difficult, but writing about breath could be endless! So we’ve added on more to our series of posts on breath.
You have breath support from the floor, through your feet, to your legs, through your hip-joints, from your psoas, up to your diaphragm!
Day 16 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip: Part 1 of a three day series on the diaphragm
The movement of the diaphragm and how it relates to singing.
Fun question #1 to ask people: when you breathe in, does your diaphragm go up or down?
Fun question #2: The corollary, when you exhale, or sing, does the diaphragm go up or down?
Day 15 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip: Go take an in person Alexander Technique Lesson
In singing, there’s a lot of sometimes seemingly conflicting information about breathing, especially concerning the diaphragm. We hope to clear up a few of those ideas in the next three posts.
For today, we’re concentrating on getting a better, static, picture anatomically of some of the major players in the breathing process: the trachea, the lungs (bronchioles highlighted in red inside the lungs here), and the diaphragm, all highlighted in red in the accompanying picture.
Day 14 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip: The importance of accurate mental directions
ATsinging teacher Audrey Luna speaks about how the Alexander Technique is unique, and that in order to have the full experience, you really need to try it in an in person, private lesson.
Lucky Day 13 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip: No staring!
ATsinging teacher Ann Rodiger speaks about the importance of understanding the anatomy accurately in order to deliver accurate mental directions to that anatomy about what you want it to do!
Our eye sockets are deep, and the muscles that control them run all the way back to right above our soft palate and right in front of the top of our spine. Stare at something hard and try to “grab it” with your eyes or “bug out” your eyes. What do you notice?