Lucky Day 13 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip: No staring!
Why you should NOT stare at the exit sign while you sing.
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? You might sense a downward pull where the back of your skull meets your spine in addition to a downward pull on your soft palate amongst other things. Now, cover your eyes with both your hands so you block out all the light. Leave your eyes closed and see if you can soften the muscles in your eyes, letting them “unfocus” and not have the job of seeing anything. How does that affect your breath? What do you notice in your soft palate, pharynx, and head and neck? Try maintaining this sense of ease when you open your eyes. Notice how big a stimulus our vision is to suddenly grab with our eye muscles. See if allowing what you're seeing to come to you, all the way to the back of your eyes is helpful and allows your eye muscles to stay easy, rather than feeling like you have to go to what you're seeing. When we concentrate or get nervous we all tend to get “tunnel vision” and fix our gaze on something. Notice how this habit tends to tighten the eye muscles and what this does to your breath, palate, head, neck, and voice. Many good intentioned teachers have instructed students to stare at an exit sign at the back of the auditorium when performing. Rather than fixing your gaze, see if you can leave your eye muscles soft. Your vision might even be blurry until your eyes recalibrate how to focus without tensing the muscles. In the practice room track a moving object, your finger moving in space, or even better something someone else is moving (so you don’t have control) while singing, especially during phrases that you feel are difficult. Make sure the object your eyes track keeps continually moving, so that your eyes keep moving, especially at the thought of the “difficult part” all the way until it’s finished. Eventually, you can take away actually moving your eyes continually and just leave the feeling that they are available for movement and never get stuck/staring. It will do wonders to free your voice, and also, help your acting on stage, as we tend not to like people who stare! #alexandertechnique #singingtechnique