Tuneful Tuesday Week 36: Pinecones and Holly Berries/ It’s Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas

It’s been a pleasure to work with Danielle Dutro McNamara and Lacey McNamara for my 11th annual Holiday Concert. We can’t wait to perform for you this Saturday at 5PM! Join us for an hour of music, carols, joy, and peace.

Songs of Joy and Peace

Saturday, December 16th

5 PM

5318 Palma Ave

Atascadero, Ca 93422

$15 suggested donation

(Click on the blog title to view the video.)

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Fitness Friday Week 11: Legs Up The Wall Sequence Part 1

Here is the start of a 2 Part Sequence. Legs up the wall is my “go-to” for traveling, back and neck pain, and overwhelming stress, anxiety, and emotion. It is best to hold these poses longer than shown on this video. Holding each position for 5 minutes is like a trip to the spa. Set a timer and enjoy!

(Click on the blog title to view the video.)

Fitness Friday Week 9: Happy Hips

Follow the directions on the video for a happier pelvis and better singing stance. 

(Click on the title to view the video.) 

Tuneful Tuesday/Thursday Week 31: The Saga of Jenny 

I’m posting my Tuneful Tuesday early this week in honor of my birthday—because all I really want to do for my birthday is sing. 
I’ve always loved the irony of this piece by Ira Gershwin and Kurt Weill; but I’ve never actually had the opportunity to sing it. I figured my birthday was a great opportunity to remember not to make your mind up about how your life is going to go. You never know what the world has in store for you. I never thought I’d be filling my days singing, teaching yoga, and running my own private vocal and piano studio; but I love the variety, intensity, and joy with which I live my life. Growing up, I made many plans. Some fell through; some were achieved; all helped me to evolve as a person. But, some of the best things in my life happened when I let go of my plans and just went where fate led me. As the character Tracy Lord says in The Philadelphia Story, “the time to make up your mind about people is never”… and that includes making up your mind about yourself.

(To see the video, click the blog title link at the top of the email.) 

Fitness Friday Week 4: Neck Release

This is one of my favorite stretches to release tension, holding, and inflammation of the neck muscles. As singers, we require freedom and ease through our neck and shoulder complex, but the act of singing, acting, and the stress and intensity with which we pursue our art leads to tension. By creating greater freedom through the neck and resetting the shoulders, we can free up the voice. 
To do this, you’ll need a yoga block. Big box stores sell foam blocks which will work just fine; but I personally prefer these cork blocks because they create more pressure and give you something stronger to push against, allowing for a deeper release. 
Start off on your back and place the occipital lobe (the base of your skull where the neck and skull connect) onto the block with the block horizontal at the middle height. Your head should end up higher than your shoulders. From there you can either keep your knees bent the entire time or extend through your legs, resting them on the floor and move your head slowly from side to side. Or you can do the twist I moved through in the video to accentuate the lengthening of the spine. To do so, lean your bent knees to the left, then slowly look to the right. Stay there for 5-10 breaths. Bring your head back to center first, then bring your knees up and switch directions. To finish up, you can extend your legs and adjust the angle of the block for maximum traction on the neck. It’s utterly delightful and I always feel so much taller and peaceful when I finish….even if it does give you a double-chin. 😉

(Click the title of the blog post to see video link)

Fitness Friday Week 3: Loving Kindness Meditation

This week we’ll be taking a break from our core work and focusing on the mental aspect of being a singer. No one said being a performer would be easy. We have to be at the top of our game at all times. We have to be 100% focused, even when someone coughs or opens up a candy wrapper during the performance. There are no do-overs in the world of  performance artist and everything we do is constantly judged. Anxiety attacks abound in this line of work as we never get a break from the stressors of attempting to achieve the illusive perfection. Every one of us has become overwhelmed by it all at one point or another. It’s human nature to buckle under all of that pressure. However, as singers, problems arise when fear, anxiety, or even just excited adrenaline get in the way of your ability to perform your best.

 Luckily, this meditation practice can help you to become grounded, focused, and calm. The real beauty of this practice is, once you ingrain the pattern into your memory, you can do this meditation anywhere. I always do it in the “green room” before a performance and none of the other perfomers have any idea I am meditating. When I have to sit on stage in full view of the audience and then get up and sing, I’ll also practice this with my eyes open. This focused breath helps keep me from worrying or running through my lyrics for the millionth time and getting myself into a nervous dither. I adore the simplicity and focus of this meditation and that it reminds us to breath deeply, something many of us forget to do when nervous and adrenaline rear their heads. 

I hope this practice helps you. Try it the next time you feel flustered and still need to sing. As always, feel free to send me any questions you may have! 

(Open on blog to see video link)