Now that the Valentine’s holiday is over, you may be regretting that super jumbo sized heart-shaped box of chocolates you downed in one sitting…. if only your candy came in a music box you might not have been so gluttonous. 🍫
This excellent back, neck, and shoulder opener is in my daily regiment. One of my favorite sayings is “you’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” So, let’s keep that internal fountain of youth going. We performers need all the help we can get.
To begin, start on your hands and knees. Spread wide through your fingers and make sure your pointer finger is pointing straight forward. As you inhale, lift your tailbone, relax your belly, lift your chest and chin. As you exhale, tuck your tailbone under, lifting through your back and in between the shoulder blades, letting your chin tuck in towards your chest. Complete several more rounds of this creating a wave-like motion through the spine. End with your back lifting up towards the ceiling and get a little extra activity but coming up high onto your fingertips.
You’ll be a little taller, more open, and your body will allow for deeper, easier breaths.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. That means I’ll be working all through the night and until the wee hours of the morning helping my mom prepare hundreds of arrangements to be delivered to happy couples, mothers, sons, and daughters all over the central coast. Growing up at Bloom’n’Grow florist definitely had its highs and lows. I learned creativity, resourcefulness, and the true meaning of hard work. I also learned that running a business is exhausting, stressful, and will take everything you have. However, at the end of the day, it’s lovely when someone sends you flowers…… well, most of the time. 😉
Back in high school, I had a pretty strong mixed voice and a solid musical theatre sound. But, after obtaining a BM and MM in classical vocal performance, I lost the ability to sing above middle C in a mixed voice. Over the past year, I’ve been dabbling in being able to switch between a classical and musical theatre sound and it’s been a fascinating process. There have been some beautiful life-affirming mixed voice notes; but then there have been some terrible “screamer” notes which I laughed at and learned from. It’s been such a fun process getting back to my musical theatre “roots”.
Follow the directions on the video.
Out of all the composers in the world, George Gershwin is my all-time favorite. His ability to straddle both the classical and jazz genres, his flawless melodic lines and catchy tunes, and his perfectly timed phrasing make his music a pleasure to sing.
This shoulder opener is amazing and one of the best parts is you can do it in your car on the way to an audition or while sitting in the green room waiting to go on. It’s also the perfect post-travel stretch.
To begin, interlace your fingers, straighten your arms, and reach them overhead. Then, bending through your elbows, bring your arms to the right side which will form a bit of a rectangle through the arms. Then take your hands behind your head and move over towards the left side. Straighten the arms up towards the ceiling and continue in a circular motion several times. Then reverse directions for the same number of times.
If this variation is too intense, make a softer circle around your head… more like a halo. Keep the elbows bent rather than extending your arms and make small circles around your head.
Enjoy the burn!