Singer’s Self-Improvement Series: January 2019

Happy New Year! Welcome to the first installment of the 2019 Singer’s Self-Improvement Series! 

The goal with this series is to combine my experiences as a vocal coach and a life coach to help you turn your passion for singing into a lifestyle that makes you healthier and happier. 

Congratulations on the new Singer Lifestyle you’re about to embark on!

January will be a foundation-building month. You’ll jump right into the basics of good vocal technique while examining and tweaking your diet to support your successful pursuit of singing.

Mid-month, I’ll send out a supplemental post with additional tools to both check-in with and continue with your progress. I’ll also be sharing what I’m choosing to tackle for the sake of self-improvement this month.

Let’s get started…

January Lifestyle Goal: Nutrition

What’s the first thing you need before you can achieve a goal? A Goal!

To the right is January’s set of goal planning tools. 

The first download begins with a meal log. Logging everything you eat for at least 3 days will give you an honest look at how you’re fueling your body. There could be imbalances there that you’re not aware of.

Note: If you are someone who eats a lot of prepared foods, be sure to check sugar and sodium contents as you log. Lots of sodium is dehydrating and lots of sugar can lead to excess phlegm. Both are things singers DON’T want.

The second page of the first download discusses possible dietary causes of two common ailments, fatigue and congestion. 

Page three is a food categories chart. 

And the final page is where you’ll write down your first goals to improve your nutritional balance.

Note: Huge, sweeping changes to your diet that leave you feeling micro-managed and deprived will not lead to long-term success. Introduce gradual changes that you feel good about and that can become part of your new “normal.” You will add additional goals later.

The second download on the right is a weekly planner. Based on your nutrition analysis, schedule into the upcoming week (and subsequent weeks) any time/task necessary for your nutrition-related changes. For example, you may need to plan food prep days or plan researching what dietary changes you’re going to add. Also schedule 3 or 4 singing practice sessions. And consider setting reminders in your phone.

January Singing Goal: Using Your Diaphragm

No matter what your singing goals are, you need to know the basics of good vocal technique. 

All of my new students do an anatomy lesson with me on their first day. You’re going to walk yourself through that lesson using the first link on the right.

At the bottom of that post, there is a video for you to watch. This will show you how to put this new information to use in your practice sessions (and how to sing with your diaphragm). You may need to watch it again when you next practice to be sure you’re doing the exercise correctly. 

Note: Even if you’re not ready to become a member of my online community, you can support my online efforts (and help me continue them) by liking my videos and subscribing to my YouTube channel. Your support would be greatly appreciated!

Your practice sessions (3-4 per week is a good start) should include the exercise in the the video (Palm Presses) followed by the Basic Warmup (second link on the right). Be sure to follow my advice/instructions as you go through the warmup. After that, spend some time working on a new song that you love. 

The warmup video will help you develop tongue independence and limber up your voice, not just for one day, but in general with repeated use. 

The palm presses will help you develop the ability to keep your ribs expanded while you sing.

Note: The most important advice I can give you now is Don’t Care How You Sound as you practice vocal workouts. You are working muscles in a new way. As they strengthen, your sound will improve. If you give up now, your sound won’t. 

Think of your vocal exercises as strength-training workouts… because that’s what they are. 

Final Note: Getting good at planning your self-improvement is another skill that will improve with time. Don’t stress over whether you’re doing these things “right” or not. Follow your gut and do your best. You’ll be more sure of yourself and what you’re doing the more you do it. As with anything!

I’ll have more for you in the mid-month post. Good luck with your first workout routine and new nutrition goals!