How does Craniosacral Therapy help singing?

When I was in my mid 20’s, I had chronic low back pain.  I used to sleep on heating pads.  I felt a grip in my back when I would stand and sing. My voice teacher advised me to go to The Skylight Centre for Craniosacral Therapy.  I would lie down on a table, and practitioners would put their hands on my head, sacrum and feet.  The stress would drain away and I would enter this deep state between sleep and awake. And the back pain went away.  I was so inspired that I studied Craniosacral therapy (CST) after returning to California in 2007.  I found success practicing CST on singers and musicians, and I began to include craniosacral unwinding and jaw massage in voice lessons.  Students would completely relax their jaw tension and sing with a softer, easier tone, yet still be aware of the muscles needed for singing.  Because CST is such finite work, it also enhances the body awareness needed to individually sense and train the small muscles and structures associated with singing.  Imagine a meditation sit of 30-60 minutes where your muscles are not stiff afterwards, but deeply relaxed.

Warm-Ups 3.0

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This blog is a part of The Directory of Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers, found online at www.contemporarymusicaltheatre.com

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As I prepare for each new academic year, I woefully look at my tried-and-true-yet-boring-to-me roster of warm-ups.  I don’t think I’m the only one.  Voice teachers are always looking for the Holy Grail of warm-ups – that warm-up that will help a student free up their voice, get their breath more engaged, get them more in the mask… you name it.

Each year I try to add new warm-ups to my repertoire, sometimes cycling old ones out.  Last year, I discovered a great book of warm-ups from the 1940‘s at the New York Library for the Performing Arts.  This summer, I received some great pop/rock warm-ups at the International Congress of Voice Teachers courtesy of Swedish contemporary music guru Daniel Zannger Borch.  I also met Australia musical director Luke Hunter and…

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Can’t Sing? Who told you that?

Tom Waits

I just saw a voice student whose father told him “you can’t sing” in front of the whole family. So many of us are shamed as kids that we “can’t sing” and we carry this story throughout our lives.  Singing is simply muscle and breath training.  And believing in yourself! You don’t have to sound perfect.  Heck, there are many famous people out there who don’t sound “pretty”.  Hello Tom Waits?  Billie Holiday? (Add your favorite singer here).  They touch us because they sing from their truth.

Speech Level Singing

I am currently studying Speech Level Singing and incorporating it into the Frederick Husler Body Based Awareness method that I currently sing and teach.  Today’s lesson with my teacher Kathy was a trip.  I never knew I could ‘belt’ (pop style) sing a high C.  Larynx stayed low, voice felt fine after the lesson (I didn’t die or bust a vocal chord).  What I like about this method in my voice is that it deepens my chest register.  And I’m finding an evenness of range, whether singing pop/belt style (which feels narrower and more held but also more relaxed) or opera (which feels lighter and open in the chest and throat but a more intentional breath). Lots of crossover in releasing jaw/tongue tension etc.  More updates soon…

warming up

I began by dancing to to follow her incredible breathing and body connectedness.
I’m just playing around today, makiing noises. Thank you to the amazing Wendy Hillhouse for helping me find a bright ‘ah’ vowel again. When I sing a true ‘ah’ my whole face opens, I feel gentle, feminine, shimmering.