Saturday, January 19, 2013

How To Sing Those High Notes

The more I practice singing, the more I learn about technique. We sopranos need all the help we can get to reach and sustain high notes. If you are straining to sing at the top of your register, try these tips:
  • Stand up straight. If you must sit, sit as tall as you can.
  • Breathe deep into your belly. Shoulders should not come up around your ears when you inhale.
  • Use your abdominal muscles, including the diaphragm, to support your breath as you sing.
  • Relax your chest, shoulders and throat.
  • To sing high, think low. Imagine singing down into the high note, not reaching up for it.
  • Bend your knees.
  • Tighten your glutes.
  • Look straight ahead. Don't tip your head back to "look up" into a high note.
  • Drop your chin (not your head, just your chin). Open your mouth wide, top to bottom. 
OK, if you can remember to do all of that and still keep track of your music - start singing! These tips do work. They just take some practice.

Need more coaching? Check out Rae Henry's free video series.

Related posts:

Highlights from the SSCC Community Choir Holiday Concert

Harmonizing With The Beaconettes

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cynthia Lair on "How to Cut An Onion"

Can cooking be a form of mindful meditation? I think so, and so does Cynthia Lair, who has been teaching cooking for 30 years. Furthermore, she discovered that when she instructed her students to cook in silence and be "present" while cooking, the food actually tasted better. If it is true that sharing food is sharing love, this delightful TED talk explains how that happens.

Related post:

Spiritual Not Religious: What Does That Mean?
A Pie for Mikey

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Carrot Ginger Soup

I've been craving fresh ginger lately. And when that craving strikes, this soup hits the spot. Making it is SO easy, just combine ONE of everything, cook, blend and serve.

ONE tablespoon butter
ONE onion, chopped
ONE tablespoon fresh grated ginger
ONE pound carrots, chopped (to save on prep time, buy a one pound bag of peeled, organic baby carrots and give them a rough chop)
ONE quart of liquid = 3 cups of chicken broth + 1 cup of either regular milk or, even better, coconut milk.

To make the soup:
Saute the onion in butter.
Add the carrots, ginger and chicken broth.
Simmer until the carrots are cooked through and soft, about 25 minutes.
Puree, using a blender, food processor or, my favorite, an immersion blender. (Use the immersion blender to puree the soup in the same pot you cook it in. Really cuts down on clean up.)
Add the milk or coconut milk. Stir to combine.
Add salt and pepper to taste. I usually find that the broth provides enough salt to suit me.

Ginger is a warming herb, making this a welcome addition to the winter menu. Ginger is also good for digestion, relieves nausea and reduces pain and inflammation. Let your food be your medicine!

Related post:
Spaghetti Squash and the Blood Type Diet

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Highlights from the SSCC Community Choir Holiday Concert

I love to sing, and for some time I've been searching for a choir that feels like a good fit for me. I believe I've finally found it. I started singing with the South Seattle Community College's Community Choir in the fall of 2012. We performed our "Mostly Messiah" holiday concert in early December. We sang 5 pieces from Handel's  "Messiah," along with a French carol, a Hanukah song, an a cappella gospel song and a lush, contemplative ballad.

I am neither a trained nor an accomplished singer. (Lucky for me, the Community Choir is a non-audition choir.) The Messiah pieces were the most difficult I've ever sung. It took a lot of practice and I had to google "breathing exercises for singers" to learn how to support those high notes and runs. But it was so worth it! The experience of singing that magnificent music was an absolute joy.

Below are links to a few highlights from the concert. I hope you enjoy listening to them. The man doing the sound for us was sitting with young children, so you will hear them "accompanying" us. Their little voices make for a more of a "live" experience and well, like I said, we are an inclusive, non-audition choir.

Many, many thanks to Paula Herd, our ever-patient Choir Director, and Edie Martin, our brilliant Pianist, for making this experience possible. 

Hallelujah Chorus- Messiah SSCC .MP3

Il est ne le Divin Enfant.MP3

Rise up-Fall 2012.MP3

Related posts:

Harmonizing with The Beaconettes

What Do The Lyrics To The "Alouette" Song Mean In English?

How To Hit A HIGH Note