Back to Breath, or whatever that most fundamental thing is

If you do only one thing for your voice today, breathe.

Breathe, which is the same one thing I would advise for your soul, body, or mind, if I had anything to say about those things.

Relating to the breath powerfully makes so many things possible, it’s useless for me to explain. It seems the wisdom is everywhere. And yet, not.

I’m reminded of Detroit Red Wing Dylan Larkin, who so impressed the hockey world with his debut game in the NHL in 2015 that the press wanted to know what his secret was right there in the locker room after that game.

He told them that when he struggles on the ice, and he’s not passing, shooting, or scoring enough, he returns to his most fundamental skill: “Skate as hard as I can.”

That really stuck with me. It made me think there’s got to be an analogy for this wisdom in every profession, including music. What is that most basic thing? What fundamental thing do you return to when you struggle for peak performance?

For singers, it’s got to be breathing.

Countless challenges in singing can be dealt with by first monitoring the breath. Go to the seat of your breath and ask questions. Is the breath free? Am I holding tension somewhere it shouldn’t be? How low am I feeling it in the torso? Am I putting restriction anywhere in the vocal tract?

Do I even know what a good singing breath should feel like?

Monitor the breath not just while singing, but whenever you think of it. Deal with breathing as if there were no agenda beyond itself. Breathing connects singing to the rest of life, and the rest of humanity.

If you do only one thing for your voice today, breathe.

If you do only one thing for your universe today, breathe.

 

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