January is that time when we all look at our post-Christmas selves and consider the improvements we could make to our lives. Us musicians are no different. We’re all making resolutions to practice for two hours a day and watch more operas. If you’re one of us, here are five resolutions you should make that you might even have a chance of keeping!
1. I will sing every day
There is nothing more important than singing every single day. Sing in the shower. Sing in the kitchen. Find a secluded section of your walk to work and sing there. Your voice is powered by muscles and muscles need exercise to strengthen them. When you sing, make sure you are singing properly. Think about how you’re breathing. Make sure you’re sending the sound out of your mouth not your nose. Watch for a good clean start to each phrase (“glottal attack”). It doesn’t matter if it’s opera or pop you’re singing – all singing is singing and you can’t go wrong if you’re focusing on technique as you do it.
2. I will join a choir that uses sheet music
Joining a choir is another easy, and vital thing for singing students to take up. Singing in a choir teaches loads of aural skills (like part singing), and technical skills (like blending). It’s really good for combatting singer’s ego as you’re part of a team in a choir and you have to work together to make a good unified sound. If you pick a choir that uses sheet music, you’ll also be improving your sight-reading and music theory skills without having to work at it! Plus, being in a choir is a great way to meet other musical people and make new friends.
3. I will take care of my body
Considering loosing some weight, taking up exercise, giving up smoking or cutting down on your drinking? These are great resolutions for singers. Being overweight can be a serious problem for singers as it puts extra stress on your lungs and respiratory system. Exercise improves lung function, mood and cognitive performance. Smoking is also bad for singers because of the impact on lung function and mouth health. Alcohol causes dehydration, and can result in bad vocal decision making like excessive shouting!
Even if these aren’t resolutions you need to make, resolving to take better care of yourself by eating better, exercising regularly and sleeping sensibly will help keep your instrument in tip top condition ready for exams and performances throughout the year.
4. I will listen to more music, and more kinds of music
Listening to music is vital for all musicians, and if you don’t do it much, why not resolve to do it more? If you already listen to music, add in another genre or two. BBC Radio 3 might seem snooty and scary, but you’ll hear music there you’d never hear anywhere else. If that’s too big a leap, why not put Classic FM on as you wind down at night? If you already listen to classical music, venture out into BBC Six Music, home of some of the cutting edge of contemporary music. For musical lovers, there’s also Elaine Paige on Radio 2 on Sundays form 1-3pm. Whatever you do, listen often and listen widely.
5. I will focus efforts on learning my words, not just the notes
I don’t know any singer who doesn’t find learning words a chore, and so we’re all bad for leaving it to the last minute. If you’re one of us, why not resolve to learn the words first this year? Make the effort to write out the words over and over by hand. Listen to a recording while reading them to yourself. Record yourself reading the words aloud. Make words a priority this year. It’s our privilege as singers to use words and music together to express stories and emotions, so let’s give both parts equal respect!
What are your New Years Resolutions this year? Do you have any other ideas for good resolutions for singers? Leave a comment below!
5 New Year Resolutions for Singers
sing every day
join a choir
take care of my body
listen to more music
focus on memorising words