One of the items I mentioned in my first post was fitness. Possibly you were wondering how fitness ties in with singing and performing. Beyond looking better and having more energy to perform (both important), I was physically reminded of another benefit at rehearsal on Sunday.
I have been singing with an a capella group for almost a year. When I first joined the group, to call my singing skills rusty would have been an understatement. Although I performed for a while in church post-college, several years went by while my vocal cords forgot how to make a polished sound. This is fine for when The Fray comes on the radio. When I joined these singers, all who have performed professionally (one who--wonder of all wonders--SANG WITH VOICES OF LIBERTY!) I felt like a frog croaking. I've been improving over this past year, working at home on vocal exercises and trying to match the beautiful bright tone I hear of these awesome men and women with whom who I sing.
Fast forward to last Thursday through Sunday. On this healthy living quest, I've been trying to get more active, doing cardio and strength training, and focused quite a bit on ab work those days. During Sunday's rehearsal, for perhaps the first time ever, breath control felt relatively effortless as those newly strengthened ab muscles contracted and did that thing they're supposed to do while you sing! I think my tone was better, I know my phrasing was improved and I believe a lot of it had to do with the physical activity I've been doing.
I recall in high school, periodically our choir director would go on a kick where we'd have to add crunches or leg lifts to our warmups, all in the name of strengthening those same muscles. Mrs. Nilsen, I'm sorry I doubted the effectiveness back then!