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Great Email Question
I got a great email question that asked this: “Chris, I bought the Vocal Coach series from you at a workshop you gave. You mention warming up while driving to rehearsal/gig. I thought I had heard not to do that. Is it ok to do that so long as posture is correct?” This is a super question because it deals with real life for a singer.
Ideal vs Reality
Let’s start with this: The “ideal” warm-up/practice scenario would have you peaceful and quiet, undisturbed. You are rested, have eaten well and have just read something relaxing. Maybe even had a string quartet playing during your meal. I’m not being sarcastic. Superstars like Luciano Pavarotti and Michael Jackson traveled with their own chef’s, food supply and, in the case of Pavarotti, entertainment.
Most singers who wait, and only warm-up and practice in perfect, ideal situations often just don’t do it. The result is that they don’t develop the muscle memory necessary for good singing.
Is Warming Up in the Car Ok?
I have sung all over the world and sometimes the only place I knew I could really “get away” to think and warm-up was in a rental car. Pavarotti and Jackson I am not, but I do know what my voice and mind and emotions feel like when I’m fully ready to perform and I’ll do about anything to make that happen. If you’re a choir or worship team member and the car is your only time to focus, put in a Vocal Coach Warm-Up or Daily Workout CD and go for it. The goal is to be ready.
If you do end up warming up in a car:
- Make sure the rear-view mirror is positioned comfortably high requiring you to sit tall to see out the back window.
- Keep your hands at the One and Three O’clock positions on the steerting wheel. It will stabilize your chest and ribs in a comfortably expanded position.
- Have a goal of physically feeling a free, rich tone since road noise, air conditioning etc. may make accurate hearing challenging.
- Don’t try to out-sing the car noise. Instead, sing smart. If you begin to strain, back off and recheck posture, breathing and tone. If you aren’t solid in those foundations make a plan, get some materials personal training and learn to do it right.
Ten Minutes Is Much Better Than Nothing
What it your schedule or situation doesn’t allow for a good warm-up? That’s where muscle memory and experience kick in and get you through, but it’s not something to get comfortable with. Those who do ultimately pay the price of sloppy, unpredictable performances. There is always some time to do humming and lip-trill exercises even if it’s while you’re in the shower and getting ready.
Do all you can to assure regular warm-up and practice times in ideal surrounding. When that can’t happen, make sure to still prepare your voice and heart even if you need to hide in the janitor’s closet or a car to do it.
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