Summer is an excellent time to improve as a singer and to continue to move towards your musical goals, but how do you go from singing daily or several times a week in a structured setting to navigating the flexibility the summer often brings? If you don't keep up with vocal health and practice, you will notice a decrease in your vocal ability. Well, who says you can't prioritize your development as an artist while also lounging by the pool? Here are six things to keep in mind while you're enjoying your vacation during the long-awaited summer months!
GOAL SETTING: Summer is a great time to reflect on your progress over the past year and create goals for the upcoming year. Sometimes getting away at a beach or cabin retreat allows some time to escape the daily busyness and creates a great atmosphere for reflection. Take 15 minutes to jot down tangible, personal goals. Do you want to work on music in a new language? How many auditions do you want to go to next year? Try to push yourself to reach the next great level as a singer!
NEW MUSIC: Summer is a wonderful time to discover new rep! Listen to a new Musical Theatre or Opera score while hiking, laying on the beach or traveling. You'd be surprised at all the amazing styles of music that are out there just waiting to be discovered! While spending an afternoon painting in my new house (I know you're jealous of my summer plans) I listened to the scores of Mean Girls and The Band's Visit. Definitely take the time to expand your musical repertoire.
LESSONS: Check in frequently with your voice teacher or coach to be sure you are keeping your technique in line. You can do distance lessons via Skype or Facetime. In fact, I taught several of these this week!
PRACTICE MUSIC: Being on vacation doesn't mean you don't have to practice! Warm up in the shower, do straw and SOVT exercises (which are quieter than singing arias full out!), listen to your songs on YouTube, memorize lyrics, stretch, and do breathing exercises!
EXPAND YOUR SKILLS: Take a dance intensive, opera workshop, music theory class, or see a live musical event. Summer offerings to expand your skills are endless, and new experiences will offer you unique perspectives as you delve into the lyrics of your pieces. Take advantage of the extra time to really hone in on the skills that are important to you. Any takers for Yoga Voice?
VOCAL HEALTH: The fun of summer can cause a myriad of situations which challenge our vocal health! The heat of the sun can make us more prone to Dehydration so be sure you are drinking plenty of water! Remember that alcohol and caffeine can be dehydrating! Amusement Parks are a popular summer destination, but singers need to refrain from screaming on roller-coasters and other rides. On these rides and while cheering at Sporting events I encourage singers to do more of a sung "whooo", or siren noises! Outdoor Concerts are a fun place to enjoy your favorite artist and participate in a musical event, but singing along for hours at the top of your lungs will leave you hoarse, and yelling over the music at concerts and loud venues is also something to closely monitor when you are maintaining your vocal health! Allergies can also be more difficult to manage in the summertime whether it be from cut grass, smoke from bonfires or fireworks, or sensitivity to changing temperatures and air conditioning. Try some over the counter medications and if necessary see your physician.
So get out and enjoy the sunshine, the beach, your family and friends! Keep these tips in mind so you can still stay focused as a singer and maintain your progress and vocal health!