|Vocal Tip of the Month!
Pay attention to your breathing. Let your belly come out
naturally during inhalation without raising your shoulders. Apply
a slight downward pressure during exhalation and while you talk to
engage your support. You can compare that sensation to how your
abdomen muscles tense up when you blow candles on a birthday cake.
This is the most pressure you will ever need if you're going to
raise your voice and try to project it against the room. More
effort than that is too much! During regular talk, the
diaphragm expands in the same way on a much smaller scale.
||Are You Vocally Prepared?
month of September is crucial in establishing a healthy classroom
routine and traces the pathway to a positive school year. Discipline in
the classroom and vocal wellbeing go hand in hand on many standpoints.
I spend most of my day talking: teaching, giving feedback and
encouragement, giving directives, disciplining, etc... I rarely find myself giving my voice a break to rest during a school day. Even
during lunch, I want to socialize with my teacher friends in the staff
room! This is where balance and vocal care comes into play to ensure I
can talk as much as necessary without feeling any strain. Here are
some vocal basics to refresh your memory and get you started on the
right foot this year.
2) Find your natural pitch level and place
your voice in your natural resonators. You can do that by
responding with "Mmmm" enthusiastically to any questions you'd like!
Words and sentences like "Hi!" and "How are you?" have a
tendency to bring the pitch level of your voice right where it belongs!
Replicate that pitch during speech.
3) Relax your face, jaw and neck when you talk. This is important
to let the larynx do its job and balance it into a neutral position
during speech. You can massage your face, tongue and neck several
times a day to help you release accumulated tension. Remember: If
you can "feel" your voice, you're doing something wrong.
4) Keep your instrument hydrated throughout the day. Drink lots
and lots of water. If you have to drink a coffee or tea in the
morning, compensate with at least an equal amount of water to offset
the drying effects.
5) Take the time to warm-up your voice before class starts to prepare
yourself mentally and physically for the day. Visit my website for a few warm-up exercise suggestions.
Going Back to School is Stressful!
parents secretly celebrate at the thought of their kids going back to school
and finding some peace and quiet at home again, we take over the challenging
task of looking after everyone’s kid, often 20 to 30 of them at once,
and sometimes more. After an 8 week long break, if getting back in the
groove isn't stressful enough for you, then tell me what else is!
Many parents recognize the difficulty of our task after they spend a full
day with us volunteering in the classroom or on a field trip. The
difference is that we have to maintain our sanity for 10 months!
Be selfish. Take decisions that will benefit you! Take good care of
Use your breaks wisely. Step out of the teacher mode when you get home
and during weekends. Avoid bringing home schoolwork when possible.
Practice relaxing your mind and letting go of work when you're at home.
Everybody needs a break. Don't stress out about things ahead of
time unnecessarily. Plan your day meticulously to find balance
and address school-related issues when the time is appropriate.
Include lots of "YOU" time!
When I ask professional singers what they do to keep themselves in top shape on
the road, they almost all come to me with the same answers: They get a lot of
sleep, they exercise and they eat well. It should be the same for us.
These are fundamental to keep your mind and body strong to cope with the
ups and downs of teaching as well.
4) Whatever you do, do it right! Keep trying your best
and be happy for what you have accomplished even when it has flaws.
When you try your best, it always gets better. Show your appreciation!
|Inspiring Quotes and Stories...
|Purifying Your Space
To start this new school year chapter of my life, I want to make sure
that I am surrounded by positive energy. I would like to
share a Native American tradition that I have decided to use in
order to bless, cleanse, protect my classroom and invite good spirits
to guide me and my students together on our path. It is called
"Smudging". The ritual in which a sage and cedar smudging stick
is used to purify the energy field of a space will be part of my first
day of school activities. Build your stick ahead of time,
preferably picking plants yourself.
ceremony, light up your smudging stick with a candle flame until it is
burning well. It might take a few minutes before it's smoking the
same way you would use incense. Gently fan the flame with a
feather or blow it out until it turns blue. While your smudging
stick continues to burn and its calming delicate aroma fills the room,
ask students to make wishes for the upcoming school year. Walk
towards the door and windows circling the stick counter-clockwise
and ask that only positive energy enters the room. Ask for the
protection and blessing of the classroom. I think it will be
a simple inspiring spiritual activity that the kids will love. It
symbolizes desire for peace and harmony. Have fun with it!
|I use sage,
cedar, sweet grass, rosemary and thyme spices to build my
stick. Lavender would be an excellent choice as well.
Remember to always ask the plant permission before picking its
branches and leave one of your hairs in exchange for the goods.
Roll the herbs in a bundle and tie them tightly in a
stick with cotton twine
before letting it dry for about a week or so. When you're
ready for the smudging
Yourself in the Classroom