Smart Living, Day 48
Sometimes, when writing each day about somewhat difficult or unusual experiences, I get off scott-free while still hiding away inside my comfort zone. Take today, for instance. After my session at New York Sports Club, my personal trainer introduced me to Dr. Shamil of Smart Living, who writes a fantastic blog about living an intelligent lifestyle, on a budget, with good foods and clever choices. I returned home and ate an entire box of macaroni and cheese. On the other hand, when Dr. Shamil also suggested arranging a music soiree in my honor next week, I happily agreed and also ran through several songs and arias at home that I thought might be fun for the occasion. Somewhat proactive, somewhat lazy.
These thoughts began when I learned earlier in the day that I don’t have an easy answer to increasing my endurance in terms of breath support for singing. Many, many props to Nicholas Zinani, a fantastic personal trainer who, despite earning next to nothing on my sessions because of the way NYSC handled their deal with Groupon, spent more than ample time and energy helping me find an answer to my fitness question. I thought surely I would find out that I needed to maximize the oxygen moving through my lungs and could attack that part of my technique from another, fitness-related angle. Nick had me walk a mile on the treadmill as fast as possible, noted the time it took and my heart rate, and used a long formula to calculate my VO2 max. Fortunately and unfortunately, I performed above 100% for my age range and the age range below mine!
Although excellent news and fantastic support for the reality that singing is a sport in which I have trained well, this simply means that I need to find other ways to improve the length of my phrases and my breathing technique, especially in sometimes nerve-wracking auditions. Nick suggested that swimming longer distances with less breathing might help me to train, as well as altitude training (not so convenient for a girl who lives at sea level). I also know that tools like the Breath Builder, when used regularly, can help musicians to elongate their phrases and maintain a more even breath production. Here again, I own one, and it sits by my bedside. Do I use it regularly?
Well, starting tomorrow I do. Nick also advised talking with other singers about their phrasal breathing techniques and trying to learn from what works for them. Although I most certainly have done that in the past, I can always use fresh perspectives and will never run out of singers to ask. Also beginning tomorrow, I intend to take a longer and harder look at Dr. Shamil’s amazing blog and read some of his tips on cooking well. As a single woman living alone, I find it far too enticing to eat whenever, whatever I want that happens to lurk in my shelves. Time to plan ahead, eat, and shop in a way that I know will promote a longer, far healthier life than I lead now, and suck it up – in my breathing and my eating. Something tells me I’ll never be free of the excuses that so often plague our lives and society. At least I intend to fight back for a change.