Our founder Louisa recently hoped up to the big smoke to see Hamilton. Here’s what she thought ….
If you’ve seen me recently, there’s no doubt that you’ll be aware that I have finally seen Hamilton … this is mainly because I cannot stop raving about it; I’m swinging between gushing (something that I’m really not prone to), to being rendered speechless about the whole experience: that’s really how you can sum it up in one word … an ‘experience’.
As a person who trains young people, when you go and see something like this there are always takeaways. With my technical vocal teacher hat on, this time it was vocal stamina and breathing. The show was an absolute masterclass in the latter.
Here comes the gushing …
As the performers battled it out through paragraph after paragraph of rhyme and song, it left me waiting for the moment when one of them loses their breath … they didn’t. Line after line had been meticulously planned out to ensure it was a marathon not a sprint. As a lifelong student of the voice, I could see the mastery at work, as breathing patterns with super snatches were made a seamless part of the action. It was stunning.
Then there was the performances that came with it; often beautifully understated - not something you always see in Musical Theatre; the performers conveyed both the raw emotion of each character and the comedy came in equal measure to provide those essential light moments. It was an acting through song masterclass.
As a teacher, it highlighted how important vocal stamina really is for a singer and performer. Creating consistency in your training is vital to this. Here is my list of the essential daily activities :
Stretch. Singing is a full body experience - start your day with a full body stretch to get rid of any negative tension as this can drastically impact the sound you make (click here to read a previous article on negative tension).
Breathing exercises. Being able to support yourself from your core is essential. Regular exercises to strengthen the muscles around your diaphragm can help build the stamina you need to push your performance to the next level.
Make weird noises. Gently start your vocalisation by humming, followed by lip trills, all in the most comfortable part of your range. This will get the vocal chords ready for everything else you’re going to bring to them.
Understand where your voice is at. By warming up daily, you can check on your voice to see what’s going on. You’ll be able to feel the differences to help you spot any early warning signs that need to be remedied such as colds or sore throats, and overall you’ll strengthen the foundation of your voice helping you to feel more confident as a result.
What do you to check in with your voice? Have you seen Hamilton? Get in touch to tell us what you think.