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Music, tones and body movement.

The book, A Soprano on her Head, by Eloise Ristad, takes a good look at emotions locked in your body and how your body remembers when your conscious mind forgets. She leads a nontraditional workshop for musicians that usually start with “body movement warm-ups that are designed to encourage spontaneity.”

In one such workshop she got vocal students to try and produce the most “comfortable tones” through body movements. One student, a soprano, “ended up on her knees with her head upside down on the floor,”

but after years of traditional training she could not produce the same sound standing up. It took her a lot of lessons until she became aware of how her whole body worked with her voice to produce sounds before she could do it standing up.

In Classical music, an opera singer is discouraged movement when singing, especially in performances, for obvious reasons, it’s distracting. And so many are taught to stand rigid to the point that their bodies are trapped in a stagnant, restricted posture. This does not allow the body to move the tones out freely. The whole body should be used like a vessel of strength but in her book she believes that movement helps the singer unlock emotions that can cripple the creative process. Of course, having a soprano sing on her head while doing a performance is not practical but it does help the singer realize what is being locked away. When you know what sensations you are using to produce rich and pleasant tones then you can adjust them for performances. In her book, she uses unorthodox ways to help a singer with her tone, sight reading, memorizing and performance. These techniques also helped with other areas of music and life!

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