Release / Receive / Release / Resist

Someone wrote on FB today:

Let’s pretend we’re creating your mantra – three words you say to yourself when you need motivation, inspiration, courage or strength. What is YOUR three word mantra?
So I wrote what I’ve come up with as my approach to breathing, specifically for singing:
Release / Receive / Resist.

Actually, I teach it as Release / Receive / Release / Resist.

  • Release: The lower abdominal muscles so that you can:
    • Receive: The air as it enters your body
  • Release: The exhalation
  • Resist: The flow of the air
When I work with beginning singers, I ask them to consciously release (blow out) all their air and not inhale again until their body requires it. Not really hold the breath, but don’t consciously suck in the air. Let the body take it in when it needs it. They become very aware that our bodies will take in the air naturally when it is needed, without pulling it in, without gasping. The muscles release so that the air can be received. Then, as we sing (exhaling with sound), we focus on finding the point of resistance between the ribs and oblique abdominals to maintain the airflow without restricting it.

Resistance isn’t restriction. We aren’t restricting or constricting. We are managing the airflow.

How does this apply to our lives? Pretty much the same thing.

We release our intentions so that we can receive what needs to come. And then we act (release) but we are mindful of what those actions involve and we manage the outcome so that life just doesn’t happen to us.

Singing is life. Life is singing. Rinse and repeat.

(Ooh, that’s a good mantra, too. Never mind the other. Just rinse and repeat.)

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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