There was an article a while back on getting good quality sleep using a mindfulness tactic with the acronym RAIN.
The steps involved make up the acronym. They are:
- RECOGNIZE Recognize the stress that’s coming up.
- ACCEPT/ALLOW Don’t try to push it away.
- INVESTIGATE Be curious. Ask: What is going on in my body right now? Do you feel tightness in your chest? Do you feel tension in your neck?
- NOTE Note the experience. Stay in the present movement until the sensation completely subsides.
While this pertains to stress and how it relates to getting a good night’s sleep, I think it can be applied to your singing practice as well.
When you are practicing, and you’re having a problem with a particular exercise, song, or phrase, you can
- RECOGNIZE Recognize the particular issue – “I am having a problem with reaching this high note”
- ACCEPT/ALLOW Don’t try to push it away – “Oh, I just need to sing it over and over and it’ll work itself out”
- INVESTIGATE Be curious. Ask: What is going on in my body right now? – “Is my jaw tight? Is my breath efficient? What is happening in the phrase leading up to the high note?”
- NOTE Note the experience. Stay in the present. It may be frustrating, and you might have to move on for a bit to accomplish what you need to accomplish.
And maybe you’ll find the answer by working on another piece that has a similar phrase with which you don’t have a problem. So work on that piece and apply the same technique to that phrase. “I’m not having a problem (recognition) – that’s great (acceptance) – what am I doing right? (investigation) – how can I apply this to the other song?”
Today is the birthday of one of the 20th century’s greatest entertainers, Sammy Davis Jr. He would have been 97 years old. An accomplished singer, dancer, actor, and drummer, he needs to be remembered and celebrated every day. I find it tragic that he died of complications of throat cancer. He refused a laryngectomy because he didn’t want to lose his voice, and when he finally had his larynx removed, he died.
Here’s a video of him singing a medley of Anthony Newley’s songs with the composer himself. I’m sharing this because:
- It’s magnificent – Newley’s performance is incredibly idiosyncratic but riveting
- I can’t believe Americans once had a attention span that would allow a 15 minute segment of two people singing
Enjoy it and do a deep dive into Sammy Davis, Jr. (and Anthony Newley). You won’t regret it.