It occurred to me that if you're an artist, aspiring artist, or even a supporter of the arts, you might be curious as to what a day in the studio looks like for a performing artist like myself.
Maybe you're curious because you're interested in finding a deeper connection to yourself as an artistic person, or your study of music, or even just understanding your body so you can avoid being in pain or stressed, and feel more ease to express yourself more authentically and stand out as the unique person you are.
My commitment to all of the above is how this process that I call “being in the studio” has evolved and continues to evolve.
Last Saturday I had a concert therefore my studio time was directed towards preparing for that evening.
My goals were
1. to have my voice feel full and flexible so that it would be easy and FUN to sing my songs and express myself.
2. to feel connected to my body so that I was breathing easily and feeling centered within myself as well as centered on the message of the music.
So on my studio day I woke up and started by going for a restorative practice to begin because my back was feeling tired. I was also feeling a bit groggy so I began by lying on the floor with my head supported on two books of course (a la Alexander Technique style:) and let my legs rest up the wall. I wanted to do this to allow both my back and back body to open so that again I could connect more easily to my goal #2. I stayed there for a long period of time (maybe 10 or so minutes) to let my body fully unwind and gradually wake up.
Then I allowed myself to go through two different postures, or shapes. One was with my lower legs in a butterfly pose but still along the wall. This was to find more openness in my hips but without loosing the connection to my lower back. People often don’t realize how loosing the connection to their lower back and entire back can greatly diminish one's ability to breathe deeply and move as freely. Second I let my legs lengthen up the wall into a split to allow my hips to continue to open with support. Then I lay down flat on my back with my knees bent and my legs parallel to one another to see what the experience was like for my entire back and torso paying close attention to what I noticed in my lower back.
The thing that I have to tell you which makes this first portion of my studio day particularly different is HOW I paid attention to myself. As a result of being an Alexander Technique teacher I REGULARLY CHECK IN WITH MYSELF. I notice the top of my spine seeing if any part of me wants to stiffen or hold in my neck. I also regularly check in with my front body and notice whether I can allow it to soften more towards the floor and also into length. I consider that I can always release more into my length physically and also spacially in the room and that I can release into my width physically and spacially as well.
Thinking in this way, moving mindfully, helps me to create a deeper connection to my breath and my body for singing onstage or in the studio. It helps me to see clearer when I am staring at the audience when I am performing and it helps me to connect to the space that I am performing in. It helps me to not breathe as shallow and also to have a relaxed, natural stage presence which is INVITING for an audience. It’s easier for me to connect with the audience and for the audience to connect with me because I’m not freezing up or overly tensing my body. If you want to learn more about how to use the Alexander Technique and awareness of your breath and body to improve your singing or music making or studio time, drop me a line. And feel free to share what your studio day normally looks like. You can tag me on social media @Pyengthreadgill.
To learn more about the next steps of my studio day make sure to read my upcoming blog.