Thursday, March 25, 2010

When you sing in choir

There's a lot of breathing in choir. That may seem like an obvious statement, so I'll move on quickly. It turns out, that if you get sick during a mid-semester break, after you have been consistently exercising your diaphragm (through almost 3 hours a week of singing), that the muscles you then strain while coughing are muscles that you use for darn well everything. Standing up straight, for example, and biking. And walking, and balancing in heels. And a different facet of breathing.

The little random stabs of agony have almost gone away, and I can stand up straight again, and walk again at my normal clip, and I have managed not to acquire an ibuprofen habit while getting to this point. I have to laugh though--choir, in addition to its multifarious advantages (like getting to sing for almost 3 hours a week :-D), has given me new and more interesting ways to hurt myself.

Once my intercostals, or whatever muscles I managed to strain, are fully healed again, you can bet that part of my regimen will be strengthening them so I don't go through this again. Ow.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And now for something completely different

Backrub chains are one of the best perks of choir (though getting to watch conductors during performances is pretty awesome too). The director--Dr. Z, Dr. L, or sometimes Graduate Assistant Extraordinaire Ian G. (to be hereafter called Ian, cause that's one heck of a title ::laughs::)--says, "Okay, massage this way," and the choir as a body turns to the left and rubs shoulders, and then the director says "Switch," and the choir turns to the right and rubs shoulders that way. You see, for singers, your instrument is your body--all the effort has to be mental, because if it creeps into your neck, shoulders, back, legs, it's going to affect the sound. It's wonderful, by the way--two of my favorite activities, singing and relaxing, rolled into one.

Yesterday, instead of having a backrub chain in the warm-up, we had one in the middle of the practice for Elijah, which means that Ian and Dr. L were lending their voices to the tenor line, since we have all of 5 avowed tenors. *ahem* All right, the point of all this lead-up is that Ian gives very good backrubs (he wears overshirts which make it very difficult to rub properly, incidentally, but on his other side was Dr. L, who undoubtedly did a much better job than I did)--I practically floated back to my seat because I was so relaxed, and I can drop my shoulders fully without agony now (apparently some aspect of college life has installed a permanent knot in my right shoulder which, until yesterday, meant that it was painful to drop my shoulders, and in fact I couldn't entirely). See, this is why he's Graduate Assistant Extraordinaire.