Discovering your inner zombie will help you release the kind of tension that is holding back your singing –says Janine LeClare
Quite possibly, I’m the first vocal coach encouraging you to pull out your best ‘zombie pose’. So let me tell you why.
When you are scared, you tense muscles symmetrically.
As a result, there is a life long history of symmetrical muscle tension—muscle memory—if you will.
Tense muscles (particularly in our shoulders and neck) gravely impede our freedom to sing well.
In order to break that habit, you must put yourself in a position that is not conducive to your recalled tension.
The Zombie Effect
If you were to see a zombie walking down the street, your first reaction may be one of fear.
But putting your fear aside, you’d notice that they seem pretty chilled out. Maybe they’re dragging a limb behind them or one arm is in the air higher than their other.
I am here to tell you that as singers, there are three reasons why you should copycat this posture and utilize it to your benefit during your warm ups or difficult areas within your range or a song:
1) Tension begins in your hands. But you cannot tense your muscles in an asymmetrical fashion. As a result, when you have one hand or arm higher than the other, in a loose ‘zombie-like’ posture, tension will not form. So in short, try striking a pose where the left side of your upper body is gesturing asymmetrically to the right.
2) From a mental aspect, standing in these positions distracts you from the very thing that was causing your tension in the first place.
3)Once you’ve repeated this a few times, muscle memory retention (and in this case, non-tense muscles) assist you in retaining the correct execution of the part you are trying to sing, but without the gesture.
Zombies are Free of Fear
Zombies are not trying to defend themselves, but rather, they are just going forward.
They have no need for tension.
So next time you get to that difficult part during rehearsal, or need to hit that high note in your warm up, try channeling your inner zombie.
I’ve seen this technique work time and time again in my vocal studio with dozens of clients.
Now of course, if you want to try these gestures on stage, please do so at your own risk – wink 😉