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Notes On Notes

Getting Out of a Vocal Funk

In late February and early March 2020, I had a horrible cough, fever, sore throat, the works. I was just starting to feel like a person again when the shelter-in-place started. With everybody home all the time, in various stages of whatever, and the world upended, I fell into a vocal Funk like none I’ve ever known.

At the end of April, my daughter turned 21, and heading into her birthday I started to remember, well, her birth, and all the hours spent trying to hum her to sleep, hum her to calm, hum her to peace when she was a tiny baby. My deeply sad, funky self thought, “Boy do I need all of that for me right now!”

After a few days, my more-together self thought, “I could try to hum to me.” With my hand on my sternum, I tried something low and simple, feeling my body vibrate with the hum. After not very long, I started to feel better. Little bits of humming eventually got me back to singing – and today it’s going well.

So if you’re out of sorts, or if singing feels out of the question, let me invite you to consider humming. You can hum along with my little hums if you like, or on your own. Or with this short YouTube playlist if you’d like to fill your ears with harmony. If you try it, please let me know how it goes.

Feel free to reach out with questions or for other singing support. Your voice is a good gift – I want you to feel the joy of it!

Humming when you haven’t been

1. Find a comfortable place to sit. Feel yourself balanced on your sit bones.

2. Take a minute to stretch your neck – let your chin fall to your chest, letting the back of your neck lengthen. Roll your head gently from side to side and feel the sides of your neck stretch.

3. Let your tongue rest on your bottom teeth, just behind your lips. Let your teeth be apart and your jaw muscles feel soft. Massaging them a little will probably help.

4. Put your hand on your chest as you hum something low and easy. Aim to keep your lips and chest vibrating throughout the humming. Hum for as long as you have, for as long as you like 🙂

If you get stuck, or if something feels off, please reach out. We can probably fix that, even over Zoom.

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