Sing Little Birdie - A Vocal Experiment

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  • By Susan "The Wife" Bartley
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Sing Little Birdie - A Vocal Experiment

Both systems: Be Activated and RPR (Reflexive Performance Reset) are systems used to improve performance.  From our world view, performance usually means athletic performance.  But for these systems, performance means ANYTHING you do in which you want to be better.   Do you want to be a better race car driver, a better speaker or a better grandparent?  It doesn’t matter if you use either of these systems, they will help you be better.  If you have the chance to learn either of them then you should go, even if you are not into exercise.


This story, and an experiment that I did last Friday, prove that point.


It is no secret that when we went to Columbus for the Be Activated seminar with Douglas Heel last month, we came back fairly changed people.  You can read my last two blogs or Marc’s last blog to get some details.


One of the gifts that I walked away with was the gift of my voice, and the understanding that I had not been using my voice effectively.  Here is that story in a nutshell:


We were working on the Shoulder Thoracic Release which is the ridge line under and around the pecs.  As you might imagine, it can be pretty sensitive there especially for females.   In the past we learned to do this activation on ourselves so you could really cheat the system.  This time, we had our partner do it.  I was super nervous because I knew it was a bad area for me, so my partner went very gently.  Even with his light touch it was painful but, when I stood up, I felt taller, lighter and more expanded through my chest.   It made me think up a question (a rather cerebral question that is not important to the story) so I went and asked Douglas.  I can’t remember if he actually answered my question or not, what I do remember is that he grabbed me, stepped on my foot so I couldn’t get away and took his thumb of justice and start working on a spot right on the inside corner of the bottom of each pec.  OMG it hurt and I used all of my vulgar language to try and make him stop.  (No worries, I trust him implicitly so while it sounds a tiny bit barbaric, I knew I was safe the whole time.)  While he was working, he told me to sing.  Someone suggested “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” so I sang that.  At first it was kind of quiet and blah, but the more he worked the more it became powerful, filling up the room.  I think people actually stopped what they were doing to listen.  And Douglas said, “I think we found your voice”.


Coming home from experiences like this are always hard because you are afraid that as you go back into the real world you will lose all of the magic that you gained.   I do not want to lose my voice now that I have found it.  I need it to be able to run Spud, Inc. effectively. 


I actually do sing, I have most of my life.  In fact, one of my employees said I was the only person that he knew that could and would sing anytime and anywhere.  I lead music for the little kids at my church a few Sundays a month and I play and sing for a small church gathering Sunday mornings.  I have also been into the recording studio numerous times.  Most recently, I have been taking my nephew and his family into the studio to record Christmas cd’s.  Together we have recorded (with him on vocals) songs like Bohemian Rhapsody (yep), Don’t Stop Believin’,  Starfish and Coffee and many more.  Since I am comfortable in the recording studio I thought I would do an experiment with activations and singing to see if I could re-create what Douglas did in class.  I am hoping it will be a way for me to continue to tap into the strength of my voice.


I did 4 takes of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.  It isn’t a song I am particular fond of, but I wanted to keep the test the same.  I DID NOT practice at all.  I listened to it a few times the prior week but never practiced.  Please remember, although I do sing, I am not a professional.  You can judge whatever you want, but I am not putting this out there because I think it is perfect, it isn’t.  But, you can hear the progression of my voice through the activations and that was what I was after.


Take 1: 

I sang this fairly cold.  It was 1:30 pm.  I had done a full activation session in the morning before I worked out but nothing since.  I was feeling fairly loose.  I also did not do any vocal warm-ups or practice.  As you will hear it is pretty rough and not quite on key at some points.


Listen here:


Take 2:

Before this take, I did a quick 5 minutes on my breathing and psoas activations.  I did them standing, but really worked on each area.  Again, I did no vocal warm-ups or practicing.  

I was much more powerful on this take and my quality was much improved.  I felt more connected to the song. 


Listen here:


Take 3:

I added in a quick hit on breathing and psoas plus glutes and hammies.  I wanted to play around with a slight ninja butt squeeze while I sang to see what that did.  As you can hear I feel more emotionally connected but there is a rough start, decent in the middle and then a rough ending.  I felt like my connection was like a radio station that you kept losing when you were out of range.


Listen here:


Take 4:

For this final run I laid on the floor and went through all of the activations and stopped on the Shoulder Thoracic release and really, really, really worked my voice spots.  (I have pictures of the bruises that were left from when Douglas worked there so the spots are easy to find).  I spent a while working each spot until I felt my body let go and give a HUGE breath.  That was when I knew I was ready.   And I must say what we got in this take, for me, was special.  I felt connected to what I was singing.  It didn’t feel to loud or forced, the breath felt perfect.  My tonal quality was pretty spot on and I think I sold the song like it needed to be sold. 


Listen here:


The one caveat.


Although Take 4 was the best, I was not perfect on the last line.  Well, actually, not even the last line.  I had a hard time sticking the final word….”I”.   What you hear on the Take 4 up above is a version that took me about 10 times re-recording to get decent.  Everything in Take 4 was done once except that final line.


What struck me about that was that here I was doing this experiment in the recording studio where I was trying to find and live into my voice and the one stupid word that I couldn’t get out was “I”.  I do not know if that is coincidence or not.  I assume it is not and that my brain really is still stuck when it comes to finding my strength in my voice.  It is definitely something to think more about and play with.  I plan to go into the recording studio every three weeks or so and just record whatever I think up.  I may never do anything with any of it, but I hope it helps me stay present in my voice so I can use it when I need it.


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