Banish the Winter Blues and Sing Your Way to a Perfect Christmas

December 10, 2017
As Featured in Woman and Home Magazine



Whether sitting in traffic, or feeling like your brain is getting fried after hours of Christmas shopping, restore your equilibrium and feel human again in no time.

One of my voice students described a Love Singing group session as ‘Exercise for the soul’.  She went on to say, “The breathing exercises, tuning into the moment, plus not feeling cautious about how you sound gave me such huge sense of freedom and being in the now.   I think people like me, who are constantly busy would appreciate the opportunity to pause for the moment and sing their heart out.”

Experts are lining up to convince you that when it comes to giving you a top-to-toe tune up there’s nothing better than a good sing-a-long.  For example, do you know how singing can reduce your stress levels, or how good it is for your heart and lungs?  

According to Professor Graham Welch, even when sitting, singing has physical benefits because it is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body. Furthermore, singing has psychological benefits because of its positive effect in reducing stress levels and increasing your sense of emotional well-being.”

Singing can even help you live longer, especially when you join forces with others.   According to the findings of a joint Harvard and Yale study, group singing could increase your life expectancy. The report concluded that this was because singing promoted both a healthy heart and an enhanced mental state.

According to research, the very act of singing causes the release of endorphins, our natural, so-called “happy” hormones.  Singing regulates the vagus nerve, which is believed to control our “mind-body” connection.  Songs with long phrases achieve the same effect as breathing exercises in yoga, and help to reduce stress — a major risk factor for heart disease.

 

Here's a simple way to fit singing into your busy day

Humming in the morning will set all those feel-good hormones rushing through you and it’s one the best way to improve and maintain a healthy voice.  Besides, most people don’t know all the words to their favourite song or Christmas carol, but they usually know the tune.  Hum or la la la your way through a song and you’ll get the same benefits as singing the words.  The singing fairy won’t care, she’ll bestow her blessing on you just the same.

Try humming before you get out of bed.  And, who doesn’t love humming or singing in the shower?  Plus, your vocal cords really love steam, so make the most of it.  Whether sitting in Christmas traffic or feeling like your brain is getting fried after hours of Christmas shopping, this restore your equilibrium and having you feeling human again in no time. Round the evening off with a bit of humming and you’ve got the makings of a perfect day.

 
An easy way to improve your voice

Sing quietly!  Too many people think good singing means loud singing.  Hence the rapturous applause when X factor contestants gets to the wailing bit.  But Adele’s recent vocal problems prove this isn’t always a good thing.  In reality, you don’t need to sing any louder than you speak.  Surprising as it may seem, singing softly - think Marilyn Monroe singing happy birthday Mr. President - can be more powerful than shrieking at the top of your voice.  Give aspirate, speech-level singing a go and hear/feel the difference. 

 

Enjoy the holiday, and start the New Year with a song

 

 

Did you know you can pick your customers?

June 18, 2016

One of the most important business decisions you’ll every make

 

There’s a very simple business technique, which guarantees you the success you want.  It’s used by all smart and successful business owners.  Yet it’s not widely talked about.  But this method ensures you reach the right audience, increases sales and grow your business you way you’d like it to grow.  This is the simple concept of choosing your customers.

 

For some people the concept of choosing who their custome...


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Why People Aren't Listening To You When You Present

April 26, 2016

Every presenter’s nightmare is spending ages crafting what seems like a perfect pitch that doesn't achieve the desired results.  People seem bored, talk amongst themselves, or they don’t buy into what you have to offer.

So what’s going wrong?  Well, if you’ve spent more time working on the words you say rather than the way you deliver them you’ll keep coming up short.  Why?  Mainly because the words you use, in your carefully crafted speech, only accounts for 7-10% of how people ...


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Pitching - How to keep it real

April 26, 2016

In almost every picture you see of Richard Branson giving a presentation he’s smiling. He seems happy, in control, charismatic and totally convincing. With seeming ease he’s managed to convince people to change the way they travel, bank and listen to music. He even managed to convince the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio to part with millions of dollars to back Virgin Galactic, without them even knowing if it will ever get off the ground.

In the light of all that it’s easy to believe that he...

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Ice Cream Or A Story. Which One Would Children Choose?

April 10, 2016

Being a storyteller I know that children and adults love stories.  But I wasn’t prepared for what I found out today.

I’ve just taken part in the Play Day at Somerford Grove, Tottenham, London, UK.  A great day of fun in the sun.  This was part of my time delivering drama and storytelling workshops with Northumberland Park Primary School on their Summer Transition Programme.  

The best thing about this storytelling day was that I had now acquired a troupe of little helper to help out.  A loy...


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Should you train Your Body And Mind In Equal Measure?

April 10, 2016


I read an interesting article by Sir Ken Robinson, PhD. Robinson is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources in education and in business.

In the TES magazine article, Cha-cha-change the balance in schools, he puts forward the argument that dance classes in schools should be given the same priority as maths and the sciences.

His argument is that It’s just as important for children to learn to use their bodies as it is to use their m...


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Why Your Fitness Routine Should Include Singing

April 9, 2016



How much keep fit gear do you own?  Is the thought of doing exercises or even the idea of actually going to the gym tiring you out?

Then maybe you should consider joining a choir instead.

Experts are lining up to convince you that when it comes to giving you a top-to-toe tune up there’s nothing better than a good sing-a-long. For example, do you know how singing can reduce your stress levels or how good it is for your heart and lungs?   And if being able to tone your upper body and sorting ou...


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Don't Judge a Library By its Cover

April 9, 2016

I’d like to join the friends of Birmingham Central Library in mourning the passing of this highly emotive city landmark.  The building has sat empty since 2013, having been replaced by the Library of Birmingham, which is situated in nearby Centenary Square. Despite all protestations, campaigning and calls for alternative uses for the building the bulldozers have finally come to put the old place out of its misery.

The Birmingham Central Library building has always courted controversy and di...


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Storytellling at Tate Modern - Tateshots - Valentine Special

August 5, 2015

I love Art and I love storytelling.  So it was nice to get the opportunity to combine my two passions in one project.

Enjoy this Tate Modern Tatestots valentine special.

“ Man Ray originally created The Lovers (1933) in the aftermath of his passionate and sometimes volatile relationship with the beautiful American photographer and model Lee Miller. The lips painted onto the lead piece are said to be those of Lee, and the artwork is considered evidence of his continued longing for Lee after th...


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This simple tone deaf test could change the way you think about singing

January 5, 2014


I can't sing because I'm tone deaf.
 

I hear people say this all the time.  But a couple of simple questions usually proves that they're not. People quite often think they are tone deaf because they don't really understand what being tone deaf is.

If you think you're tone deaf, try this little test now.  

  1. Go to you music collection and pick out one of your favourite tracks.
  2. Listen to it.
How does it sound?  Those swirling sound rising and falling.  It sounds good right?  CONGRATULATIONS!  ...

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Please don't tell a child they can't sing. You could cause more damage than you think

December 28, 2013
"Let the young practice only until they are able to feel the noble melodies and rhythms"  - Aristotle

A new singing pupil of mine burst into tears in her first class.  All because she hit the note C and sustained it for 10 seconds.  The shock and relief at discovering she wasn't tone deaf and was indeed able to sing after all.  

Her experience is very common.  I keep saying that I should carry a sealed envelope, which I can open within 5 minute of talking to a new pupil. The note inside it wou...
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7 proven ways to get Boys excited About Reading

December 24, 2013

How many time have you thrown your hands up and said, “I give up”?    


For many people, those who care about positive child development, giving up isn’t an option.  

Think about how your life would be if you had no access to the written word.  This is a reality for many people. For some it’s a physiological issue other it’s psychological.  There are also those who by not understanding the importance of reading never bother to develop the skill sufficiently.  Until it’s too late.

...
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How to approach your singing With greater confidence

December 12, 2013
So you've set your mind on doing more singing.    But how's it going?
 
Have you set to it with full force and are you now singing the songs you want to sing where and when you want to sing them.  Or are you finding that your first few steps have been a little hesitant and faltering.  Well you'll be comforted by the fact that this is normal.

There are many reasons why you are not, as yet, totally in tune with your voice.  Some reasons are universal and others are more personal to you.   Let's ta...
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Why do you think you can't sing?

December 9, 2013

When I say to people, "Hi I'm a singing teacher"  most people reply  "I can't sing!".  Now you'd think that would be the perfect in.  But, no!  For many poeple the sheer terror at the thought of singing is something they'd rather not contemplate.  If only they understood what they were missing out on.

I've been out and about promoting the Love singing method recently, so I've had the opportunity to talk face-to-face with people who haven't fully embraced the joys of singing.  What I've discove...
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My first casting decision

September 11, 2013
I remember my first casting decision - it was more of a re-casting than straight casting.  Although this was a long long time ago.  I was 16 and making my stage debut in the Birmingham Youth Theatre production 'Somebody's Daughter' at the Birmingham Rep.  It all came about quite organically. During the auditions I'd made friends with the lead (Tony Armatrading) and we had spent time running lines together.  When rehearsals began if any of the notes I'd given him (which he had dutifully pencil...
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Art will feed itself

September 9, 2013
The only way to fly

Art will feed itself. This is my personal motto.  I have a few aims, codes of conduct and guiding principals.  They are, for the most part, free flowing and changeable.  But they do revolve around one central premise: to live by my creative endeavour.  

I describe myself as a life-long creative.  Quite often when I say this people ask, creative what.  But what I simply mean is that I like to live by creative endeavours.

This doesn't mean art for art sake - although I have liv...
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Art will feed itself


Life-long creative. I have one goal in life and that is to live from my creative endeavours, That what my motto 'Art will feed itself' means. this.