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Can gesturing help with your singing? - The Vocal Advancement Podcast - #023

Can gesturing help with your singing?

Do you find yourself making certain hand gestures while singing or speaking? Do you feel this makes it easier for you to achieve key pitches? Could making these gestures during your lessons help improve your students’ singing? 

If you’ve been following our podcast for a while now, you’ll know that Heather has been seeking answers to these questions for her master’s thesis. She’s found that neuroscience does show a link between gesturing and vocalization — and everyone from voice coaches to Mariah Carey have been instinctively tapping into this link to aid in their performance and teaching techniques. 

But there’s more. While certain gestures do have a beneficial physiological effect on the voice, others can negatively impact a singer by promoting bad habits. Thus, teachers need to be aware of the types of gestures they use while teaching as well as the movements their students use while singing, since both can have a lasting effect.   

Join us as Heather reveals the fascinating way gestures affect everything from the tension in a singer’s voice to their ability to sing vibrato. See how the hand movements you’re making in your own classes influence your students. And discover how gesturing can provide the external focus students need to reach their goals.

BONUS: To see the hand gestures Heather describes in this podcast, subscribe to our YouTube channel and view the video version of this episode. It’ll make it much easier for you to incorporate these gestures into your own singing!   

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  1. How teachers use gesturing to explain how the voice works 8:02 
  2. The types of gestures that have a direct physiological impact on the voice 10:41
  3. How gesturing can both reduce tension in the voice and increase muscularity in the voice 11:42
  4. What research reveals about the positive and negative impacts gesturing has on the voice 14:52
  5. What neuroscience reveals about the way vocalization and gesturing are intertwined in the brain 17:03
  6. The physical effect large body gestures have on the voice 18:59
  7. How gesturing can provide students with the external focus needed to learn a motor skill 19:39
  8. How watching someone else gesture impacts your vocal quality 22:17
  9. How professional singers use gestures during their performance to achieve key pitches 28:42  
  10. Why being aware of the gestures your students are making helps you recognize which movements are beneficial or detrimental to their singing performance 30:31
  11. How gesturing is another tool teachers can use to help their students reach their goals 34:31
  12. How a study revealed how the movements of a conductor affected the way his choir singers breathed during their performance 35:02
  13. Why adding multiple modalities of learning — visual, kinesthetic, auditory — helps us learn better 39:10

Would you like to see a full IVA webinar developed on how gestures can help singers? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to check out IVA’s new webinar series and our list of past webinars, recorded for your convenience!

Did you enjoy this podcast? Be sure to follow our podcast and subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you never miss a new episode. Like and comment to let us know what types of topics you’d like to see in the future! 

We love to hear from our listeners. Email us at hello@vocaladvancement.com and let us know of a teacher or performer you’d like to hear being interviewed on our show.

About the Institute for Vocal Advancement

Interested in becoming a better vocal coach? The Institute for Vocal Advancement (IVA) connects you with many teachers who can provide you with more teaching tools for your classrooms. The IVA community and trainers teach from the empathic mindset that students of all ages benefit from, showing you how to improve your own teaching style.

Interested in checking out our webinars and online courses? See what’s coming up in our list of upcoming events and learn how our Teacher Training Programs can help your career. Use the code “iva20percent” to get 20% off your first year’s course membership fee!

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