Warming Up The Senses

In many ways music is an appeal to the senses for the singer, player, and always for the listener. If your senses are not fully engaged as a vocalist, performer, songwriter, or musician, the audience will not be fully satisfied. They’ll wander away hungry, thirsty, or just leave feeling ill or with a bad taste in their mouth.

You can warm up your voice and warm up your body. But you can also stimulate your senses as part of warming up.

But you’re probably wondering why you should have to do that. It’s not like somebody will pick up the scent of a song you’re singing or suddenly see something more clearly because of something you communicated with your phrasing.
Oh yes, they can. And, in fact, it’s the sign of a powerful performance delivered by a great storyteller.

Stimulate Your Senses

There are a number of simple exercises to engage that require little effort but can generate amazing results. They can help you concentrate, focus, feel more deeply, and help your audience take to heart those words not spoken, glimpses of private moments behind closed doors, the taste of bitter tears, and so on.

A simple exercise to engage on the day of a performance is to go for a walk. On this walk you are to run your song set silently and repeatedly as you observe your environment. Your song set becomes like a film score for your walk through the mall, in the park, by the river, on the beach, across a cemetery – wherever it takes you.

Tap Your Sensory Reserves

You want to have a tactile, visual experience of sound bytes, tastes, and smells that give you specifics to draw from as it all plays back or comes to mind during your performance. To reinforce anything you experience on your walk, you want to take notes as you reflect on what jumped out from your walk, once you get home.

Then, you sing through – in your head only – your song set one more time to lock in sights, sounds, tastes, touches, and scents that help to convey the story for each song. If you want, you can even have reminders on stage with you of a scent or taste and so on. The goal is to become more aware of the impact that your sensory experiences have on your storytelling as a singer.

Use Your Imagination

When learning a new song, take it for a walk. Take it around the block or on a drive to the park. Take it the movies, or take it out dancing. Take it out to dinner. Let each song speak to you in between the verses, outside of the chorus, and under the bridge.

Then find sensory markers that help define the feel and the story. You want sensory markers that trigger the memory of sights, sounds, touches, smells, and tastes that feed the emotional hunger and thirst and desire to be shared in song.

Exercise Your Senses

The next time you go out to go to the mall, a store, a park or wherever, go with the purpose of observing and soaking in the light of sensory stimulation. Look around and notice scenes of affection, distance, quarreling, laughter, love. Listen for anger, angst, humor, shyness, sadness.

Give your sense of smell and your sense of taste permission to be pushy and picky. Become more acutely aware of the impact that the five senses have on how you feel, what you’re thinking, why you sing, why you choose the songs you choose, and why you like or dislike something or someone.

The more aware you become, the more colors and textures you experience. That experience can then be translated through your phrasing and engaged through song selection.

It’s highly recommended that you further enhance your senses with The Pro Singer’s Warm Up by James R Wigginton. The vocal exercises will help you fully deliver a satisfying sensory experience for an appreciative audience and for you as a singer. The program is available at SSTV by clicking on the products tab.

Never underestimate the edge that an appeal to the senses can give you in your passionate pursuit of seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling your sweet singing success!