Finding Agility: Value Of Exercises Done Quickly

One of the fundamentals of singing concerns agility. Agility means being able to move the voice quickly and precisely with a minimum of effort.  

And sometimes that quick work is part of the solution because moving more quickly than we are comfortable can free up the muscles and loosen our inhibition. 

When we do an exercise quickly, we are moving at a good rate of speed and do not have time to “get set” or try to somehow control the sound. This is an important corrective exercise, especially for those of us who have muscles and minds that have been trained by us or by a teacher to function in unhealthy ways.  Effectively, an exercise done quickly can bypass both faulty mental concepts and faulty physical programming.

The theory is that as we move quickly, the muscles start to more automatically respond to the given exercise and the old habits begin to fall away. Our muscles have an innate or inborn logic wherein they are able to respond reflexively to proper musical stimulus. So, to use this tendency, we do specific exercises, chosen or designed to meet our growth needs, as quickly as we are able at the moment. The muscles start to tap into their own interior logic, and give us a better result than if we were trying to “do” something wherein we forced the muscles to behave like we think they should.

As you perform the exercise try to let go and let the voice adjust. Then, you may be able to discover new ways of thinking and being which leads to healthy ways of doing. This emphasis on “reflex” can encourage our subconscious mind to “respond” with appropriate commands to the muscles which then “respond” with appropriate adjustments given the particular pitch, volume, and vowel. The reflexive instincts inform our conscious mind, and we begin to understand – “Aha!”

When we do this type of work we may need to begin slowly before the velocity helps. The muscles learn how to adjust more precisely more quickly. At first, we might only be able to move in a ponderous fashion. We might notice that we cannot get up and down the scale very cleanly. Even when we are able to move a bit quicker, we might notice that our movements are less than precise. We are singing in the general vicinity of the pitches or steps but not quite “on it.”

But keep at it! With hard work and focused fun, we begin to notice small successes. We can move smoothly. We can move quickly. We can move quickly with balance between all the muscles. The muscles begin to give us a precision that did not exist before. We experience “agility!”

Allen Rascoe

about the author

Allen Rascoe Allen has been enjoying singing since he was a little kid. He officially studied voice at ECU and USC. However, he ran... Read More