By Robin Steinweg
It’s obvious. Physical fitness helps us be better vocalists, pianists, guitarists, whateverists. We grow more fit as we practice our instruments. This is probably especially true for voice or wind instruments. And it probably goes without saying. But teachers can also encourage students to great physical fitness during lessons.
Fitness by-products of playing or singing
- Better posture
- Breathing more deeply and breath control
- Better eating habits—especially stressed in vocal lessons, I suspect
- Better hydration—I offer water to all students, not only vocalists
- Greater body awareness
- Emotional health
I recall one of my voice instructors telling me that if I were to sing correctly I’d probably never need to do crunches! It’s true that vigorous practice or performances can be taxing. But over time, they also build us up and energize us.
12 fun ways to encourage fitness during lessons or practice
(use some of these as practice challenges—get parents, siblings or grandparents to join in!)
- Sit on an exercise ball during lessons or practice http://ow.ly/rRdc300JTeK
- Stand to play, even at the piano
- Walk around the room while playing or singing
- March in place while playing
- Practice vocal scales as you trot up and down the stairs
- Dance the rhythm of your piece
- If syncopated, add handclaps
- Bounce a ball in rhythm while walking and playing (try it with a partner)
- Jump on the rests
- Listen to a recording of your piece—choreograph with steps and arm swings—like aerobic dance
- If you have a trampoline, young students could practice bouncing in time to you or a recording
- Set up a gentle obstacle course (chairs, cones, folders, stairs) and walk it while playing or singing
Note: check with parents before engaging students in activities (wouldn’t want to bring on an asthma attack or anything!).
How do you promote physical fitness as a music teacher?