Your Body Is Your Musical Instrument

It’s nearly show time!
Less than a week to go to the big day, and butterflies are flapping up a storm.
Members of Voices Unlimited (Worcestershire’s biggest independent adult contemporary vocal group, led by college boss Ria Keen), are gearing up for our show at the Swan Theatre, Worcester. We have just two more rehearsals left, and then next Friday is first night, preceded by a marathon tech session.
people at theater
Photo by Monica Silvestre on

I have been mulling over things, and realised that there is quite a lot that I need to sort out and do. Not learning my songs and moves – I have been doing that all year. Not getting costume sorted – eBay, charity shops, and more upmarket stores have been scoured for clothes that are cool enough to perform in (in both senses of the word). Not even hair and makeup – my particular bugbear. No, earlier this week, I realised that what I need to sort out is me.

I am going through a particularly busy time, both in and out of work, and for the past nine months or so I have felt that I am on a treadmill that is moving a little faster than I’m comfortable with. Something has to give, and it has been time spent on me. Just me. Five or six weeks ago, I tweaked an old knee injury. Typically for a physio, it has gone untreated. At the beginning of the week, I decided that I HAD to make time to treat myself, otherwise I would be struggling with what I have to do on stage. I made time to do this every day, and found that physiotherapy really does make it better!

I always find it difficult to sleep after rehearsals anyway, and the time close to the show is even worse. I recently attended Ria’s Imaginary Singer course, and we were given access to an mp3 download on Stress Control (available to buy through The Voice College).

I have been making a point of using it at bedtime every night, but don’t ask me what’s on it as I fall asleep very soon after the beginning! Instead of waking up jaded, feeling as if I’m running on empty, I feel thoroughly refreshed.

In short, I now remember that my body is my musical instrument. You wouldn’t expect a guitar to stay in tune without attention, so I must take time to look after my own body. I owe to to myself, my MD, and my fellow choir members to take the time to look after myself, so that I may perform to the best of my ability. It is so easy to get caught up in the task, and neglect the tools that are necessary to complete that task.

As a singer, what’s your routine for keeping your instrument in good condition?

Sue is a physiotherapist with nearly 40 years experience, consultant 
physio to The Voice College, qualified Sing 4 Health practitioner and 
keen amateur singer. Visit Pershore Physio

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