The pulse is the beat in a piece of music. The tempo of a piece of music is the speed of the underlying beat. Tempo is measured in BPM, or Beats Per Minute. 60 BPM is one beat every second. Sometimes the tempo is written at the beginning of the music and is called a metronome marking.
What can the pulse, and feeling the pulse, do for your singing?
Imagine the pulse is a kid that's bouncing in your belly.
It jumps into your diaphragm, which lies right at the base of your rib cage.
Here is a you tube clip that shows how the diaphragm works in your body.
Imagine this kid bouncing into your diaphragm like it were a trampoline.
If you allow the pulse to bounce in your belly then you create a relaxation in
the whole breathing mechanism as well as in the internal organs.
Your body will start to open and tension will fall away. Your head resonances
will open up and thus your high notes will improve.
Here is how you can use the pulse:
1) Take a song, listen to it and start stepping out the beat. Just walk in your room and match each
beat with a step. Be sure to relax and keep a bounce in your knees and ankles. Relax your face.
After having done that with the entire song a few times your breath should feel low and the top of your head should feel open.
2) Now let's be more specific. Keep stepping the beat of your song but now speak
the words of the song in the rhythm of the song. Which words or syllables fall
onto the step and which ones are in between the steps?
Release your belly on each of those words/syllables that fall onto the step/beat.
3) Now you can start to gently sing the song. You are still stepping it out however.
Don't sing loud at first and let the high notes be gentle and even weak to avoid
pushing before the space is ready and open.
Relax have fun. Your diaphragm will start to loosen up, it will be like a trampline inside of you.
All the notes high or low will bounce off from this inner trampoline. Work towards that sensation.
Make sure not to push your voice at any point.
Crack the high notes or sing them very lightly at first but don't push and hold onto them
with your throat. You will feel when you are ready to sing them fully. This needs patience.
Concentrate on your feet. Make sure that with every step you release your weight downward.
Let the head and neck area go. Let the jaw relax. Now use the throat like a ventriloquist. Open your throat inside don't open the jaw so much. Just be like the ventriloquist who can make powerful sounds without moving the jaw much at all. That will help you take advantage of the loose belly you have now. Your throat is open your body is relaxed and energized.
In time your high notes will feel so easy that you will not recognize them.
Many times a student asked me to check if the pitch was right. They just could not believe
that they were singing the same note which was so difficult before.
I hope this exercise helps you to find more ease as well.
Here is a little more advanced version of the stepping which will stimulate your brain
by crossing the mid line of your body. Use this step for the exercises described above
for added benefit. You can look at this you tube clip for added information about
the benefit of cross lateral motion for your brain.
Now are you ready for a little choreography?
It really is easy. Stand in front of a line. Imaginary or actually there on your woodfloor
or carpet. Now walk forward like a model on a catwalk. Exaggerate the sideways motion
of the feet. By that I mean step with your right foot forward and cross the line so that
your right foot ends up on the left side of the line and vice versa.
At the same time that you right foot touches the floor your left arm will scoop
downwards and toward the right. As if you scoop a cup of water from a well.
So now your foot crosses the middle line and the opposite arm does the same.
Walk like this alternating sides. Every step you fall into your knees with a bounce.
(That's where the catwalk analogy stops working) You are wanting a release
of your whole body towards the floor. Don't hold your head up and try to figure
it out with thinking. Just give yourself to the bouncing sensation and let go of your
neck muscles. Relax your lower jaw and tongue muscle.
The criss cross motion activates the corpus ballosum which connects
the right and left side of your brain. It is a bridge between the two.
I recommend this for your every day practice. It will keep you alert and "switched on".