So, can I? A question I ask myself every time I’m travelling. In the last few months I have been on the move more than ever and the question of finding an appropriate practice space became increasingly difficult.
Opera singing is by no means a subtle art form, especially when we need to warm up, practice a difficult passage like 100 times or run through an 8 minute Handel aria. Not being able to access soundproof practice room anywhere I went so far I had to come up with alternative practice locations and styles. But before I will write any further, I have to say that I had to let go of many insecurities and anxieties about my voice, there was no other choice if I wanted to move forward. Since we arrived to Chiang Mai on Tuesday I had to be particularly creative with my practice locations. So here we go, 5 alternative singing locations when traveling:
1. Hotel Room can be very intimidating space to practice. In Asia walls are usually paper-thin, so if you can hear someone talking in the corridor, most definitely they will hear you practicing coloratura in a Donizetti aria. However, practice needs to be done, so despite the loudness I pad a corner with pillows and sing. The perfect time for it is 1-3 pm, when people hopefully don’t sleep and are busy with activities outside of their residence, intervals of 15 minutes singing followed by 10 minutes rest for as long as you need before 3 pm.
2. Nature, places like parks, beaches, lakes, rivers is one of the most inspiring places to practice in my opinion. So whenever you are traveling, a field trip to a lovely empty hill, for example, is not only the perfect place where nobody will hear you, but you can really dive into the energy of the Earth, ground yourself, truly unite your voice with the universe. Maybe do some Alexander Techniques or yoga to enrich your practice? A must-try as a traveling singer!
3. Streets! Alright, this one is not an easy one, it requires to really let go of ANY insecurities you have about people hearing your voice, reacting to it etc. Sometimes I had no other option but to walk down the street and hum, do lip thrills and even sing (not with full voice). This type of practice is really an emergency one, it is very exposing of oneself! It can be a blessing and a curse, e.g. some people love it and compliment you in awe, while others can tell you off for making noise. If it comes to it, I recommend you to walk on the quieter side of the street and avoid late night serenades, not everyone will appreciate your perfect top C’s at 1 am.
4. Get friendly with local businesses, some of them will be able to offer you practice space when they are empty. This is another alternative for you, a very convenient one. Be smart with which business owners you get in touch, for example expats are more willing to give you some practice space. Beware of the language barrier and make sure they are not going to write you up a massive bill afterwards. Some will offer rehearsal space in exchange for a small performance to attract more clients, a fair option if you are up to it. Communicating and establishing such agreements is always better in person, let your radiant personality and beautiful voice charm them.
5. Sing EVERYWHERE! Honestly, everywhere can be an inspiration and an opportunity. Are you alone at the gym? Perfect, sing! Are you alone in the car? Perfect, sing! Are you on the beach? Perfect, sing! Are you in the shower? Perfect, sing! You never know on what adventure your voice will take you 🙂