On Wednesday, September 21 the Lincolnaires (Lincoln Academy’s advanced choir) spent the day with Babbette Lightner, a specialist in exploration of movement and physical freedom, who worked with the students on discovering the human coordinating system that allows creativity and expressiveness in singing and performance. Specific techniques included breathwork, preparation for performance, relaxing while performing, and posture.
Beth Preston, Lincoln Academy choral director, met Lightner through the the Voice Care Network, a consortium of choral conductors, voice teachers, speech pathologists, and movement specialists that work to empower the wholeness of expression through singing and speech. “I met Babette Lightner during my sabbatical year when I attended Voice Care Network (VCN) courses in the summer at St. John’s University in Minnesota,” said Preston. “In the Voice Care Network, we strive to create a learning environment where every singer can thrive. I use the method of teaching voice within the choral setting. I also bring these concepts into my private studio. Babette is a wonderful resource and we were lucky to be able to bring her here to work with our students.”
Preston brought Lightner to her class to deepen students’ ability to create conditions that help singers be at their best during a performance. During the workshop the young singers discussed impediments to their performance that included being nervous, running out of breath, and trying to increase volume without losing quality in their voice.
Student feedback after the workshop was overwhelmingly positive. “We focused on using emotion to really convey the story of what we were singing,” said one senior.
“I was able to realize that I let my own fears of judgement (my own and others) keep me from singing at my best and that this is a common situation,” said another student.
Another commented, “Babette mentioned the chatter your head that could either be interpreted as anxiety or simply your self-consciousness. She explained how you need to break away from listening to those voices. She also talked about expressive and technical ways to perform. I’m really fascinated about the idea of how the body is designed to help you in singing. You need to step back and allow it to do what it wants to do naturally.”
“We are so grateful for community support for choral and musical theater activities at Lincoln Academy,” said Preston. “The generous gifts of donors make this kind of opportunity available. Our students are well prepared to sing at the collegiate and professional level once they leave Lincoln Academy.”