Sing Safe, Lifelong!


It was wonderful to hear yesterday that a new Vera Lynn CD is being released , on the day she turns 97! It made a great headline, but I later discovered the new disc comprises tracks recorded years ago, including some dating from the 1950s which have never yet been released. There is no news of Dame Vera having recently been in the recording studio. 

Singers in the pop field often move their songs to lower keys as the years go by. Joni Mitchell, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Billy Joel are examples.

Many singers have continued their performing careers well beyond standard pensionable age. Operatic tenors Giacomo Lauri-Volpi, who continued singing into his 80s and  Angelo Loforese into his 90s. Tenor Hugues Cuénod made his debut at the Metropolitan at 85 years of age! Baritone Lucien Fugère was still on the operatic stage at 85, after his debut 63 years before. Fugère is quoted as saying, "If a man doesn't sing well by the time he is 83, when will he, I'd like to know!"  Bass Mark Reizen performed Prince Gremin's aria (Eugene Onegin) at the Bolshoi  Theatre, Moscow in 1985 at the age of 90. Remarkable sisters Lata Mangeshkar (above)  and Asha Bhosle who have each held the Guinness record for having recorded the most songs, numbering into thousands, mainly for Indian films) are both still active in their 80s, the beauty of their voices undimmed by age. 

Developing longevity in the singing voice is of great importance. We are all ageing: experience tells me we can all keep singing. Barring unusual injury or disease, the singing voice reflects the general state of our health. My choir (the Ghyll Singers) has active members ageing from 20s to 90s, all enjoying their singing and giving pleasure to our audiences. Research and common sense encourages us to sing safely to avoid injury / abuse of the vocal system. 

Easy tips to Sing Safe: 

Keep your system hydrated (nervous little sips just before singing are no good!)

Warm up before a big sing

Breathe deep

Don't strain - stay in control

Sing clearly and openly, so you can express different emotions.

"Never sing louder than lovely" (to quote Isobel Baillie)

April 2020