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  • Writer's pictureVal Bastien


It's BEACH TIME! I don't know about you but as much as I love going on vacation and spending a few days at the cottage, I also feel a little guilty about the time I spend doing nothing more than enjoying the sunshine and getting a breath of fresh air! Not to say that doing nothing isn't important... To the contrary... I mean, we all need a chance to destress, rejuvenate and reset. And if you lead a busy life, that probably feels like a luxury! But you deserve it!

According to the Harvard Business Review and the U.S. Travel Association and Project: Time Off, you will be more productive after a period of rest. Believe it or not, you are even more likely to receive a raise after taking your vacation! These opportunities are essential for your body and mental health. After all, isn't nature the best remedy against dry spells and writing blocks? When your heart is full, holding space for yourself is a way to make room for a renewed sense of identify, peace and contentment. What better way than replacing the rumble of the city by the soothing sound of the ocean or the stillness of a calm lake?

As for me, serenity called so I took myself to a lovely cabin by Lac Gouvreau in Quebec. The trees, birds, the impeccably blue sky and especially the placid water are magnificent! I even made friends with a couple of turtles and tons of dragonflies (mosquitoes also wanted a piece of the action - me. But that's another story...). We have a nice dock which has become my office for the week! The weather has been incredible and I've taken advantage of every opportunity to dip in the lake and revel in the hot shining sun. Ah... THAT is the LIFE, I tell you! But...

Since, dare I say it, I'm a little bit of an energizer bunny and I LOVE what I do so much, I can't help but join "useful" to "pleasant" - joindre l'utile à l'agréable - by finding ways to keep my singing going while dosing up on my vitamin D and enjoying the pleasures of rejoicing in the summer sun.

Frankly, I'm doing great with stopping the body; that's easy! But stopping the mind? That's something else!! I'd like to sing but I can't really do it out here because noise is so echoey! I can literally hear other cottage goers' conversations from across the lake. There is an expectation to respect everyone's quietude. We don't have any sound system inside and I haven't heard my neighbors play any music either. So singing is practically out of the question.

Should I stop singing completely during my vacation? Do you? And if you do, do you worry that the growth you gained before you stopped will go to waste? Will your vocal muscle memory remain if you take a break from singing? What if you're out of shape once you come back? Is starting from scratch again an option? How can you relax with thoughts of your hard work gone with the wind?

Don't worry because I have a solution for you: SINGTANNING of course! Instead of feeling disappointed or fighting the guilt, put your mind to work so that you can still feel productive. Remember, your brain is your most POWERFUL organ. In his book Brain Wars, Mario Beauregard explains that “thinking” is almost as powerful as “doing.” Keep your vocal thought circuits active and your skills will continue to evolve.

Here is how to practice your singing without disturbing the peace, while working on your tan:

1) Read a book: but not any book! A book on music or better yet, on singing. A book on fuelling your creativity or finding your life purpose would be just as inspiring too.

2) Listen to a new song you are learning on repeat: put on your headphones and play the song multiple times. Analyze each line to capture the details in the singer's interpretation. When is he/she breathing? How is he/she using texture? Dynamics? Falsetto versus full tone? Etc...

3) Memorize lyrics: lying down is the perfect opportunity to review lyrics. Close your eyes and say the lyrics to yourself to see if you know them by heart. Keep a copy nearby to double check any missing parts and study the words carefully.

4) Visualize your performance: still with your eyes closed, imagine yourself singing. Hear your voice in your mind. Quietly rehearse specific challenging parts or an entire performance!

5) Dream! Where do you see yourself vocally in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? The sky is the limit! Get inspired by your sweet fantasies and brainstorm ideas of what you will do to get there.

Now, just like you shouldn't indulge in the sun for too long without sunscreen, I urge you to defend your precious vocal cords with adequate protection: knowledge! Once you are back from your time away from home, make sure that you do EXACTLY what you need to do to meet your vocal goals. If you have never taken vocal lessons before... If you need a refresher training... If you need help to take you over your current limitations... I am here for you! I have a couple of openings left on my calendar and I'd be happy to get your started. Singing could be your next summer fling!

Take the plunge,



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