The Self-Care For Singers Panel Discussion

 

Harmony Helper was helping with more than harmony when it sponsored and hosted a panel at BroadwayCon in New York City on Saturday, January 25, 2020. The panel, titled “Self-Care for Singers” and moderated by Harmony Helper Founder and CEO Andrew Goren, featured Broadway stars, Alex Brightman (Beetlejuice, School of Rock) and Nikki M. James (The Book of Mormon, Les Misérables), noted New York laryngologist (ENT) Dr. Gwen Korovin, and singing teachers/performers Amanda Flynn and Robert Edwin.

Andrew and the Harmony Helper team wanted BroadwayCon participants to know that a lot more goes into being a singer than just getting the notes right. The panel members reflected Andrew’s concern by sharing stories, tips, and experiences about their careers that included some lows as well as some highs. Both Alex and Nikki told the large audience that they had, in the past, seriously damaged their voices. It was when they assembled a team – doctors, teachers, coaches, therapists, nutritionists – that they learned effective self-care.

This holistic approach to singing and the need to build a support team was echoed throughout the hour-long panel discussion. Dr. Korovin said she sees herself as the quarterback of the team since only she can actually observe and analyze the singing instrument. Amanda, because she is both a performer and a teacher, feels like she is “in the trenches” with her clients and tries to find what techniques and strategies work well for each individual singer. Robert emphasized the difference between innate talent and learned skills. He said good self-care means being self-aware. Find out who you are and what you are capable of doing.

Beetlejuice star Alex Brightman talks about how to take care of your voice on tour in a discussion led by Harmony Helper CEO Andrew Goren.

 

Alex took the audience on a fascinating and amusing tour of his Beetlejuice voice: how he produced it and the team that helped him put it all together to handle the grueling eight-shows-a-week Broadway schedule. Gwen told of her ongoing battles with theater producers who don’t like to hear that their performers need care and rest. Robert stressed the need for singers to think like dancers who always warm up and cool down. All three voice care professionals on the panel agreed that they need to be the champions for their performers’ health and safety.

Final thoughts from the panel left the audience with some really sage advice: (Nikki) Learn the power of “no!”; (Amanda) Mindfulness: spend your vocal dollars wisely!; (Robert) Singing is scientifically proven to be good for your mind and body!; (Alex) Quiet breaths are more efficient than noisy breaths!; (Gwen) Take the time to rest!

For the whole story, you can watch this amazing and entertaining panel discussion on YouTube below.