Here is one of my biggest vocal training secrets for singing success that I have been using to keep my singers in shape for over three years! It’s the hula hoop, and recently 64 year old Grace Jones displayed exactly what I’m talking about live in concert.
Using the hula hoop, you can burn up to 100 calories in only 8 minutes, and on top of that, you’re gaining other very important benefits as a singer. In 2008, after using this on myself to heal an 8″ scar along my CORE and re-build my diaphragmatic muscles, I realized this valuable tool that costs as little as $7.00 could help singers tremendously – not just physically, but in two more very important levels.
1. THE MIND
The hula hoop teaches you how to get out of your head and stop trying to micro-manage yourself. It helps you trust your body and let your muscle memory kick in. This is important as a singer because you don’t want to be concentrating on what note to hit, but instead, to align with your Musical Intelligence. Using the hula hoop gets you more focused and present, a key quality that pro's need to deliver their peak performance.
2. THE SOUL
Doing the hula hoop gets you to connect to where you sing from. It’s the Solar Plexus area, or what I call CORE. As you feel the hula hoop stimulate this area and the 2nd Chakra, you literally put attention into your creative center and your power center, or the place that holds your self esteem. These areas are important to have in check as a singer, and the good news is, learning to hula hoop can actually help you feel better about yourself and awaken creativity.
The hula hoop teaches you how to treat yourself as a singer. You are developing the same “soul muscles” you use for singing when you use the hula hoop. For example, if you get upset for dropping it, you know you’re being too hard on yourself. Similarly, if you hit the wrong note, you stay in the game and Honor the Process. You learn how to get out of your own way and surrender to the flow of the song and “align” with the rhythm, melody and flow of the song. At times, this can take practice, patience and persistence. These three soul qualities are developed while hula hooping. Lastly, it is said that hula hooping can lift the spirit.
3. THE BODY
– gets you in your body, and out of your head. (More present=stage presence.)
– tones the body
– builds coordination
– builds stamina
– improved joint health
– burns calories
– improves flexibility of your spine
– builds aerobic ability
I’ve had singers who were too “in their head” when they sing, felt uncomfortable in their body, or just want to get in better shape or prep for a concert do the hula hoop, and they've had amazing results. Right away, it brings up their issues, if they have any. If they take themselves too seriously, they’ll find out pretty fast, and have an opportunity to work through it. Before you know it, they’re smiling, laughing and enjoying their instrument while they hula hoop! All of a sudden, singing gets a whole lot easier. I have different tricks I do with the hoop to work out the voice as well, but that’s something you need to come into the studio for and discover yourself! In the meantime, get a hula hoop and just have fun!
Do vocal exercises and sing your song and hula hoop at the same time. Then sing your song without the hula hoop and watch how much more natural you feel as a singer.
Smaller, lightweight hoops are best to use for aerobic exercise, since they require more energy to keep the hoop rotating.