Caroling Christmas singers can bring great joy not only to those for whom they perform, but to themselves as well. You don’t have to be a trained singer to sing at this time of year. There’s something about the holiday season that makes even the most timid singer want to join in.
As well as an opportunity to make beautiful music with your friends it should be fun, And isn’t that whole point of caroling? Holiday songs give us an opportunity to share our feelings of joy.
Caroling (wassailing) dates back to the early middle ages. Peasants went from manor to manor where the landed gentry fed them in exchange for their blessings. During the thirteenth century Saint Francis of Assisi introduced caroling Christmas songs into church services in Italy. English caroling began in 1426 with groups of wassailers going from house to house singing songs of celebration and Christmas.
If you are going to be caroling Christmas songs this year, these five basic tips should give your singing voice a little boost. I can’t guarantee you’ll get a recording contract if you use them, but they should help make singing carols just a little less intimidating and a lot more fun!
1. Breathe by relaxing your throat and lower diaphragm muscles. Picture air falling from your throat to below your waist. Don’t fill up with air. Too much air in the chest area creates pressure around the throat.
2. To hit the high notes, tuck your tail bone under your body and stand by pressing the balls of your feet into the ground. Loosen your knees slightly and tuck your hips under as if you were going to lift a heavy chair.
3. Try to feel the singing vibrate at the top of your head rather than in your throat. Your jaw should always be loose, not stiff and not stretched open.
4. Listen closely to the other voices. It doesn't matter whether you are singing harmony parts or in unison on the melody line, if you can actually hear yourself you are probably singing too loud. Put your efforts into blending with your group instead of blasting them!
5. And remember when you’re singing any song, especially a Christmas carol, it’s terribly important to think about what the words really mean. It’s amazing how simply thinking about the words and their meaning can improve the tone. That’s probably the most helpful tip of all.
One word of caution: if your caroling Christmas songs take you outdoors it is important that you protect your throat. Layer your clothing and be sure to bring a scarf to keep your throat warm. For soothing tired throats, take a thermos of something hot to drink. But don’t overdo it with the spiked eggnog; alcohol can be drying to the entire system as well as the throat.
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