These Presence Warmups prepare the body, breath and mind for expressive and creative music-making. They are most effective when used at the start of a rehearsal and can easily be incorporated into choral warm-ups, lessons, or your individual daily practice. They support body awareness and increase presence by connecting body, breath, sound and space.
The exercises are inspired by and have been adapted from Body Mapping, Alexander Technique, Qi Gong, Continuum Movement, and sound healing.
For more information, contact Dina Cindric at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. CONSTRUCTIVE REST GUIDED MEDITATION (3 mins.)
Constructive Rest is an effective tool used by Alexander Technique and Body Mapping practitioners to – among other things – release tension from the body and develop awareness.
It is normally done lying on your back and can take 10–15 minutes. I have adapted it here, combining elements of Alexander Technique and Body Mapping, into a shorter 3‑minute guided meditation that can be done in a seated position (or adaptable for standing), making it suitable for the classroom, community centre, or rehearsal studio.
I begin all of my choir rehearsals and piano and voice lessons with a variation of this guided meditation and have witnessed the positive effects it has on my students in mind, body, and expression. Use the audio guide below to get you started!
2. DRAWING DOWN THE HEAVENS (2–5+ mins. )
This exercise comes from the practice of Qi Gong which is an ancient Chinese exercise technique that involves coordinating movement, breath, and mind to promote the free flow of energy around the body.
It is a perfect opening warmup as it quiets the mind, increases energy and focus, aligns the body, and connects body and breath.
- Stand comfortably with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees soft, arms at your sides.
- Feel your feet balanced and firmly planted on the earth. Allow your spine to lengthen. Take a moment here.
- Inhale and float the hands out to the sides, shoulders relaxed. Imagine you are drawing energy from the earth into your body.
- Rotate the wrists, hands facing up to the sky. Bend the elbows.
- On the exhale, the palms wash down in front of the body. Imagine you are letting go of any tension, worries or stress.
Repeat the exercise 3, 6, 9, or 12 times.
3. WATER PLAY (15+ mins.)
”Water Play” is inspired by Continuum Movement. Continuum Movement is a practice that uses movement, breath, the resonance of sound and meaning. From Emilie Conrad, founder of Continuum Movement: “We are basically fluid beings that have arrived on land… All living processes owe their lineage to the movement of water.”
This exercise explores movement as imagined in, through and as water. It is possible to do the exercise in a shorter period of time, but it is most effective when allowed as much time as needed. Give yourself 20 minutes or more the first time you do it. The next time you do it, your body will recall what you did and you will find you’ll be able to dive into the work more quickly and deeply.
Your movements can be as big or as small as you like: from raising an arm or leg and exploring the entire space around you, to simply a sigh of the head or a release of a hand. Play. Explore. Enjoy the process and marvel at the beauty of the fluid being that you are!
See scores for instructions. Read all of the instructions before you begin. The exercise can be done seated or lying down.
4. BODY HUM (10+ mins.)
The “Body Hum” is inspired by both Continuum Movement and other sound healing practices. It uses sound – a gentle hum – to send vibrations through to areas of the body to retune it.
The vibrations will be more deeply felt if the exercise is done following “Water Play” but it can also be done on its own.
See scores for instructions. Read all of the instructions before you begin. The exercise can be done standing, seated or lying down.Read More +