Our team has combined techniques and concepts from multiple physical disciplines to create a library of over 200 unique exercises, stretches, and mobility practices designed specifically for the singing body. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Does your current bodywork reflect the needs of your singing body?
1 2511:46 PM Dec 18, 2018
Each exercise program we create is individualized around your current physical capabilities and limitations. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Personalized programs are designed to be equipment-free and form-focused, strengthening the muscles of posture and respiration using only body-weight exercises. Remember, form follows function.
1 2111:44 PM Dec 18, 2018
Many singers have a fear of creating too much tension within their body, and rightfully so! Singers often begin a workout program that is too advanced or not specific enough - this approach to exercise is what subjects the vocal tract to excessive tension and potential harm. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
If you’re looking to improve physically, you will experience tension. When used correctly, however, it stresses the body to adapt and recover stronger. Are your workouts tension-appropriate?
1 1611:43 PM Dec 18, 2018
Want to improve your posture? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Long-term postural improvement and maintenance is not done simply by consciously standing upright or stretching a perceived tension. It is corrected and improved by understanding the way you move. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The way we move on a day-to-day basis will dictate our posture, as well as the efficiency at which we are able to communicate with our body. As a singer, if you are looking to better your posture how are you improving the way you move? Are you aware of your current movement patterns? Proper bodywork will have tremendous benefits in regards to career and vocal longevity.
1 1412:21 AM Dec 17, 2018
Feeling the sensation of breath can be easy. However, feeling how we are breathing is a different story. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The relationship we have with our breath can change day-to-day, and a balanced posture is one of the keys to a healthy breathing pattern. Now, the way we approach and achieve a sense of balance is highly individualized. Some people inherit a better sense of postural balance through mobility routines while others benefit more from targeted strength training—and some mixture of both! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Check in with your breath on a daily basis. Does your inhalation evoke greater resistance than your exhale, or visa versa? Do you know how to appropriately correct unnecessary tension without overbalancing other areas of the body? The breath and the body are deeply intertwined. Your ability to achieve a balanced posture is inherently influenced by the way you breathe.
1 912:19 AM Dec 17, 2018
Our level of body awareness is most often correlated with posture. However, approaching posture through the lens of visual ideality is not body awareness. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Proper awareness is established when we spend time nurturing our relationship with our body, in the same way we spend countless hours in the practice room nurturing the relationship we have with our voices. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
What physical techniques does your body respond to best when it comes to awakening awareness?
1 812:12 AM Dec 17, 2018
Since co-founding Colwell & Reimer, Jay Colwell has been bridging the gap between the worlds of exercise and vocal music. With firsthand knowledge of the expectations of singing artistry, as well as multiple fitness certifications he has positioned himself as a go-to bodywork specialist for the classical singing industry. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Since beginning his practice, Jay has had the opportunity to work with world-class singers who have sung with companies including The Houston Grand Opera, The Chicago Lyric Opera, Seraphic Fire, Wiener Staatsoper, Conspirare, and Minnesota Opera, to name a few. Working alongside the belief that the entire body is a singer's instrument, his expertise has guided singers to improvements in their body's functionality, resulting in improvements in not only vocal production, but also the quality of their lives and careers. In his personal practice, Jay continues to race competitively in many full and half marathons and has earned multiple awards and placed competitively in many races; including 2nd place in his respective age group for his most recent full marathon. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Jay currently resides in Laguna Beach, California, where he maintains his private health coaching company. He spends his free time eating snacks, cultivating his love of running, and hanging out at the beach with his dog Lyla.
2 4012:06 AM Dec 12, 2018
1 1112:05 AM Dec 12, 2018
Co-founder of Colwell & Reimer, Kendall Reimer is happy to be merging and sharing two of her favorite loves – music and fitness. As a voice teacher, avid performer, and recent full marathon finisher, she has noticed the extreme importance of bodywork within the world of music. Seeing the massive results first hand in her own physical and vocal training, she hopes to share this knowledge with the rest of the vocal music world. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Kendall has portrayed roles such as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cunegonde in Candide, Gherardino in Gianni Schicchi, Page in Rigoletto, and a large list of operatic scenes. She has been featured as a guest soloist with the Lincoln Symphony, Rice Campanile Orchestra, Abendmusik Chorus, among many other ensembles. Kendall has been an Upper Midwest Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and recipient of an Encouragement Award from the Nebraska State level as well. She has been awarded various musical scholarships and was named “Singer of the Year” twice at the National Association of Teachers of Singing Regional competition. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Kendall currently resides in Houston, Texas where she is a member of the Houston Grand Opera chorus and teacher of private voice. When she’s not singing or training, Kendall can be found painting her nails and keeping up with her new Goldendoodle puppy, Brody.
1 2512:04 AM Dec 12, 2018
BODY-BASED BREATH TRAINING ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Is it possible for a singer to train the actual strength of their breath? In a roundabout way, yes. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Through inverted postures (when the head is below the midline) a singer can use gravity as resistance to challenge the core and diaphragm both proprioceptively and strength-wise. When you are in an inverted posture, the deeper you breathe and the more actively you control the exhalation, the more benefit you’ll find in your breath. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
How do you practice breath? Scroll left to see one of our exercises for this kind of training. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
1) Start by coming to a downward dog posture. ⠀
2)From here, lower down onto your forearms, keeping the neck relaxed and shoulder blades down and back.
3) Maintaining an open rib cage, breathe deeply. When exhaling, actively control this process by pulling the navel (belly button) toward the spine. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
4) Once pulled against the spine, hold for 3-5 seconds before releasing and relaxing to allow breath to flow back in. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Note: Be sure to keep that rib cage open throughout the entire exercise.
2 87:31 PM Dec 6, 2018
HIPS AND BREATH
The psoas muscle is perhaps the most overlooked muscle when diagnosing a singer’s breath functionality. It is the one muscle that crosses three zones of the body; lumbar, pelvic, and hip. Not only that, it shares fasciae attachments with the diaphragm, and if it attaches, it patterns. How well these two work together, and independently, will determine how well a singer can control their breath and support. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Generally, the psoas is weak in most people and often needs strengthening and not stretching. Because of its important role in stabilization, a singer will be unstable if it is weak. If a singer is unstable it will be noticeable through shallow breathing. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
All in all, when the psoas is strong, breathing while singing will naturally require less effort. Likewise, if you feel you have tight glutes it is likely the psoas could use a little love.
1 67:18 PM Dec 6, 2018
TRANSVERSE ABDOMINIS & BREATH ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Breath support and control can be enhanced through conditioning the transverse abdominis. The TVA is located deep within the abdomen and wraps around this region like a corset. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
By learning to control the TVA while simultaneously experiencing freedom in the mid torso and ribcage, a singer will inherit the proper feeling of support and be able to easily maintain that support, all while gaining more of an understanding of their vocal capabilities. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Are you working on or currently struggling with your onsets? Is it difficult for you to maintain the posture of inhalation? Spend some time warming up this region before you sing! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Lie on your back with you feet on the ground. From here, actively pull the navel (belly button) toward your spine while maintaining a free-flowing breath pattern. Hold the end position for a brief second before relaxing the abdomen back to a neutral starting position.
1 57:11 PM Dec 6, 2018
SPINAL STABILITY ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
When it comes to spinal stability, core strength is essential, and the core is not limited to only the abdominal area. It has roots throughout the body. For a singer, training the multifidus should be of primary focus when it comes to understanding active postural stability. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
When a singer takes a breath and relaxes the abdomen, if the multifidi are weak, the breath will be affected. But not only does the multifidus affect the breath, it also aids in stabilizing all movement of the spine including flexion, rotation, and resisting extension. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Do you incorporate spinal stability exercises in your training? Scroll left to try our rotational stability exercise for the multifidus. You can up the difficulty by placing the feet farther away from one another.
1 46:30 PM Dec 6, 2018
POSTURE FROM THE GROUND UP ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Singers constantly hear and remind themselves to “stand up straight,” “keep your head back,” “ribcage open,” “don’t collapse,” “resist gravity!” - these kinds of reminders are constant while practicing and performing. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
However, when executing the singing posture, it is always best to approach from the ground up, with the joints stacking appropriately. This process requires more awareness than just a connection with the ground. For this reason, it is always best to begin by observing the feet. If a singer’s arches are collapsed you can expect other areas of the kinetic chain, all the way up to the neck to be affected, too. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Take a minute to come to a standing posture. From here, rock to the outsides and insides of your feet (pronate and supinate). Observe what is happening in the knees. As you pronate, the inside (medial) of the knee collapses and which has a direct effect on the hip, placing the pelvis in an anterior tilt. If your hip is responding to this lack of foot strength, you can expect the diaphragm and it’s many attachments to the lumbo-pelvic region to be affected, too. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
What do you do to train the relationship between your hips and feet? Scroll left for an entry-level stretch that evokes the proper mind-body connection upon which you can train your hips and feet healthily. Actively grip the ground with your foot throughout each repetition.
1 46:19 PM Dec 6, 2018
STABILITY THROUGH MOBILITY ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Fundamentally speaking, postural stability is achieved through the functionality and health of a singer’s joints and their respective ranges of motion. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
For example, if a singer is lacking overhead shoulder mobility it will have a negative effect on the vitality of their appoggio. Likewise, if the lumbar spine is restricted, it will have an adverse effect on breath control and support. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
When looking for stability in a singer’s body, start with mobility. This is best approached through a three-step process: step 1: control; can the singer isolate movement to a given joint without compensation? step 2: flexibility; is the singer able to achieve a given joint’s full range of motion? Step 3: If yes to both, then does the singer have strength at these end ranges of motion? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
What exercises are in your mobility routine? If you are looking to add to your practice, give a segmented cat-cow a try. (Note: video sped up 3x its normal speed.)
1 46:12 PM Dec 6, 2018
“The pains you are feeling are messengers, listen to them.” - Rumi ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Achy lower back, knee problems, neck tension? Many singers understand these general aches and pains to be a result of the aging process or leftover from previous injuries. Though there can be some truth in that, let’s not rule out that fact that the way you sing can have a tremendous effect on your body. Think about the last time your voice was working right or warming up easily. What did you do to cause this ease? Chances are you found a resolution through a body-based approach, whether that was breathing deeper or stretching what felt like a tense muscle. The problem, however, is that if we are not specific in our correction, we may instead reinforce an existing problem and overbalance our approach to phonation. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
For example, a singer with a tight abdomen is more likely to perceive excessive tension in their rib cage while singing. This is due to the body’s need to remain balanced in reaction to gravity, then causing overbalanced intercostals, and an overbalanced ribcage will place tension in the larynx. To resolve this, the singer might stretch their side body and open/relax the rib cage due to the tension being felt there, however, that is not where the tension is originating. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The process of singing requires focus and coordination of finite muscles. If a singer is lacking body awareness, the potential for compensation increases, and so does the potential for those aches and pains. What tools do you have in your toolbox to check for compensation? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Scroll left to see an exercise to check for lower body compensation. Can you keep you leg extended as lift it to a 90-degree angle while keeping your lower back pressed into the ground?
1 35:47 PM Dec 6, 2018
THE BODY AS ONE MUSCLE ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
For those who are physically unfit, feeling the relationship between their muscles can be difficult. This is especially true for singers, who must simultaneously engage the deep postural muscles and those of respiration. Many of these muscles also overlap in functionality, which only increases the demands of coordination. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Let’s take for example the abdominals and the diaphragm, neither of which alone are lacking in power or strength. When you stand upright with good posture you will naturally engage your abdominals. How and where then will you place this necessary postural tension when you must also relax the abdominals in order to take a sufficient and unrestricted diaphragmatic breath? Both muscles are responsible for achieving proper vocal production, and the requirements of each vary based on the lens through which you are viewing their function. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
How do you train your body to function as one muscle? Will addressing posture aid in breath support? Or will fixing breath discrepancies correct postural deviations? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It is imperative that you have an exercise program that meets the needs of your body. Knowing how to understand, feel, and direct tension appropriately is a skill of vital importance to a singer. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Scroll left for an exercise that trains the body as a whole unit.
1 35:38 PM Dec 6, 2018
THE CORE ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
If we do not understand what we are doing, we will have no true control over our actions. So, where in the body must a singer focus in order to inherit an appropriate mind-body relationship? The core. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Control begins in the core. Let's first make a clear distinction between the muscles of the abdomen and the core. "Abs" are what you see and the "core" is what you feel. Abdominal muscles serve as the muscles of spinal flexion, and exercising them means a lot of flexing, bending, and twisting of the spine. When these kinds of exercises are done in excess or thought of as “core work”, they can be detrimental to actual core function. Instead, all of these flexing and bending exercises train your outermost abdominals to function as the main stabilizers, as opposed to the flexors and benders they were intended to be. Having tight abdominals as a singer has a profoundly adverse effect on breath control and posture, cause an inability to disassociate the diaphragm from the abdominal wall, and will inevitably lead to postural dysfunctions. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Is your core work mainly flexing and bending or does it challenge stability? If you want to understand your body, it is imperative you train the foundation upon which it moves and functions. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Scroll left to see an exercise designed for proper core function.