I had my first proper session with the speech therapist (Vanessa Jerome, in Dunedin) yesterday. She identified from my initial assessment that my speaking voice is not as it should be and feels that if we can work on that, it will flow through to my singing voice. So back to absolute basics - learning to breathe properly.
It's amazing how an hour of breathing exercises just flew by. Envisaging myself rhythmically inflating and deflating a balloon with no tension. Then we added an sssssss on the exhalation. Another discovery - I tense my neck muscles on ssssss. I found that by putting my hand gently on my throat I could feel what I was doing and adjust accordingly. Hmmm yes, but it wouldn't be a good look in a recital! Best I learn to do it without the physical prompt.
Then using zzzzzzzz. When I got it all together it was amazing feeling of power with no effort. So now I need to practice all this and be aware of what I am doing so that eventually it becomes automatic.
Tomorrow I have two lots of singing - firstly normal Basilica choir which will include 'How Beautiful are the Feet' from Messiah and then in the afternoon A Capella Singers has been invited to sing at the St John's Church 150th celebrations. So a couple of opportunities to try and put the above into practice. Wish me luck!