Breathe: body, mind and voice is the brainchild of Sarah Collyer. Here’s a bit about Sarah:
I started having singing lessons at the age of 12, after enjoying singing at home, making up songs and singing in the school choir. I was a super anxious little singer though in those singing lessons, and sang about as loudly as a small mouse. I still have a tape recording (yes a cassette tape!) of some of my first lessons. Eventually I began to let more sound escape, and my singing teacher decided to continue teaching me (thank you Mr Simpson!). I learnt with him until I was 16. He used to give me cups of herbal tea to help me relax. I was still super anxious.
Eventually I went on to study a Bachelor of music, majoring in Jazz voice and then many years later I followed this up with a Masters of Music Studies at Griffith University in Brisbane. I studied vocal pedagogy and majored in contemporary vocal performance.
I taught singing one on one for ten years whilst writing music, recording an EP This Way and an album Yesterday’s Blues; gigging around Queensland and touring Japan and London. I was still super anxious, though my voice was now strong and reliable.
In 2014 I spent most of the year horizontal after getting glandular fever. For the first time in my life I had to cancel gigs. I couldn’t even walk down to my local shop without needing to stop, sit down and recuperate. I had no energy. As I slowly recovered I found a yoga studio that offered an easy yoga class and I started attending that regularly. My nervous system, which had been through so much with Glandular fever, but possibly had always been a bit over-stressed, started to calm down. I enjoyed the yoga class so much, I wanted to learn more. I enrolled in a 200 hour yoga teacher training, which I completed over six months.
During this time I was studying at QUT doing another Masters in Music (you know, just for fun), and I decided to apply to articulate into PhD and use this PhD to design a yoga program for singers. In September 2016, I recruited a group of willing yoga for singers’ participants and started weekly yoga for singers’ classes at a yoga studio in Brisbane CBD. Over the course of 20 weeks I planned yoga classes, researched, designed and trialled new exercises for singers. I delivered the classes, collected feedback from the participants and researched some more!
After receiving a positive response from the participants, I decided at the end of the research classes that I would continue to run the yoga for singer’s classes, opening the classes up for all singers. I created Breathe: body, mind & voice, which is growing slowly and organically, just the way I like it. My dream is to run holistic retreats for singers/songwriters/musicians – where we can do a little yoga, make some music, work on our craft, relax and also learn about nutrition, physical and psychological health, with guest speakers. So…stay tuned, there are exciting things to come! J
Oh, I am now less anxious than ever, but still, it comes and goes. Learning to consciously slow down my breath (and racing mind) has been the key for me!