Bobby McFerrin’s Daily Singing Exercise

Friday, June 17, 2011 - 6:23am

Bobby McFerrin’s Daily Singing Exercise

The musician Bobby McFerrin describes the art and act of improvisation as "simply motion, just the courage to keep moving." In the audio above (from this week's show "Catching Song"), he offers a three-week challenge for building improvisational muscles and describes how it works. Here are the steps:

  1. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  2. Open up your mouth and sing.
  3. Don't stop for 10 minutes.
  4. Do this every day for three weeks.

Sounds pretty simple, right? McFerrin, however, warns that every inch, atom, and molecule of your being will want to bail. Self-judgment will creep in. But don't falter. Keep going. McFerrin holds open the tantalizing promise that, in a few short weeks, you'll see a change.
So, who's up for the challenge?

Once you've tried McFerrin's improvisational workout, we'd love to hear what it was like. What surprised you? Delighted you? Share your reflections here in the comments section.

Are you in?


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Nancy Rosenbaum

is a writer, and a self-described storyteller and connector. She has worked as a producer for media projects including On Being and the PBS documentary Vote for Me: Politics in America. Her projects include "The Meantime Place," where she explores transitions in work and life, and "Story Portraits," a collection of photographs and stories of real people. Find more of her work on her blog.

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