Breathe in for nothing : an interpretative phenomenological analysis exploring the influence of a Pilates warm-up in singers

Sutton, Marcelle (2020-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Research on the use of Pilates for classical singers is limited, despite the well-documented benefits of this somatic (mind-body) exercise modality on the general public. Singers have specific needs, as the process of preparing for, and carrying out a performance can be extremely stressful and physically demanding and can therefore adversely affect physical and mental fortitude. However, these needs could be addressed by a Pilates warm-up designed for singers. This study sought to ascertain the influence of a Pilates warm-up on four university singing students and one professional singer using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). A specially designed Pilates warm-up for singers was taught to the participants over six weeks, with three workshops of five days each, interspersed with home practice. The effects thereof (mental, physical and vocal) were documented, before-and-after questionnaires (GAD-7, the Beck’s Depression Inventory and the RAND 36-Item short form quality of life survey instrument) were completed, heart rate measurements taken (to determine if the warm-up initiated a parasympathetic nervous system response) and three semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant. A focus group was then held with the participants to discuss the effects of the regime. The lived experience of the participants’ use of the Pilates warm-up was analysed and together with the collected data, was grouped into sub-themes named: Singing; Well-being; Preparation for Singing/Preparing the Body to Sing; Tools; Resilience; Mindfulness; Mind-Body Communication; Nervous System; Strengthening the Body; Relaxation through Movement and Pilates Breathing. In the cyclical interpretative process of an IPA study, these sub-themes were then grouped together to form the main themes of the study, namely: Tools; Nervous System and Singing. The results showed an overall improvement in quality of life as well as an increase in mindfulness and relaxation which benefitted all of the singers vocally in some way. Heart rate measurements, as well as anxiety and depression scores showed a general positive trend, although these results were inconclusive and require further study. The Pilates warm-up provided the singers in the study with specific tools with which to address their various issues which had an impact on their singing. Performance preparation and posture were found to be enhanced, muscle tension was reduced, vocal range increased and there were improvements in stamina and breathing. This study therefore highlights the potential benefits of the use of a Pilates warm-up for classical singers and the areas of research that should be undertaken to further delineate these benefits.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Navorsing oor die gebruik van Pilates vir klassieke sangers is beperk, ten spyte van die goed gedokumenteerde voordele van hierdie somatiese (verstand- iggaam) oefeningsmodaliteit vir die algemene publiek. Sangers het spesifieke behoeftes, aangesien die proses van voorbereiding vir ’n optrede, asook die optrede self baie spanningsvol en fisiek uitdagend kan wees. Dit kan fisieke en geestelike uithouvermoë benadeel. Hierdie behoeftes kan aangespreek word deur ’n Pilatesopwarming wat spesifiek ontwerp is met sangers in gedagte. Hierdie navorsing poog om die geestelike, fisieke en vokale voordele van ‘n Pilates-opwarming te dokumenteer. Vier universiteitsangstudente en een professionele sanger is bestudeer deur middel van interpretatiewe fenomenologiese analise. Tydens drie vyfdag-werkswinkels het die deelnemers ’n spesiaal ontwerpte Pilates-opwarming vir sangers aangeleer. Die uitwerking daarvan is gedokumenteer; voor-en-na-vraelyste is voltooi (GAD-7, Beck se depressie-inventaris en die RAND 36-item-kortvorm-opname-instrument); harttempo is gemeet (om te bepaal of die opwarming ’n parasimpatiese senuweerespons geïnisieer het) en drie semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude is gevoer met elke deelnemer. Daarna is ’n fokusgroepbespreking gehou met die deelnemers om die effek van die regime te bespreek. Die deelnemers se geleefde ervaring van die gebruik van die Pilates-opwarming is geanaliseer en saam met die versamelde data in die volgende subtemas gegroepeer: Sang; Welstand; Voorbereiding vir Sang/Voorbereiding van die Liggaam vir Sang; Gereedskap; Herstelvermoë; Bewustheid; Kommunikasie tussen Verstand en Liggaam; Senustelsel; Versterking van die Liggaam; Ontspanning deur Beweging en Pilates-asemhaling. Deur die sikliese interpretasieproses van ’n interpretatiewe fenomenologies analisie-studie, is hierdie sub-temas saamgegroepeer om die hooftemas van die studie te vorm, naamlik: Gereedskap, Senustelsel en Sang. Die resultaat het algehele verbetering in lewenskwaliteit gewys, asook ’n toename in bewustheid en ontspanning. Al die sangers het vokaal daarby gebaat op die een of ander manier. Harttempo-metings, sowel as angstigheid-en depressietellings het geneig na ’n positiewe verandering, alhoewel die uitslae nie afdoende was nie en verdere studie nodig is. Pilates-opwarming het die sangers in die studie spesifieke gereedskap gegee om verskillende sake aan te spreek wat ’n impak op hulle sang gehad het. Daar is bevind dat voorbereiding vir optrede en postuur verbeter het, en daar was ’n vermindering in spierspanning, ’n toename in vokale reikwydte en ’n verbetering in stamina en asemhaling. Hierdie studie werp lig op die potensiële voordele van ’n Pilates-opwarming vir klassieke sangers, en ook op die navorsingsareas wat bestudeer behoort te word ten einde die voordele verder uit te wys.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107964
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