Three Things Every Empowered Performer Must Do
Many singers fall into the trap of being concerned with how perfect their voice sounds. They wonder if they have enough vibrato, if they’re breathing properly, and if they can make people feel something when they sing. While these things may be important, if you’re worrying about them when you perform, then you haven’t done your homework correctly, and there’s a slim chance you will reach your performance goals.
I tell my students often, “It’s not always about what you do, but how you do it.” For example, if every time you practice your song, you push your voice through the mix because you don’t want to sound weak and you hate the idea of it cracking, you had better believe that that insecurity will come up while you sing your song in front of others – and it might be amplified if you don’t apply the three following steps to your practice regimen. Most people would say in order to solve the problem, you should practice the hard part of the song with a concentrated awareness and a physical technique to control the problem – and that is why many singers and instructors fail. This solution is not completely accurate because it ignores two other components that highly influence the physical issue at hand.
If you practice the exercise with the same kind of negative attitude and fear of looking weak, there is a pretty good chance you will do it wrong. If you get it right, the vocal coordination might last for the drill, but when you get to the song, it will go back to sounding strained. This is where most people feel defeated. The results are often a frustrated singer who may sound decent on drills, but doesn’t sound so good when they sing a song. Can you relate to this? If so, then read carefully. This article may change your performance forever! However, if you do not take steps to warm up your voice before you sing. STOP. Singing a song is NOT a warm-up exercise. Doing lip trills and other exercise to ensure your entire instrument is properly warmed up is. You need to warm up your voice, just as you stretch before you play sports. If you need help with this, click here, and if you want to learn more about how to perform with confidence in a small group setting and conquer the issues mentioned above, click here.
When you practice, there are three things you need to Consider:
1. What your mind is doing when you sing an exercise.
Example: Are you thinking, “OMG – I hope I don’t mess this dang part up again! It better be perfect”? Or, “I’m going to stay objective, present about this and just practice it until I do it right and get the muscle memory.”
Sometimes your mind can be your biggest enemy if you’re always focused on what bad thing might happen, or if you put so much pressure on yourself that you feel like it’s the end of the world if you make a mistake. Having a mind that is worried about the future or stuck in the past will prevent you from becoming a present, empowered singer. Instead, practice tools to help you be okay in the present moment. My Practicing CORE Vocal Power CD has a simple exercise on it, that helps you get your mind present. Be sure to practice the right kind of mental attitude when you do drills, and also when you sing a song. Remember, when you practice drills, you are not just getting physical muscle memory, but mental and emotional as well.
2. What your emotions are doing when you sing an exercise
Example: Do you feel fear of failure, are you inwardly trying to control your voice, emotionally checking out, or beating yourself up? Or, are you just feeling safe and okay within yourself from an open space of cooperation?
3. What your body and voice is doing when you sing an exercise.
Example: Do you have any tightness in your neck, jaw, tongue, chest or stomach? Are you pushing too much air through your chords? Are you stiff and inflexible? Or, are you alert and free, with vocal chords that are allowed to get it wrong before they get it right?
Most people are only aware of #3 and as a result they are missing 2/3rds of training their instrument. Notice how I’m holding you accountable for not only practicing suitable exercises, but also what your thoughts and feelings are doing while you sing. If you practice doing the latter part of each example listed above, you will have a much more successful practice and performance.
When I work with my students to build their voice, I help them find the emotional balance and optimal mental wiring to create presence, so their voice will be more receptive to learning something new without unnecessary blocks. From that point, they learn much faster, and more often tap into their creative genius.
If you never practice getting the right kind of mental and emotional attitude while you practice, how do you expect it (confidence) to be there when the stakes are high and you have to perform?
Don’t be deceived into only focusing on less than 1/3 of your instrument, like 80% of people who train in voice!
Please tell me below what you’re biggest vocal struggle is below, and I will give you tips on how to overcome it.
Remember: Be Patient. Be Persistent. Be Positive!
Thank you for visiting my blog. It means the world to me if I can be helpful to you as you progress along your vocal journey. Please feel free to post questions and comments if there is something particular you would like support with.