“Have you ever watched children at play? They are spontaneous, uninhibited and they only follow a few vital rules. The funny thing is that for children their play IS their work. Playtime is how they learn life skills and understand the world around them.
Playtime opens their mind and emotions. As adults, we lose that precious skill of playing. We have rules and schedules to follow and all sorts of inhibitions that hold us back from making progress. All of those carefully constructed inhibitions, rules, and judgments create a nice little fence around your mind.
As a singer, your mind is your most powerful ally or your most daunting enemy. An example of the mental fences that we put up as singers could be our use of the terms soprano, alto, tenor, and bass.
I understand that when working with an ensemble or choir those terms are necessary, but with an individual singer, I NEVER use those words. As soon as I tell someone that they are a bass, they will probably make a few judgments about their voice based on that one word.
Immediately, they will make a list of all the things their voice can’t do because they are a bass. The same could be true for sopranos. I was told that I could not sing in a baritone or bass range because I was a high tenor. It’s simply not true, but I lived with that “rule” for a while until I started working hard on my voice and utilizing the methods and techniques I've learned to build my range to 5 octaves! Now I can sing in any range I want without strain or tension.
So how do you take down the mental fence? How do you strip away the unnecessary inhibitions, rules, and judgments? You might expect me to say, “More voice lessons!”
Nope. You take down the mental fence by stepping out of your comfort zone. The best way to step out of your comfort zone is to do something that TERRIFIES you. Being uncomfortable opens you up to change, new skills, and strengthens your trust in yourself.
Here are some awesome ways to step outside of your comfort zone, tear down those mental fences and unlock the potential of your voice.
1. Sing a genre of music that you typically avoid. Sing it and sing it and then sing it some more. It will teach you things about your voice that you never knew.
2. Take an acting class. Good acting classes teach you to work off impulse. This technique gets you out of your head and opens you up to more vocal development.
3. Take a dance class – any dance class. Dance training helps you to be more aware of and expressive with your body. It takes your mind off your voice and leaves your voice free to do what it was designed to do!
4. Have weekly vocal playtime. For example, sit at the piano and play a chord progression over and over while you make up different melodies. Or play around with vocal improv – have a
“Riff-Off” with a friend or a conversation with a friend only using riffs. Sing a song using only gibberish. Make up games. Be willing to make mistakes. After all, you’re just playing!
So keep the vocal rules that WORK for you, but most importantly take down the mental fences and just PLAY!”
Get some vocal training! I'm available for in-person and online lessons. Just contact me at this link to book your lesson with me. My lesson rate is normally $100 an hour or $75 for 1/2 hr but for a limited time, NEW students get a huge discount! Or purchase a packaged course here. No matter what your budget or time constraints, where there’s a will, there’s a way to get all these signs pointing in the right direction!
Your Vocal Coach,