Almost every person who has come to me for singing lessons has started by saying that what they’d like is more confidence when they sing.
Whether they’re performing internationally or beginners who are curious how they can enjoy singing more whether in the bathroom, in a choir or a rowdy Saturday night at Karaoke. It seems to have less to do with how much they know about their voice and more to do with how they perceive themselves and measure themselves against what they perceive is “good singing”.
As an NLP Master Practitioner, I’ve spent years studying what makes us feel more confident and what prevents us feeling confident right when we need it most. (For example when we open our mouths to sing in front of people.)
What builds our confidence is a rich and complex subject, with endless research and theories about what works. There is an elegant and simple technique that I’ve developed to distill many of these strategies into a single quick process you can use anytime just before you’re going into a stressful situation, for example when you’re about to sing and you want to shine with confidence.
This technique uses 3 important areas of awareness. These are the same strategies used by Olympic athletes. By strengthening each of these strategies during our singing lessons we “wire them in” so that we can confidently rely on them when we’re nervous or about to perform. This builds our sense of trust in our voice, and ourselves and our singing confidence soars.
So let’s explore the first strategy:
Being connected and in our body, rather than being a “disembodied mind”.
Do you know the feeling where you’re singing a song and you feel as if you’re actually several kilometers away watching yourself from a disembodied state?
From this place we’re disconnected from our “musical mind” of creative, spontaneous expression and more in our “inner demons mind” of judgment, criticism and comparison. A sure fire way to let our demons rule and have a party where they’re eating away at our singing confidence one morsel at a time!
The way to beat these confidence-destroying demons is by using the breath to bring us back into our bodies – to bring us home to ourselves.
The more anxious and doubtful we are in a situation, the more shallow and chesty our breath becomes and the more anxious we feel. So firstly we need to be able to regularly use the “breath of champions”.
This is the breath taught in yoga, martial arts, singing lessons, acting, elite sports, mindfulness and meditation. It allows us to release all the tension and breath into the lower quadrants of our lungs and let the breath flow out evenly and easily. Put your hands on your bottom floating ribs and as you breathe in feel them expand and your belly to out. The ribs slowly soften as you reach the end of the phrase and belly flattens towards the spine.
Using this breathing technique helps to powerfully center ourselves. It helps us think clearly; remember all the words to the song; gives us quick reaction times to what’s around us; respond to the audience and band; and most importantly helps us manage our internal demons and the negative mind games we play with ourselves while singing.
This skill is one of the most powerful gifts we can give ourselves. It brings us back home to our true selves and it builds our Self Confidence, when we’re singing, and in all the other important parts of our lives as we go through our day.
Join me and the Sydney Singing Lessons team for our fun “Confidence Booster Master class” and come away walking taller, singing more freely with greater confidence in your own unique way of singing and expressing yourself.
Singing has been an intimate part of me all my life. Sometimes as my best friend, sometimes a coach challenging me to take a risk and jump into the unknown. It has given me two beautiful gifts – both the joy of singing and the joy of guiding others through our singing lessons to find their unique expression and to sing freely and confidently.
Singing offers all of us her magic. It intensifies and amplifies the groove, joy, sadness, power, whatever is we have in that particular moment.
Singing is like coming home. It can bring us back to ourselves so we reconnect and feel clearer about what matters, when the world’s pulling us in many different directions. If I feel sad or anxious, singing, and listening to other people sing, feels like a warm hug from a close friend letting me know everything will be alright.
As I breathe in to sing I feel this quiet spacious connection that allows me to bring everything into focus. Then I feel the exhilaration of throwing my doubts to the wind and being an open channel for the music to surge through me. There’s such delight when I let go and the music takes me where it wants, soft and tender one minute then surging with power the next.
I love the way I heard a Yoga master describe this feeling: “The sound starts in the navel, our “Power Chakra”, where it connects with our raw power. Then the sound flows up through our heart, where it’s coloured by the love, passion and feelings we are experiencing at that moment. Next travelling up through our “Throat Chakra”, the sound reflects how much we trust ourselves to let our truth, power and emotions flow into the world.
Finally this sound, reaches our mouth where it’s shaped into words and flows out from us and reaches those who are listening.”
Many times singing’s pushed me to jump off the proverbial cliff because something inside me ached to get up and sing, perform, connect, explore music and immerse myself in the sound of a beautiful song. To feel the beauty of the music and words reach the people listening and sense how they’re being moved as they ride the song in their own way.
I started performing when I was 5. I used to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” when my parents had guests. Where I sing has changed to include large concert halls, intimate jazz clubs and thousands of people at festivals and concerts. However the incredible joy of sharing the beauty in a song with those listening never changes.
There’s a beautiful quote I always keep in mind when I’m singing: “Think not how beautiful the singer, but now beautiful the song.” It’s when I forget about myself, let go of the need to “sound good”, that I become one with the song and I’m flying free.
As the proverb says:
“If you can walk you can dance, If you can speak, you can sing”
What does singing mean to you? I’d love to know.
Give the team at Sydney Singing Lessons a call and we can share the fun of finding this joy of singing together!
Actually, singing is the most natural thing for our bodies. It’s so simple a baby does it and does it correctly… Look at any small baby and you’ll see them using “singing breathing”. Their bellies rise up as they breathe in and deflate as they breathe out. And the team at Sydney Singing Lessons will show you how to go back to basics and breathe for easy singing all the time.
As you get older and go to school many children are socialised into breathing more shallowly than the body wants to breathe. Suggestions like “Keep your tummy pulled in” or demonstrating “a big breath in” by raising the shoulders and breathing into the top of the chest. These suggestions go against the way our bodies naturally work. It means we actually get less air in and we have no control over how it flows out.
Many people who have come through Sydney Singing Lessons have found their singing liberated by returning to how they breathed as a baby: breathing naturally and easily into the belly. This allows us to access incredible power and ease in our voice.
Another myth is that we need lots of air to sing a note… In fact, the less air we use on a sound the more power and tone that note will have.
When we push a lot of air through the vocal folds they can’t come together and resonate evenly and easily. At Sydney singing lessons we focus on singing more like we speak, using a more natural amount of air, rather than forcing extra air through, the vocal folds vibrate at an optimal level and the sound is relaxed, strong and sustained easily.
And once more it’s all about doing less… AGAIN!
You hear this term speech level singing being thrown around a lot these days, but few can actually describe what it is and explain the fundamentals behind it. That’s what we’ve just demonstrated above and we know you’ll agree it’s vitally important that your vocal coach can explain singing in easy to use language and concepts that are easily understood.
So give the team at Sydney Singing Lessons a call and discover the benefits of learning from a team of dedicated individuals who can explain and demonstrate great vocal technique in a way that makes sense! And feel free to leave your comments below too – we love to know what you think of our tips!
Take a deep breath… Now breath out.
Now take another deep breath and HOLD! …Now breath out.
Did you notice something? Did you feel tight in the throat area?
Of course you did… and YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Now we’ve all had singing lessons where our vocal coach didn’t pick up on this (of course not at Sydney Singing Lessons)… But what I’m talking about is starting from a place of TENSION. So if you start from a place of tension… Can you imagine how much MORE tension you are putting on your vocal chords when you’re singing notes in the stratosphere incorrectly?
The point of this post is not to help you with singing the high notes without strain, but to help you re-focus what you are doing with your breathing. And here’s the Sydney Singing Lessons secret:
Inhale low, breath low into your stomach… just let it poke out. DON”T breath into your chest & throat and DON”T let your shoulders rise.
Focus the pressure and the tension in your powerhouse. Your powerhouse is your 6 pack abs and your thighs – this is where your support is. This is where you want to be tense when you breathe. Let these strong muscles be your support – that’s why they are there and so many of us FORGET to use them. We just sing and don’t worry about silly little things like technique. We just sing and wonder why we end up with throat problems and nodules… and then people come to Sydney Singing Lessons and wonder what’s happened?
There is of course a whole method to doing this and that’s why you need Sydney Singing Lessons because we can set your foundations strong so you can hit those high notes with ease and really sing and dig into those low notes effortlessly.
So like all things if you set a strong foundation you make everything else a whole lot easier! And that’s what the team here at Sydney Singing Lessons are here to teach you, so grab your phone and give us a call Right NOW! And leave your comments below too – we love to know what you think of our tips!