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!
Question: What do superstar singers Lady Gaga, Elvis Presley, Rod Stewart and Barbra Streisand have in common?
Answer: These singers were all painfully shy and too afraid to sing in public.
Amazed? The team at Sydney Singing Lessons were amazed too.
You may be thinking, “how could this be?” Elvis Presley, the King of rock and roll? A shy singer? Barbra Streisand the queen of Broadway and movies? A shy singer and actor? Rod Stewart with one of the world’s most recognisable voices? A shy singer? Lady Gaga who is perhaps one of THE most daring music trailblazers on record – too shy to sing?
How could it be that these megastar singers who rose to the very top of the success ladder in entertainment be too shy to sing?
The Sydney Singing Lessons team is always uncovering amazing answers to help singers of all levels move forward in their singing lessons.
And we uncovered some truly astounding stories especially for shy singers.
Maybe you are a shy singer yourself. If you are, then like us at Sydney Singing Lessons you’ll love these inspiring true stories.
According to Bob Leone, who became Lady Gaga’s first manager, he met the young singer at an open mic night and when she was aged 13 or 14. At that stage she was going by her given name Stefanie Germanotta. Although it may be hard to believe apparently the outlandish singer was shy and often felt like an outsider. She attended two open mics with her mother before she finally had the nerve to get up and perform. And the rest… is history.
And what about superstar singers like Elvis Presley – crowned King of Rock and Roll and acknowledged as one of the greatest singers ever in popular music.
Elvis was a shy youngster who was raised in a poor neighbourhood and teased at school because he played ‘hillbilly’ music. And although Elvis had a passion for music he was told by some of his teachers that he would never make it as a singer. To make matters worse the only subject at school Elvis failed at was music. At age 12 Elvis was given two scheduled spots to perform live at the local radio show, yet and on the first one he was too overcome with stage fright to go on air. He did make the next show and the rest… is history.
Eight times Grammy Award winner and two times Oscar Award winning singer, actor and director Barbra Streisand is regarded as one of the most commercially and critically successful entertainers in modern entertainment history. Streisand’s career boasts the widest span (48 years) between first and latest top-ten albums of any female recording artist and is one of the rare artists to achieve number-one albums in five consecutive decades. Yet with all these achievements the megastar openly confesses that she is very shy. “I could never stand up and sing in a small living room. I can’t sing if I can see people’s faces, I don’t know where to look, or how to stand, or hold my hands, and I go all silly!” However Streisand says she is comfortable singing in a concert in front of 20,000 people. “The bigger and darker the better so I can’t see any faces.”
And singers like Rod Stewart with his career in its fifth decade has sold over 100 million records worldwide.
Stewart struggled with nervousness and shyness – he even sang behind a curtain at a New York concert with Jeff Beck. Yet Stewart overcame his shyness using his distinctive raspy voice to become one of the best selling artists of all time.
The big take-home message from these shy megastar singers is this: They did not let their shyness stop them from singing. OK, it is true that their shyness stopped them once or twice, or even a few times here and there.
But the wonderful truth about shyness is that shy singers don’t have to stop singing. Shyness may make it uncomfortable at times while your knees are shaking, but it need not need to stop you from ever singing.
Most of us experience shyness at some stage of our life.
Even Sydney Singing Lessons team have battled with shyness and learned the secrets for working through shyness. And having done just that we can give you some great tools and strategies in your singing lessons for going ahead and singing past your shyness.
Want to shake your shy singing too? Call us now.
You may also be interested in attending a workshop on shyness.
Shake Your Shyness ~ Shy Singers Workshop.
Six sure-fire strategies for shaking your shyness for good and sing like no one’s watching. Enjoy an inspiring one-day workshop hosted by pro-singer and vocal coach Zelda Sheldon with lots of fun, fear-busting activities designed to set you free forever.
To receive information about an upcoming ‘Shake Your Shyness’ workshop from the team at Sydney Singing Lessons, feel free to pre-register your interest with your name and email address and we’ll add you to the list.
Singing has always been a big part of my life. I’ve been singing professionally since I was 22.
I’ve performed as a soloist, in duos, in bands and in choirs large and small. I have performed in so many different kind of events and venues – indoor and outdoor, daytime and night time, from massive stadiums in front of thirty thousand to intimate hospital rooms, from recording studios to street busking, churches, weddings, funerals, libraries, pre-schools, jails and boardrooms.
Of all the places I’ve performed, I’d have to say the most heart-thumping performances are still singing in boardrooms presenting my compositions to a meeting of poker-faced executives.
As a singer I’ve sung many kinds of songs for many kinds of different occasions both for pleasure and for profit.
When I am asked the question ”What does singing mean to me?” I can say without any hesitation SINGING MEANS A WHOLE LOT TO ME!
Singing is healthy. It makes me feel whole and alive and healthy. And when I’m singing with others or at church it’s nourishing hearing voices come together as a group.
Singing brings me happiness. When I sing I feel happy, joyous and in the flow.
Singing let’s me express my creativity. I love singing for the pure enjoyment of making music with my voice. My house is surrounded by lots of trees, which not only makes a wonderful view but also attracts so many birds. All day long I can hear birds singing. At the top of my list of favourite bird singers are Butcher Birds, Magpies and Rainbow Lorikeets. I love to sing along with the bird calls and try to imitate them as closely as I can just for fun.
Singing along to songs I know is heaps of fun too. I can hear a song playing on the radio, or performed live or karaoke if I know the song I find it virtually impossible to resist singing along.
Karaoke is one of my loves too. Live or online, suits me fine. I belong to an online Karaoke community called Sing Snap, which lets me record and play back my karaoke performance with the backing so I can hear how I sounded. If I choose I can post my karaoke performance on the website where other members can hear me and make comments if they want. That’s a lot of fun and it’s also a wonderful way of connecting with other singers and karaoke fans around the world.
Songwriting is another one of my creative expressions. I use singing to write songs a’cappella without any instruments. In my head I am continually hearing my own new songs and constantly downloading songs that come to me from the universe, the cosmos or wherever. And I sing these into my recording device to capture these ‘song seeds’ so I can write a song when I get some time in my busy day. I have thousands of little song seeds waiting for the right moment when they can be planted and cultivated in the soil of effort and time.
It makes me feel brave. I was a shy singer and I struggled for many years to get over myself to own up to the fact that I wanted to be a singer and give myself permission to sing in front of others and even to take singing lessons. I no longer have any issues with shyness or nervousness and now I can sing anytime and anywhere – even in board rooms with those poker-faced executives.
Singing lets me do the work I love to do. As a professional singer I love performing wonderfully written songs that people love – and especially love it when people sing along with me at my gigs. That’s the best fun.
As a songwriter I enjoy using my voice to write songs, not just for me to sing, but also for other awesome singers to sing. And hearing how other singers express their creativity in my songs is a great honour.
And as a singing coach here at Sydney Singing Lessons, I love using the world’s best singing tools and powerful stories to help singers of all levels and ages achieve breakthroughs with their singing. And it’s shy singers especially where my story has the most impact.
So if you’re thinking about learning to sing and wondering if singing lessons can really help, the SSL team invite you to take the next step.
Love it or hate it (personally I’ve been glued to it) “The Voice” highlights some fundamental elements of singing and what it means to be a performing artist.
Here are 3 singing lessons we can learn and how the Pros approach these singing issues:
It’s easy to think when we sing louder we’ll come across as more powerful and exciting. However there’s a point where we tip into driving our voice and it sounds constricted and contrived. When this happens we no longer sing freely and spontaneously, with fire and passion. It can sound to those listening, and feel to us, like what we’re singing about we don’t really believe.
What the Pros do:
- Singing with less physical effort – instead concentrate on building the intensity of feelings in the song.
- Add more variety into the lyrics and rhythm. Build the “dramatic arc” of song’s storyline, so the listeners go on the journey with you.
- Take more emotional risks rather than using vocal effects and singing loudly.
It’s so fascinating to see those brave artists taking risks and exploring different ways of singing on live TV. Sometimes it works and sometimes not so much. What’s the difference?
Have you noticed some artists just don’t connect with you even though vocally they sing the song impeccably, whereas others you forgive pitchy notes and mistakes, or don’t even notice these, because you “just love them”?
Being able to reach all the notes, sing in pitch and have enough breath to get through each phase is just the first step. Next it’s about bending the melody and rhythm into whatever emotional shape the song spontaneously needs.
What makes the difference (and keeps singers in the competition) is their willingness to “let go of looking good”. Only then can they let those exciting spontaneous moments flow through them.
As the world-famous cellist Pablo Casals said shortly before his death, when an interviewer asked him how his style had changed as he got older: “I’ve had to let go of perfection in order to have expression.”
Sometimes we hold on so tightly to the idea of “singing well” that the song seems bland and unexciting.
What the Pros do:
- Once you’ve mastered the melody and lyrics, experiment with getting inside what the song really means.
- Try singing as if you’re talking the lyrics to someone and it’s really important they understand how you feel.
- Take a risk. Be so intent on getting the meaning across that you let the song take you in a new direction, you haven’t tried before.
The most exciting artists are willing to be themselves, quirks and all.
There will always be some people who like us and some who scratch their heads and don’t get us at all.
The more we can accept that only some people will get us and some wont, the more we can accept ourselves for who we are. We learn to trust that who we naturally are is “enough”. Singing from our unique self ignites a magic when we sing.
What the Pros do:
- Recognise your unique style and vocal strengths.
- Make each song your own rather than copying the original artist’s interpretation.
- Sing from the raw unmasked part of yourself (rather than putting on vocal effects to sound as if you’re feeling the song).
If you have a great natural singing voice then you don’t need singing lessons or singing coaching, right? Wrong.
Even if you have been blessed with a great natural ability and a great voice singing lessons can help you get more from your voice.
Although iconic superstar singer Elvis Presley was known never to have had any formal singing lessons Elvis himself was “a perfect student of singing” according to Ray Walker of the famous Jordanaires. The vocal group the Jordanaires sang backing vocals on 360 of Elvis’s 700 recordings Elvis would ask Walker who was also a singing teacher to give him non-formal singing lessons and tips for reaching high notes on the recordings.
Vocal coach and musician Charlie Hodge who was Elvis’s confidants and close associate is credited for helping Elvis develop and build his vocal range to reach the higher notes in some of the powerful ballads Elvis would record and sing live.
Singing is like any other skill. People can have varying levels of natural skill and ability. And like many other skills singing can be taught and ability and skill can be improved and honed with singing lessons.
Some of the ways singing lessons can help singers develop greater levels of skill is with techniques and strategies for gaining mastery and control of their voice. This is where singing lessons are particularly useful.
Singing lessons provide singers with a set of disciplines designed to strengthen and shape their voice.
Many singers with high levels of natural ability can benefit from learning how to correctly and safely warm up the voice. Warming up the voice correctly is one of the fastest ways of developing and strengthening the voice and also preventing voice strain and injury.
And yet so many singers do not actively practice effective warm-ups, which why so many singers suffer vocal strain and have vocal problems.
A competent singing teacher can help singers of all levels develop a warm-up strategy that can be used daily. And its in these daily disciplines where training and skill building makes a significant difference to the singer’s voice.
Many singers are also confused when it comes to using an effective and consistent breathing technique when singing. The Sydney Singing Lessons team find that all too often singers simply ignore applying an effective breathing technique in their singing. Again, a competent singing teacher will be able to provide singers with easy-to-use breathing technique that will give singers more control in their singing so that even the most challenging songs where breathing is trickiest can be mastered.
Singers with a good vocal range can not only experience satisfying range extension with singing lessons, but also learn to apply techniques for singing high and low notes with ease.
Singing lessons can also help with singers expand their voice tone and character, develop vocal flexibility to sing with greater artistry and expression, and also learn to project and sing with greater power.
If you are thinking about learning to sing and wondering if singing lessons can help, the team at Sydney Singing Lessons invite you to take the next step.
We enjoy coaching singers of all levels, ages and styles and offer singing coaching and singing lessons using the world’s most effective singing tools to bring out your best as a singer.
Ph: 0403 926 881
Sydney Singing Lessons Myth #8: It’s easy to be a star – Just post yourself singing in your bedroom to Youtube
I LOVED this article posted in Music Think Tank and it’s so appropriate for those of us who want to make a living out of singing.
I loved it because it makes good plain common sense to anyone brave enough to make a living from singing.
Sure there are always those ‘Hey! I got discovered from posting a youtube vid from singing in my bedroom now I’m loaded’ type stories but these are OUTLIERS – right at the edges of the bell curve of ‘normal’ – achievable, predictable and therefore expectable.
While I was studying psychology at uni studying what I always referred to as ‘the worse university subject ever – ‘Research Methods and Statistics (ughhhh!!) I learned to label occurences that existed yet were random events that no one could predict and therefore duplicate in any result as ‘Outliers’.
So now when I see ‘teenager posting a song from their bedroom and now making a gazillion bucks and is the hot new pop star riding the charts (singer Justin Beber comes to mind here) I like to think of the word ‘outliers’ – something lying way out of the range of what could be normal and achievable.
Another though comes to mind – ‘winning the lottery’.
So, I’d argue that nobody in their right musical mind expects to ‘win’ a lottery.
Sure you buy a ticket, have a flutter – be in it to win it – that kind of thing – but to stake your life on it – or pin all your hopes on it would be a foolish career strategy.
Yet sadly this is what so many starry-eyed musicans and wanna be pop stars do. They see the outliers and they think this can be easily duplicated and therefore achievable. WRONG! WRONG AND SO WRONG!
These are outliers. Lying way out there! Unpredictable and unlikely to be ever repeated.
In my job as a coach for singing & songwriting (yes I too am a multi-stream income musician) I recommend my students have a singing and music career strategy that includes a financial plan that allows earning enough to cover all their living expenses and in particular investing in their music education and development.
Relying on trying to score an advance from record and publishing companies is another ‘outlier’.
Yes it happens – but the odds are so massive you can never rely on it being achievable.
Instead it’s a much wiser career strategy to focus on what you CAN do. What you CAN achieve as a musician – the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly development of your music skills with solid education and coaching – to be a better singing, songwriter, actor, dancer and stage performer.
Do that and you will have much better odds at being the right kind of marketable musician that the business expects.
Zelda Sheldon, Singing Lessons Sydney
Before you get too attached to a particular song maybe it’s time for a Singing Lessons Sydney reality check.
In our singing lessons, reality checks are something we give regularly.
So you want to be singing those great songs that you hear on the radio?
But, you see not all songs are created equal – just as not all singers are created equal. Did you know that many of the songs that rise to the charts are known as ‘diva’ songs. And these Diva songs that are written for…. you guessed it …. Divas! A diva is a singer who has a wide range and a powerful voice to reach all those high notes. And while Singing Lessons Sydney will help you develop your voice, not every voice is destined to like that!
Some well known diva singers are Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Delta Goodrem, Alexandra Burke, Jordan Sparks…
One thing about these singers is they have extraordinary voices with huge ranges. That’s why they are divas! And that’s why Singing Lessons Sydney and you love them. They inspire us to sing along with them. And we do. In the shower we think we can sound “just like” them.
And now here’s where the reality check comes in…
When a student comes in for their first singing lesson one of the first things we do after giving a few vocal warm-ups is measure their range. Range is distance between the lowest notes and the highest notes a singer can sing. Singing Lessons Sydney do this for two reasons; the first reason is so that we can measure the singer’s base line so that the student and I can chart their progress as they improve.
The second reason is to give the singer the right information about their range. And this is IMPORTANT information. All the top singers know their range and which notes they can and can’t sing. And they choose songs according to their range. For example, if a singer has a range of 14 notes… they choose songs which fit into a 14-note range and Singing Lessons Sydney helps you find songs that are right for you!
We do this by showing you – the lowest note you can sing and the highest. Then we show you how to measure the range of the songs you are thinking about singing. This is simply a matter of listening to the song a few times and identifying the highest and lowest notes of the song. Here’s a Singing Lessons Sydney hint: the highest notes in pop songs are generally to be found in either the chorus or the bridge section.
The next step is finding a musical instrument such as a piano or guitar or a cool piano app on an iphone to work out what those high and low notes are. Then see if these notes are in your range. If they aren’t then you have 2 choices. You can either change the key of the song where appropriate or change the song.
You set yourself up to fail by singing songs out of your range. Selecting a song that suits your range will give you a far better chance to shine as a singer rather than singing a song that is out of your range, so let the Singing Lessons Sydney team help you find songs that will help you shine!
There are great songs out there – not just for divas, but for every vocal range. You just need to find the right song to suit your range. That’s what all the top singers do…
That’s what Singing Lessons Sydney do – And that’s what you can do too!
At Sydney Singing Lessons we know that we do change as we age, but it’s also true that our singing voices don’t mature until we’re in our 30s. It’s like any muscle – the more you use it the stronger it gets. Our singing team love yoga and some of the most flexible bodies we see in our classes are in their 70s and 80s.
But here’s something interesting… Sydney Singing Lessons have students who are still in their early 20s who say they feel they have left it TOO LATE. How strange we humans are.
We have a tendency to procrastinate and shelve our most cherished dreams. Then the pressures of life take us on a path and before we know it we’re getting on in years then the saying ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ becomes our mantra.
But the latest brain research has good news for all of us. Until recently, common belief was that adult brains are ‘hard-wired’, that brain function could not be improved and worse, brain performance inevitably declines with age. That has been proved incorrect. Now with the discovery of ‘Neuro-Plasticity’, considered one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 20th century, the truth has been uncovered: the brain can rewire itself throughout our lives. The brain forms new nerve cells and neural connections as we move, learn and experience life. And this happens regardless of age. So what does this mean for me Sydney Singing Lessons?
Here’s a secret that some of the happiest people on earth have discovered. It’s never too late to use the time you have now to do what you’ve always wanted to do. If you’ve been dreaming of singing for a few years but you fear you’ve left it too late then do yourself a favour – grab that phone and give the team at Sydney Singing Lessons a call! Treat yourself to some great vocal coaching this week!
One things for sure…you’re not going to get any younger. So seize the day! And feel free to leave your comments below too – we love to know what you think of our Sydney Singing Lessons tips and myths!
Anne Maree Wilshire, Sydney Singing Lessons.
Sydney Singing Lessons knows that every voice is different. Some people have wide ranges and some don’t. And some of the world’s top singers don’t use anywhere near a 2-octave range.
Not everyone has the same range, pitch accuracy and tonal qualities. What’s more…not everyone has a voice of 2, 3, 4+ octaves like divas Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey – in fact some of the biggest and most successful singing stars today sing songs with less than 1-octave ranges. And here at Sydney Singing Lessons we will show you how to get the best sound possible with what you have!
Take Rihanna for example. In her massive #1 hit song Umbrella she sings just a 7-NOTE range in that song. And superstar Gwen Stefani in her hit ‘The Sweet Escape’ sings this song in a mere 5-NOTE range. Both these singers are not busting out with 2 octaves PLUS… far from it. Yet they are both awesome singing artists with amazing presence and superstar careers. And some of the world’s most famous singers Sydney Singing Lessons loves like Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Johnny Cash and Kenny Rogers have been accused of not even qualifying as even “good singers”.
So here’s the bottom line. Singing is Way More than just range. It’s also about tone, rhythm, performance, charismatic personalities and of course the songs themselves. The mega stars and their teams know this industry secret – they stick to the range where they SHINE and instead devote all their hard work on getting the best songs within that range to showcase their awesome talent. It works for them – and Sydney Singing Lessons can show you how to work for you.
Give the team at Sydney Singing Lessons a call and discover the benefits of learning from a team of dedicated individuals who can develop your voice, your own unique sound 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!