Step by Step Learning
Getting good at singing can be quite a daunting task if you think about it. That’s the key: don’t think about it too much! Getting the voice to where you want it to be is not really a musical process. That’s what a lot of wannabe singers miss. It’s actually an athletic skill. It involves building stamina, endurance, speed, agility; all words that normally come up in sports discussions.
Picture this: a football player (that’s soccer in some parts of the world) dribbling the ball past opponents and at the end of his run timing a shot at just the right angle with just the right amount of power and speed into the shot to score the goal. The goal keeper is usually very well trained so trying to overpower him is not an option. Strikers who combine speed, precision and power with cunning will inevitably score the most goals.
As a spectator, consider all the variables that the player has to handle at the same time. He has to run fast, outmanoeuvre the opponent in front of him, try not to get caught by the opponent he has faked out who’s now on his tail, use the limited time that he has to find an opening, and calculate exactly where to shoot, how fast, with how much power. Too weak a shot would get a save from the keeper, too much power and he might not find the goal at all.
Now imagine a newbie who wants to learn the game. Does he start by attending classes and learning all the maths and physics involved before he ever touches the ball? In that case he might never touch the ball at all. The new player learns first how to get his feet familiar with the ball. He learns how to walk with the ball. Then jog with the ball. Then run with the ball. He might then learn a few tricks and practice them. When he masters those, he’ll learn new ones and master them. His career is just exercises that build upon each other until he can do most of the things he does without being aware of them.
It only makes sense! The only way a player can think of creative ways to attack is if the other processes like running and dribbling are happening in the background. The same is true for singers/vocalists. If we’re so focused on getting the notes right, there’s not much energy left for creative expression. We need to get the voice to run on autopilot so that we can think on our feet and do stuff to surprise the audience; maybe go out of tune for a few lines and get back into key, or maybe substitute a few lines of song for speech and then go back into song, or whatever.
This can only happen if the mind is free from worrying, “here comes the high C… do I risk belting it, or do I go into falsetto?” That’s not the kind of vibe the audience wants to hear. They want confidence, with no hesitation. If it’s a falsetto, let it be a falsetto. If it’s a belt, then make it a thunderous one. The audience will appreciate this strong sense of direction and will follow your lead as you take them on the journey.
So the message from this is to be patient and give yourself time. Especially if you’ve been working on stuff that did not work in the past, give yourself and your voice time to unlearn and then relearn new skills. When doing the voice exercises see yourself not as a singer/vocalist, but as an athlete working on a muscle in his/her body. Let the exercises build on themselves and don’t force anything. Everything will fall into place eventually. So keep practicing and happy singing!