Get yourself prepped up in.. umm.. I don’t remember how many steps.. just read it for yourself! =)
Learning is a mental exercise. And like other exercises, we need to warm up and get the engine running. Especially when learning something as emotionally charged as singing. Let’s get going!
1) Be present – this sounds so obvious but is so often overlooked as singing. Doing exercises while watching tv or reading magazines will not cut it if you’re trying to learn how to work together with your vocal chords. Be present. Forget about work, the bills, the dog/cat, what the neighbour said about your lawn, etc. Be here in the moment right now. That’s what makes music so great anyway – the chance to escape for a while. Use that privilege when you’re practicing.
2) Welcome – after you let yourself be present, take a moment to make yourself available. Here’s what I mean by that:
- Range – whatever range you’re at now, welcome it into your life. Let it be here and accept it for what it is. I’m not saying tolerate it and resign yourself to your current vocal range; I’m saying don’t fight it. It’s here, anyway, so instead of fighting it let it be here for now. Just for now.
- Tone – welcome any hoarseness, any lack of tone in your voice. If it’s wimpy, thin, nasal, whatever. Stop fighting it. You’ve been fighting it all these years, and it’s still there. Save yourself the pain. Let it be here, right now.
- Injuries – the results of diligently practicing the wrong things for years. Again, no use fighting it. It’s there. Let it be, for now. When you let it be here, you’ll notice that you won’t think about it too much. This frees your mind to focus on the repair instead of the damage.
- Talent – ouch! This is the saddest part. The “talent” myth. Welcome any apparent “lack of talent” that you involuntarily received. Let that feeling of lack be there as much as it wants to. At the same time, be open to at least the possibility that no such nonsense exists, that as long as you have a voice, you can learn how to master it. As best you can, be open to that as a possibility. Even if it’s just a tiny spark. We’ll fan that spark into a raging flame soon! 😉
3) Internalize – don’t just go through the motions with each exercise. You are not a pianist or guitarist who can see what their fingers and hands are doing during each note. Your instrument is inside your body. The only way you can improve is by actually feeling whatever movements take place when you produce the sounds. The voice is the only instrument located inside the body. It therefore deserves more attention.
So there you go! You’re all set to receive! These are designed to free your mind of any excess baggage that will take up space in the learning process. Apply it to any other stuff that I didn’t list but that you feel gets in the way.
NOTE: This simple stuff is also very powerful, and most of the hang-ups you have will gradually go away. Once you let them be there and focus on something else, they lose their power over you.
However, some things are more deeply rooted than others. If you were told by someone you really love and respect that you will never amount to anything as a singer, or you were forced by them to practice singing because they wanted to be singer, or in more extreme cases were rape, harassment, abuse etc, are involved, you will need professional help. In no way do I proclaim to give professional advice.
That said, there is a program that I have benefited from immensely in this area of self-image and personal development. As a singer/vocalist, you will only progress according to how comfortable you are with yourself. If you have anything at all that the above steps can’t help you with, do research this site. It will go into more detail about steps 1) and 2) above. You might find something helpful there J