As singing forums go, I found your answers to my latest singing forum poll a little bit surprising because so many of you share similar concerns:
Three questions/comments are recurring:
1. How should I care for my voice?
2. How can I get over stage fright?
3. Help! I need better technique!
I have written a lot about each one of these issues. I will give you links to select pages of information farther down. But first I want to add a few new thoughts to each of these areas.
First: How should I care for my voice? In my 30 years of experience as a singer and singing teacher, I have noticed that there are a few bad habits that, if avoided, could help a singer a great deal in maintaining a healthy voice. I wonder if you can guess what they are?
• Don't over sing. That means, stop singing before you feel any strain. We eager singers - (some of us) tend to sing too long and too hard. And as you get tired, you can easily lose track of the right kind of vocal co-ordination required for good, healthy singing. It is easy to fall into poor vocal habits when you are tired. So when possible, sing with a rested body and brain. Sing with focussed energy. Sing with purpose. And stop before you are vocally or mentally tired. In doing this, you will avoid many vocal troubles.
• Get enough sleep. So many people are sleep-deprived these days - or so I have read. One well-known female journalist, who is famous for being a toughie in her busienss was asked to give a talk to a large women's organization. Her task was to talk about one of her greatest concerns for fellow workers; she choose sleep deprivation.
For singers, what does this mean? Without enough sleep, your body does not function as well as it should in order to sing with precise co-ordination. Your muscles are already tired before you begin. Your brain is sluggish and unfocused. Get enough sleep.
• Don't over talk. If you are talking on the phone a lot, shouting in crowds, laughing loudly, or just getting wild and crazy with your voice - calm down. A singer's throat needs a lot of peace. Your job is to give it that peace as much as you can, while still living your balanced life.
AND... Get some Feed Back from a teacher...
Second: How Can I Get Over Stage Fright?
This is such a popular question in all of my singing forums that I have written a singing guide devoted solely to this issue. (Stage Fright - 12 Powerful Tools to Help You Beat it!) You will find some very helpful ideas in my guide, but here is a simple, powerful tip to get you started on getting over the fear.
• Make performance a more frequent part of your life. At the end of your practice sessions, stand in your singing room and pretend that you are now in a performance. Sing the song through from beginning to end as though you are performing.
After you have done this successfully a few times (which means that you know the song well,) invite a couple of people to hear you sing the song. Do this several times with different friends so that you get used to the feeling of "stage fright." The energy that goes into performing is unique. You need to make that energy your friend! Keep setting up these opportunities to practice performing. Over time, you will begin to feel more comfortable with good performance nerves.
THIRD - Help! I need better technique!
Get some good training from the best teacher you can find and afford in your area. Most singers need expert feed back. And keep this in mind, if you are like most of us, you will always be working on your technique - even as a professional singer.
If you get some good training (or you are naturally co-ordinated), then you will discover a way to sing that works well for your voice and your chosen style of music. But you will always be working on ways to maintain your technique. It is a forever thing.
NOTE! It is important to develop good habits of singing as early as possible. And while YOU may learn on your own to be a fine singer, most of us need expert feedback. There are no shortcuts in learning how to sing well. Get some in-person, private lessons. If you would like to talk with me about a lesson, please contact me here.
I wish you great singing!