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 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!
And here are a few reasons why…
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.