"Never bend your head.
One of the first things I pay attention to in a lesson is your posture. Although good posture is important for your singing, that's not why I observe your body language when you come to work on your voice. Your body signals tell me a lot about how you feel about yourself, your current situation, and if you are ready to sing. It's time to start giving yourself permission to pose with confidence.
Where are your hands? Are they in a clasped prayer-like position on your lap in-between your legs? That tells me you may be scared, tense, or insecure. How about your shoulders? Are they slouched forward? When I see this I may sense sadness or defeat or you are simply tired. Conversely, if your eyes and body are alert, I know you are ready for the task at hand. Or like me, you went to Catholic school for many years and out of fear and nun training you have a stiff and straight back position!
"If you doubt yourself,
Sometimes I wonder if something is in the air. This past week I had several students exhibiting tension and apprehension in their attitudes. It is finals week for many, but even my adult students showed signs of stress.
I am grooming one of my 15 year old students to be able to play guitar and sing through one of her original songs and to stay focused throughout. When she derails, she bites her bottom lip and shakes her head negatively. My 13 year old student is working on an audition piece and the anxiety is closing her throat so she thinks she has something "stuck" in it. One of my adult students had the weight of his work day getting in the way of having fun during his lesson. And one of my young professionals who sounds amazing most of the time, didn't like how she sounded so she sabotaged herself with over-analysis and negative self talk.
"Don't fake it until you make it.
A couple years ago I chanced upon a great TED talk by the Harvard social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, called "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are." What inspired me most was the fact that with just two minutes of empowering body poses you can increase your testosterone and lower your cortisol levels. That translates to you feeling more confident and lessening your stress. I started to incorporate these changes in students during lessons by having them pose like a comic book superhero character or just holding up their arms in a victory pose. The changes I witnessed were dramatic in some students and verified Cuddy's work.
"Act the way you'd like to be
Take some time out to pay attention to how you hold your body. If you are crossing your legs and folding your arms, plant your feet firmly on the ground and feel pride in all of your work. The world wants to see you spread your wings and display your gifts.
And if they stare
Just let them burn their eyes on you moving
And if they shout
Don't let it change a thing that you're doing
Hold your head up, woman
Hold your head high
©1972 "Hold Your Head Up" by Argent
Peace out, rock on, and strike a pose!