You have an audition for a band to replace the lead singer and you’ve been practicing all their songs in anticipation of getting the gig someday. The audition time rolls around and you find out a good friend of yours decided to audition as well. Although you tell yourself you’re happy he’s auditioning, when you see him in person you say something mean spirited. There is a reason why you lose your cool.
Everyone is facing their own inner demons. Ugly memories and negative circumstances can eat away at you. If you don’t address the real issue, you may find yourself saying and doing mean things. Then you hide your head in shame but the damage is done and you’ve hurt someone deeply. Take care of your heart and speak to someone who can help you deal with these feelings.
We are all fragile and need to care for each other. Sure, it will suck for a bit if you don’t get the gig and your friend does, but that has no reflection on who each of you are as people. Do the right thing and be supportive of those around you.
In the morning, I try to do my yoga routine to stretch out the kinks and start my day centered. I love when the instructor says to breathe into my whole body. It’s then that I realize how tight everything is. Next time you find yourself frustrated when trying to sing a passage, breathe into and through every part of your body. This will remind you to allow the sound to flow through you. You are a vessel for your instrument. Treat your vessel with love and respect.
You have your song choices. Your singing has never been better. You’ve chosen the best musicians to back you up. Your image is exactly as you imagined. So why is your audience sleeping? Because you’ve prepared everything except for the times when there are technical difficulties. That’s when you stammer or mumble or laugh uncomfortably. Your art of conversation with your audience is equally important. They don’t want to just hear you, they want to know you. Don’t put your audience to sleep. Practice your banter as well as you prepare everything else.
Have you ever paid attention to how you hold your body when you sing? If you don’t practice in front of a mirror and take video of yourself to critique your body language I suggest you start now.
A student was working on her musical theater audition this week so I called in my actor friend, Kristin, to do some acting coaching on her song. I noticed she pulled her elbows in toward her waist while she was singing.
It was the first thing Kristin noticed and she referred to it as “dinosaur arms.” You’ve seen those dinosaurs before. They’re the ones with the tiny arms and large body. Only the forearm and hands flail about.
Some singers look like they’re holding things in their arms and can’t move them for fear of dropping something. They remind me of schoolkids holding books.
Are you in your own little corner in your own little world when you perform? I’ve seen singers so disengaged with their audience they may as well be on their phones.
Opening up your arms when you perform
makes the audience feel like they are being welcomed into your world.
Yesterday as I was in reflection
You’re trying to figure out your way in this music business and the more you work at it the more it may feel like you’re drowning. Sometimes it looks like a clear path when out of nowhere a roadblock pops up. So you ask around for guidance but you get conflicting advice. If you’re not careful you can really find yourself lost with no answers.
As a teacher I love when students challenge me. If I hear from one of them that they were told something I’m teaching is harmful or weird or wrong I am grateful. They trust me enough to share what they have heard or learned from someone else. They have placed a rock in my path and finding out more about it only makes me better at my craft. I am grateful that I have associates, vocal therapists, and doctors I trust around the world to verify or correct my teaching methods.
When someone questions what you are doing with your music, you may have a kneejerk defense. These are the rocks that are forcing you to stop and listen. Talk to those you trust and respect to help you back on a smooth path. We are all on this river together. Let’s try to make it smooth sailing for everyone.
I’m so excited to be offering a chance for 5 ReverbNation artist winners to join me! The next “Vocal Lessons Aren’t Boring!” online course starts November. This is an international competition. Details can be found here.
I’ve already starting listening to the artist submissions and it’s going to be difficult choosing winners with so much great talent!
Not a ReverbNation member yet? Sign up here!
Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash
The minutes tick by, the hours fly, the days merge, the weeks turn into months until you find yourself years later with not much to show for the passage of time. Do something constructive. Create something every day. Love someone before you can’t. Forgive someone right now. Work harder at living and life will reward you.
I know you’re scared of what the future may bring. But you can be present when you work at what you love to do. Sing, practice, play, write, create.
I’m guilty. I spend waaaaaaay too much time on my computer. My head sometimes feels like it’s in a centrifuge spinning ‘round and ‘round with nowhere to go. Sure, I use the excuse that I “have to check something” or “a student is contacting me” or “I need to see what happened in the news today.” The truth is, it strips me away from my creative self. I’m sure it does the same to you as well.
Be mindful of how you waste your time and get back to what’s really important. Shut off your computer. Silence your phone. Wake up your creative brain!
A typical conversation may go like this:
Me: What are you working on?
Student: I don’t know...nothing...everything
Me: Do you have any goals, aspirations, motivations, things you’re working on or toward?
Student: I don’t know...there’s nothing to do
Me: Do you still like singing?
Student: Yeah, I guess...I mean, I sing all the time
Me: How about (and here I’ll mention about half a dozen ideas)
Student: I don’t know...what’s the point?
I’m not upset when this scenario takes place. I am concerned. Are you bored? Do you want to quit lessons but don’t know how to tell me or your parents? Are you depressed? Are the opportunities around you not inspiring? Do you just not care? Maybe you don’t know why you feel this way.
It’s ok to have a funk with your singing. Everyone does. It’s important to reflect on why you’re having a low point. Think back to when you were excited about singing. How old were you? What was happening at that time? What inspired you to work on new songs, pick up an instrument, write a song, listen to new music, etc.? Reflect on today. What’s happening in your social life? What fills your time in the day? Where does music fit into your life?
Sometimes we need to shut down completely to reboot ourselves. If you’re at a loss, take a break. You only have a few weeks left of the summer. Make the most of them and try to find your passion again.
Last weekend I hosted Alyson Greenfield at my home. She is a singer/songwriter and composer. Alyson was gracious enough to co-teach a group songwriting lesson with some of my young students. We sat outside on a bench by the lake and had everyone observe their surroundings and write down anything that came to mind. We combined some of their phrases to write a little lyric story. Jack made us laugh when he observed the “army of geese” on the other side of the lake. Once everyone shared their observations it was clear that everything around us was simply existing without rules. The flowers allowed the wind to cause them to dance. The little patch of grass was its own universe. The sun and clouds created paintings and patterns.
Life here, life here
Don’t wait to be inspired or motivated. The stress of life replays in your head over and over while the world around you is alive and wants you to play. A little spark of imagination is all you need to give you a starting point for your lyrics.