Breathing Technique can certainly make you a better singer. But, it can also make you a better PERFORMER. In life, we often take a breath to create anticipation for words to come, while thinking, or for emotional or dramatic effect. In performing, you can also deliberately choose where you breathe to bring your text to life! As an exercise, try changing WHERE you breathe in a song that you're currently working on. Observe how this alters the delivery of the text. Does it make it more believable? More interesting? How does it affect the mood of the piece? Be intentional with your breathing not just in technique practice, but also in your songwork. If you do, you'll breathe LIFE into your performances!
The singing voice is ONE-OF-KIND! What differentiates the vocal instrument from other musical instruments is our ability to tune and shape our RESONATORS! Altering the vocal tract can be done for purposes of dynamics, style, timbre, or efficiency on any given note or vowel. We can actively change the shape of our resonators by opening/closing the jaw, rounding/spreading the lips, lowering/raising the larynx, lowering/raising the soft palate, or by positioning the tongue in many ways. Mastering these resonance alterations is the very thing that can make your voice stand out and become ONE-OF-A-KIND!
Why is it sometimes so hard to say "I Love You"? After all, those 3 little words are what we desperately long to hear. They have the power to heal us, to uplift us, and to make us whole. Today is Valentine's Day. The day of Love. So, whether you're alone or you're with someone special - don't forget that you always have love in your life as a singer. Don't forget that the beauty you've been given. Don't forget to take time to tell your voice what it longs to hear from you. Can you do it? Even if it's hard? Can you say to your own voice: "I LOVE YOU."? After all. You and your voice are a match made in Heaven.
Often the way that we THINK about things affects the way we DO them. Therefore, it can be wise to choose your singing terminology carefully. Particularly if the word you choose has a negative impact on your vocal technique. For example, the term "Posture" often ends up causing rigidity. "Posture" is defined as "a position of a person's body when standing or sitting." Whereas "Body Alignment" has been defined as "optimal placement of the body parts". This subtle difference may seem like semantics. However, remaining physically static, tense, or rigid can have negative effects on the larynx, breathing, and resonance systems. So, try choosing a more specific descriptor like "Optimal Alignment", so that your body doesn't get locked into one fixed position. In all of vocal technique, choose your words wisely and free your body, mind, and soul!
A True Artist is someone who never asks when they are going to be "DONE". Or, when they are going to "MAKE IT". Or, when they are going to be a "GREAT SINGER". A True Artist is instead a LIFELONG LEARNER. Someone who isn't seeking an ending point, but rather seeking the endless Joy that comes from learning about their body, craft, and soul. Even the most elite artists continue to take voice lessons, listen to new music, and develop their craft. Being a lifelong learner doesn't mean that you'll never be "good enough" or that you shouldn't set goals! It just means that your True Goal should be much bigger than any ONE goal. Let this take the pressure off of you so that you can develop an Artistry that fulfills and satisfies for you... for LIFE!
Think for a moment about what happens when you blow into a bottle - a pitch is created! Larger bottles resonate lower pitches and smaller bottles resonate higher pitches. Our vocal tract (throat), is like these bottles in terms of resonance. As singers, we can change the size of our vocal tracts for better resonance throughout our range. We can alter vowels to resonate more efficiently in certain ranges where they may not naturally resonate so well. This is the basis for what is known as Vowel Modification. Vowel Modification often gets a bad rap because it's often exaggerated, making vowels sound strange and affected. The key to Vowel Modification is to fine-tune your resonance over time so that a clearer sound is made for less effort, while still maintaining intelligibility with your lyrics. Enjoy this vocal message-in-a-bottle!
Singing, acting, dancing, modeling, performing. In all of these crafts, how you see yourself and how you present yourself are vital. This is why PERFECTIONISM is the greatest enemy of performers. All of us have a desire deep down to look perfect, sound perfect, act perfect, and BE perfect. However, since this is unattainable, it frustrates and even DESTROYS our artistry and individuality. So, the next time you go onstage to perform - think about who YOU really are and how you are going to present yourself. Are you perfect? No. So, should you try to show perfection to your audience? No. What do you show them instead? Show them your self-expression, your work-in-progress craft, your beautiful weaknesses, and your SOUL... in that moment. Perfect.
Vocal PRACTICE. What does that really mean to you? Does it evoke feelings of something that's a chore, a task, a necessity, or a duty? If so, maybe think of another example of PRACTICE - A Yoga Practice. A Yogi "practicing" Yoga doesn't have a relationship of HARD WORK with their Practice. Instead, they enter into a sacred space. A space where they are FREE to move, play, breathe, explore, feel, experiment, fall down, lengthen, strengthen, tone, fail, succeed, and love. What if we saw our Vocal Practice this way as well? What if we saw our Practice as a very "imperfect", yet beautiful inner experience? If we did, we'd probably find a much greater Joy whenever practice time rolls around. In fact, we'd probably want to get to practicing right away! NAMASTE!
What's the key to success in the Music Industry? YOU. As an aspiring artist, you must understand who YOU are before prospering in the field. Don't let the industry compromise what makes your special. There will always a multitude of great artists out there. Yet, your originality is what keeps you grounded and sets you apart. Your productivity, your preparation, and your perseverance are completely up to YOU. Are you writing new music? Are you studying? Do you know what you're saying as an artist? Are you staying true to your heart, your uniqueness, and your Joy? The more specific you can be about your own gifts and goals, the more ready you are for success. No artist in history has ever had everything go according to plan. So, take control over the one thing in the Music Industry that you can control: YOU!
Before you walk into any high pressure situation, remind yourself: "I have the RIGHT to be here." A very common mistake that singers make is to APOLOGIZE for their work. Maybe they don't say the actual words "I'm sorry". But, their body language and mindset display an apologetic essence. "Sorry" if I'm not good enough. "Sorry" if I'm wasting your time. "Sorry" if I'm not what you're looking for. Throw that thinking away! Your voice, your talents, and your hard work earn you the RIGHT to shine! So, once you've earned it - OWN it! When you enter the audition room, the recording studio, or the stage, say to yourself: "This is MY time to GIVE my gifts to others." Then, watch how making this one little adjustment transforms the way your singing is perceived!