ARE YOU GETTING TRIPPED UP BY YOUR NEGATIVE SINGER MINDSET?
Have you ever attended a singing class where you already feel defeated before you’ve even started? Felt unworthy or just down on yourself and your voice? Where it was easier to make excuses as to why you hadn’t practiced or can’t get that note? Prematurely talking yourself out of singing a difficult phrase, before even giving it a go? Apologizing excessively after each and every scale and or just consistently and harshly criticizing your voice? Whilst negative self-talk, uncomplimentary narrative and limiting beliefs are generally a harmful habit for most of us, they can be particularly damaging for a singer.
As singers, our mindsets and the habitual ways we think about ourselves, our abilities, our peers and our profession play a huge part in the quality of our vocal output and can limit our learning growth. As a teacher and a singer, I have witnessed and experienced various levels of vocal fear and anxiety ranging from mild to debilitating and through a lot of reading, reflection and practice have found the following tips to be very helpful in alleviating some of these anxieties, fears and negative thoughts.
ADDRESS AND REFRAME
As uncomfortable as it is, it’s important from time to time take stock of our negative inner voice writing down our internal fears no matter how small or insignificant you think they are. Write a list of your negative thoughts and mindfully reframe the statement to a positive statement that you feel comfortable expressing.
“I’m a terrible singer. Who’s going to want to hear my voice?”
“I have a special and unique voice that will touch someone in the audience like no other voice will.”
“I wish I had the voice and career ____ person has”
”I define success for myself and trust that impact does not correlate with fame.”
“I am never going to sing that note right.”
“If I apply myself daily and look after my voice, it will only be a matter of time before I reach my goal note.”
CREATE A MANTRA
Write down a singing mantra; a motivating chant that you can repeat to yourself over and over before you know you have to sing. Whether it be one to calm your nerves or fire you up, find a phrase that resonates with you and get used to reciting it before you are ready to vocalize.
Negative talk loves to rear its ugly head when we find ourselves unprepared. You are more likely to produce the quality of sound and performance that makes you happy, when you know that you have put in the rehearsal hours.
LEARN ABOUT YOUR VOICE AND ITS MECHANICS
The voice and its mechanics are no longer a mystery and with the invention of the laryngoscope, doctors and vocal specialists are learning more about the voice daily. Be inquisitive and immerse yourself in all the online resources or ask your teacher about how it all works. You are likely to be less fearful, if you understand the mechanism that is producing your sound.
Breathing can get you through anything! No, really, read that again, breathing can get you through anything!!!! Learn about the breathing mechanism and practice your diaphragmatic breathing as if you would any other scale. It’s a muscle that needs to be worked and your ultimate power source, so it’s important to connect with it.
TAKE YOUR TIME
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and almost every singer will tell you that getting better is not an overnight thing. You are working with an internal instrument which will be affected by internal and external factors so be kind to it, and give your vocals the love and attention needed to become better.
RECORD YOUR VOICE
It’s only when you become at peace with your own sound that you will feel a lot more confident exposing it others. Get used to recording your voice and listening to its progress after daily practice.
The truth is, changing your mindset takes practice as you look at rewiring years of negative behaviors and neuropaths, but as you become better at unravelling the negativity, you will see and feel yourself become unstuck – and this transformation will see you move forward as a singer, and as an artist. You’ve got this.
Happy singing, learning and loving your art.