Joy in Singing
As vocalists, we are well aware of the frustrations that can come with the journey of singing! But, if we love it so much: why does it cause stress, anger, fear and other unpleasant emotions? There is one clear answer: BECAUSE WE CARE!
When we care about our art as vocalists, these negative feelings can come up as we judge ourselves. Our voice is a deep and central part of us. We are not as fortunate as the pianist or drummer that can step away from their instrument. Ours never leaves us (unless drastic surgical measures are taken… And we just won’t go there for this article).
So, how can a vocalist find JOY in their journey of singing? I am here to offer just a few ideas for you, but consider the question yourself and add to this list!
1 – Use the Throga guideline you’ve used for the vocal gym: LET GO!
When we are working in the vocal gym, we “let go” and do not force our vocal chords to respond before they are ready to do so. This is most easily done in flexibility exercises, and gets harder as we add more variables in other dimensions. If you find yourself upset about your progress, performance, or vocals in general, do yourself and your instrument a favor and LET IT GO! This requires a presence of the mind to know you’re ok. Your vocal instrument cannot be forced to meet your expectations on demand each and every time you ask for perfection from it.
2 – Take a break from the challenge and sing your favorite song.
If you are working hard on a new dimension, song, set, or genre, and you find yourself less than joyful – find time to sing your favorite stuff. Work your favorite dimension or song for a while until you feel lighter, happier, or clearer. Then head back to the challenge with pep in your step.
3 – Breathe!
Sounds so simple, right?! Don’t overlook what seems to be an obvious idea! Typically, most vocalists (and people in general) start breathing more shallowly when they are unhappy with their art. Emotions can take hold of our basic breathing flow. Holding the breath unintentionally is seen in babies and small children, leading to accidental loss of oxygen to the brain and therefore possibly resulting in passing out. This seems extreme, but as we age we are still prone to this behavior of shutting down the oxygen flow to the brain by taking shallow breaths. When you’re angry, people say “calm down and take a deep breath”. And when a person is anxious or afraid, holding the breath or rapid, shallow breathing typically ensues. So….my point? None of those scenarios sound like joy, do they? So, my fellow singers: breathe with intention, smile and sing on with joy!