Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Summer Singing Programs and Summer Voice Lessons

Why should you continue voice lessons or participate in a singing program over the summer months?  Many of us focus on our craft only during the school year and want to take a break from everything over the summer.  Why is this counterintuitive?  Think about all of the hard work you have put in over the year.  How much has your singing voice grown?  How much confidence have you gained in yourself and your singing? 

Taking a pause of 3-4 months after all of that hard work can cause you to take a few steps backward or forget some of what you learned.  Think about it, that's why schools always give summer reading and summer math work, why not summer singing work?  When you train to run a 5K or a marathon, when you stop running for a few months, you lose some of your physical stamina.  Singing lessons are both physical and mental training.

A few lessons spread out throughout the summer months may keep you in check and motivated, but a Summer Singing Program may do wonders for your singing voice.  Why?

- You are continuing to build upon your current skills in your slightly more relaxed schedule (no pressures of regular school day and homework and as a working adult often work demands lesson a little in the summer months).

-If the summer program includes individual voice lessons, you continue your focus on improving YOUR singing voice.

- You often have more time to dedicate to practice (if you discipline yourself to do so).

- Summer programs are often more intense therefore learning more in a shorter time span.

-Many summer programs add working not only singing, but add acting and dancing to the "Triple Threat" of what is needed for Musical Theater.

Do your research for what type of summer vocal study you think will be best for you. Do you need to work on your singing skills?  Do you need to develop more confidence?  Do you need to add songs to your audition book?  Will a focus on these things benefit you more than being in the chorus of a larger summer production? Can you take voice lessons and do a summer production as well to maximize your learning while not worrying about your math and science studies?  Concentrating on your needs and developing your weaker areas in the summer months may be the key for you attaining your school year singing goals. 

Find out more about summer voice study in your area.  Join my Summer Musical Theater Series at www.susanandersbrizick.com and register today

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Musical Performance Anxiety and How to Overcome it! Perform! (Part 5 of 5)

Musical Performance Anxiety and How to Overcome it! Accomplish that Goal.  (Part 5 of 5)

Approach the Hurdle and Perform

Are you still avoiding practicing or not putting yourself in any performance situation? Start small and sing for your teacher without criticism.  Sing for your mom or your dad or daughter.  Sing next for another student in your voice studio.   Sing a in a masterclass for your voice studio.  Sing in an "Informal Recital" or Studio Masterclass. Take baby steps.  Find someone you trust to help you and walk you through the different ways one can work through performance anxiety and your singing.

A few words from those who have been there and overcome:

To find my niches, I had to overcome my inner critic. Because of the way I was reared, I had low self-esteem and always thought of myself as not good enough. I was afraid of making mistakes. Slowly I learned that playing without mistakes is not the goal. The goal is to be in joy. As Stephanie Judy said in her book, "Your own music is the child of your heart, and you are entitled to love it, not because it's good, but because it's a part of you."  http://PerformConfidently.com

In conclusion, complete preparation of the repertoire is the first step.  The better a person ‘knows their stuff’ and truly can communicate the story of the song or become the character in the song, the less nerves will play a role.  The perfectionism of being a musician and the detailed study we endure are what enable us to create beautiful music.  Do not allow it to get inside your head and stop your creative inner being!  Take a moment and think about why you sing.  The music is a part of you.  With the help of your voice teacher, connections to your body and mind (through yoga, meditation, visualization or other means) help you achieve your goals to sing and share the music of your soul.

How have you survived your journey with performance anxiety? Please let me know how this series was helpful or email me with questions.  Sign up to receive my blog for more informational topics about all things related to singing!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Musical Performance Anxiety and How to Overcome it! Improvise! (Part 4 of 5)

Musical Performance Anxiety and How to Overcome it! Accomplish that Goal.  (Part 4 of 5)


Take a moment and think outside the box.  If there are no wrong notes, how can you be nervous about what you are singing?  Improvising a melody or complete song with words is something most of us did when we were kids.  There is no right or wrong, therefore it is freeing for the voice.  The voice should feel less stressed and you are free to be more creative.  You can enjoy the process of singing more and turn off the voices of right and wrong inside your head (Ann Baltz).  Just enjoy a made-up or well-known melody.

How do you get there?  A step towards improvisation is using Attitude or Feeling cards to pick a few feelings you would express in a song.  For example: fear, love, anger.  Sing a song from your repertoire expressing those feelings at certain points in the music.  Note how it changes the character of the piece and what happens inside of you.  Think more about the emotion than your technique. 

Next, improvise songs using non-sense words.  “Turn off the critical voice and just be in the moment”.  E.Denham   

It is a challenge to improvise at first, but give it a try.  There can be no failure and you can become inspired.  Think of it this way- life is an improvisation.  Try to step out of your box and reach new heights as musicians and human beings. 


Now go back to practicing your repertoire using feeling cards or add emotion tags into your music.  How does it change your song?  How does it change your musical performance anxiety?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Musical Performance Anxiety and How to Overcome it! (Part 3 of 5)

Performance Anxiety and How to Overcome it! Accomplish that Goal.  (Part 3 of 5)

Approach Mind Over Matter Then Approach the Physical Hurdle 

Listen to the accompaniment and look at your music and imagine yourself singing it perfectly in your mind. Think through the whole piece. When you practice and rehearse music in your imagination without actually singing, you establish neural pathways (brain functions) required to firmly embed something in your mind. This helps with wear and tear on your vocal folds if you are intense rehearsals or if you are sick. You can choose to do it perfectly in your imagination and it gives you a sense of ease and relaxation.   

Imagine performing your piece without actually singing.  Use the power of imagination to solve technical, vocal, and artistic problems. The right side of your brain controls the images and the left side of the brain utilizes the instruction. Try to let the images take over. Visualization just like the calm of yoga can take you a lot further. 

Now, actually sing it.  Did it make a difference?  It should.  Why?

It is a scientific fact that your nervous system cannot tell the difference between real and imagined events.  If you feel anxious about a section of your song and you imagine the sound you want to hear while the accompaniment is playing a few times and then sing it, the tension drops and the sound is more free and relaxed.  "A pathway opens to discover talents you already posses." says Matthew Stansfield.

Students of "The Think Method" learn that the ability to grow lies within themselves and their own imagination if they take the time to use it creatively," states David Aks.  What a wonderful thought that we have the power to control our success if we use our brains and route ourselves in solid, founded technique!  With guidance from a voice teacher, you can overcome these troubles.

This is not a substitute for physical practice because you must build muscles and muscle memory to build solid technique, but if you have solid technique and you still have trouble, try visualization.   We may be standing in our own way by thinking too much (especially about our nerves!).

Comments from http://www.classicalsinger.com/magazine/article.php?id=2287

How can you "think" your way out of musical performance anxiety?