Mental preparation is vital to singing.
Before you even sing a note, it is important to calm your mind and focus on the task at hand, whether you are performing on the West End, about to take a lesson or have never sung before.
An anxious mind, a busy mind or an unsettled mind will not contribute beneficially to a good singing session or, most importantly, to your relationship with your voice.
Imagine every time you sing or put any demands on your voice, you feel stressed and unrelaxed beforehand and during the session. Over time, your mind and body will begin to link together your use of voice with the experience of being stressed via ‘associative learning’…habitually you are pairing the act of singing with a negative psychological state!
If this continues, your body can get used to this dangerous association and automatically begin to pump cortisol and other stress hormones into your endocrine system when you put any pressure on your vocal chords. This can cause tension, crippling nerves and contribute to a lack of confidence.
And think about it, before setting yourself ANY challenge or task, it is vital to do so with focus, calm and clarity. Moreover, with the voice being an emotional outlet for how you are feeling and a major form of communication, it is vital to relax and clear you mind prior to any singing session, particularly if you are feeling nervous.
So, you ask, how do I relax?
Relaxation methods are expansive and accessible everywhere these days, from mindfullness apps on your phone to online hypnosis, yoga classes and meditation. There are so many options out there that choosing how to relax is sometimes stressful in itself!
If you have a process which works for you, BRILLIANT. Well done! Exercise this habitually before you sing.
If not, I have found the following routine really works for me as a vocal coach, and also as a performer. But you’re going to need a little C – H- E – E – K….
C – CHOOSE your place of relaxation. It can be anywhere and with anyone. Alone at your home, with friends at a coffee shop….sometimes before auditions, I find myself in the nearest WC!
H – HONE what is entering your mind to quieten anything you don’t want to be there; your fears, your crazy-busy morning, your evening plans ahead – don’t allow these to distract you from the present.
E – ENGAGE in your body, closing off the outside world and listening to your heartbeat, feeling the rise and fall of your chest, and focusing on every part of your body individually.
E – ENERGIZE yourself thinking of your aims and goals for your voice, and how your body and clear mind are going to help your achieve these.
K – KNOW that you are capable of anything you set your mind to.
Follow these steps, and I can guarantee your mind and voice will reap the benefits!
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