A couple years ago, I had a blog on the ways to deal with performance anxiety. More years teaching have passed and I’d like to think I’m a little older and wiser (maybe ????) about this heated topic. The truth is that extreme stage fright and thoughts like “I hate my singing voice”, usually comes from old wounds that have not healed around music and performance, and in order to really get past it, we need to address the hurts that triggered it in the first place.
I always say that my adult students can be some of the hardest to teach.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a fast paced, information packed lesson where we can right to the crux of the issue. We don’t have to use games, toys and other revelry. Although playtime certainly has its perks, progress with adults is generally swift and lasting. They are self-motivated (“learning to sing has always been on my bucket list”) and fully grasp the importance of consistent practice and focus during lessons (“I used to play piano as a kid, but I didn’t really take practice seriously, and now I’m ready.”)
But adults have one thing kids generally don’t have when it comes to music: baggage.
In lessons, they hurl insults at themselves, use self-deprecating humor, and even assume I am gritting my teeth, secretly judging them. Many of them inform me, to my surprise, that my tender ears must have been assaulted by their offensive voice! That I must be just counting down the minutes until I can run out of the room! (“I know you must be thinking, ‘oh my god, what did I just get myself into’ and you probably think ‘I can’t wait to get out of here!’…I wouldn’t blame you if you needed to cover your ears! I know I’m a lost cause.’”)
Meanwhile I was just about to tell them how awesome their breathing was going.
What’s the saying like? Something about “would you talk to your best friend that way?”
Be kind to yourself. Be loving to yourself and realize you are learning. Celebrate every little victory. At the end of the day, mastering your voice is just a matter of understanding muscles and vibration. It’s not magic, and I promise you it’s NOT reserved for an elite few. Don’t believe me? Check out our comprehensive video called: introduction to voice, and learn the science behind proper vocal production.