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Singers sing too much

Controversial opinion:  Singers sing too much.

“But that’s my job!”

Yes, but you don’t only sing when you’re getting paid, do you? You sing for lessons, you sing for coachings, you sing while you’re learning the notes and words and rhythms.  

You sing and you sing and you sing as a means for learning repertoire, fixing technique and getting things “into your body”.

But all that singing probably isn’t doing you the favors you think it is.  It’s easy to get stuck in a loop where you’re singing the same thing over and over again to try and “fix it”, but it’s likely you’re building in more bad habits than good.

And then you sing even though you’re tired.  You sing even when you’re sick.  You push yourself to sing a little bit more just to prove that you can hit that note or hold that phrase or finish the piece.

It’s so much singing!  But is it valuable and sustainable for your performances?

I think a lot of this stems from the fact that, as musicians, we’re constantly around other musicians who practice for HOURS and there’s this inherent sense of singers being lesser musicians.

Because we don’t practice as much?  Because our instruments aren’t as precise?  

Because our emotional empathy is more important than our intellectual prowess?

There are endless reasons that singers feel the need to prove themselves through practice, but I’ve reached the point in my singing life where I’ve realized I sing better and get more valuable work done when I’m NOT singing.

When you have a really clear and efficient approach to singing and performing you simply don’t need to sing all that much. 

Not singing can be a boon for your whole system. 

More time for rest. 

More time for your brain to process and integrate. 

More time for your imagination to create more meaningful art. 

When I started to come back to singing after having a child, I couldn’t spend all that much time singing.  I was tired, my body was spent, my nervous system was a wreck, I had very little time, and singing itself felt awful.

I knew that the only way I could get back to singing was by “doing the thing” but how do you sing when singing feels painful?

I couldn’t bring myself to force it so I would do little sprints.  I’d sing for a few minutes and stop once it started getting uncomfortable.  It was incredibly slow and it didn’t really feel like I was getting very far.

I had heard about audiation before - a way to hear the music inside your head and use that as a way to start building neural pathways or “muscle memory” - but I hadn’t used it in practice much as I hadn’t needed to.

I quickly realized that this tool can create tremendous amounts of change when used correctly.  You see, it’s not just about hearing the sounds, it’s about feeling them.  Utilizing your whole body sensory system to create optimal conditions for sound.

Your whole body is your instrument so your whole body is involved in producing sound.

Lightbulb moment: 

I don’t have to sing or phonate in order to start building these neural pathways in my body!

I started with full body resonance and used that as a way to prepare my body and awaken my body to the sensations I wanted to feel while singing.  I did this while reading stories to my son.  I did this lying in bed.  I did this while driving the car.  

Finally an exercise that I didn’t need to dedicate a tremendous amount of time and space for!

As I got more comfortable incorporating my body again I started to think about what performing actually felt like - reminding myself how joyous being onstage can be.  The layers of imagination that you can build in is absolutely delightful!  But I noticed something else… my body was responding to the idea of being onstage.

I was building in performance-ready practice without having to make a sound.  

My nervous system was acclimating to the stimulation and excitement of being onstage and my body was organizing to the acoustic properties of whatever room/stage I wanted to sing in.

[There’s a side post I’ll need to follow-up on about tuning to the resonance of a room, but suffice to say when you’re standing on a stage with an audience you look and move and feel different than when you’re practicing in a tiny practice room.]

Suddenly, I was singing like never before.  I wasn’t tinkering with technique issues, I was simply imagining the performance I wanted to give and how that felt in my body and allowing my body to take care of the rest!

Eventually I moved into finessing technical issues using these principles and now we’re really flying.  I’m singing better than ever before and I truly and honestly don’t sing or practice all that much.

And when I do it’s incredibly precise and extremely enjoyable!

So if you’ve been looking for a way to get back to singing or improve your singing without taxing your voice - this is the JUICE!

I’m offering the Embodied Practice workshop to explore these three principles and give you a taste of what’s available when you start singing less.

Find details here:


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