One of the things you pick up almost immediately after talking with Brett Manning, or with any of his certified associates, is that developing your full potential as a singer requires a holistic approach. You are more than a voice. That voice that delivers the message of a song represents the heart, mind, body, and soul of an artist.
What is fully communicated is really all about cultivating a healthy relationship internally between those elements for the artist, and then externally relating those elements to the audience. In other words, the clearest, most powerful messages are communicated or related by an artist that is in tune with the heartfelt, mindful, physical and spiritual aspects of what is required to relay the message.
BMA vocal coach Dave Brooks sees his role as one of not just finding and refining the voice but one of growing and shaping the artist. That holistic approach to artist development not only focuses on bringing out the full potential of the voice, but also sharpens and strengthens image, confidence, stage presence, stamina, quick thinking, adaptability, self-discipline, sticking to commitments – the list goes on and on.
“We are not just about technique coaching or stylization or lyrical interpretation,” Dave said. “We’re also about developing the artist as a whole and educating them about the business. One of the things we do is to determine where an individual is in their developmental process, and then we help them find the next step toward moving forward in their career goals as a singer.”
Here are a few tips and observations on taking care of the artist in you – heart, mind, body, and soul.
Think about the impact that physical health has on performance. If you have limited stamina, bad posture, poor nutrition, horrible eating habits – you will not perform at an optimal level. If you don’t sleep for six to eight hours each day, it will catch up with you, and you’ll eventually burn out or even strain or damage your voice because you’re pushing harder to find energy, dexterity, or chops that you simply can’t engage when you’re fried or resources are depleted.
Sufficient sleep and rest periods throughout a busy day are critical. Proper nutrition with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are vital. Exercise that requires stamina, such as walking or biking, is also key. Keep away from smoking and singing in a smoky environment. This will also cause serious damage to your vocal chords.
Something as seemingly simple as posture has a profound impact on how you relate to the song you’re singing and to the audience. It will also affect what you think and feel on and off stage or in and out of the recording studio. Whenever you practice or rehearse, stand! Keep your back straight, shoulders down and your head straight. You don’t want to hold your head too high or too low because it will impact your larynx.
Emotions play a pivotal role for the artist as singer and communicator and for the audience as listener and receiver of the message. They are vital to evoking that unexpected surge of emotion that takes the singer and audience across rivers of tears, up mountains of inspiration, or hang-gliding joyfully into the heavens.
BMA coach Chris Keller looks for the unexpected in his students. He works to bring them to those moments of strong emotional connection that lead to true artistry and deepen the connection between singer and song.
“I want to make each student a better singer, a better artist,” he said. “I want them to pull people into the music and turn a song into something that’s fun to sing. I want people to enjoy singing because they’re really good at it.”
He works patiently to push his students to breakthroughs and to heighten their journeys through the emotional plateaus.
Keeping the heart healthy from an emotional standpoint requires a mix of periods of relaxation interspersed with workouts of material that engage specific feelings such as sorrow, joy, or anger. A great exercise is to take one song and sing it different ways to work out a variety of emotions. For example, sing “The Impossible Dream” as an impassioned angry call to action, and then sing it as a tearful cry to heaven for help. Let yourself engage emotions freely with periods of rest in between.
On a personal level, this will help you release feelings you may have a tendency to bottle up. You want to be free to engage and convey emotions without anything blocking you or standing in your way.
Positive thinking leads to clearer thinking, but that’s often easier said than done. Visualization and giving yourself permission to daydream can help keep your mind open, supple, and receptive.
What you think of a song as well as your understanding of what a song is saying will impact your performance and affect the clarity of the message you are communicating. That relationship between the song and the singer is held in check by the mind. The more you read over lyrics as love letters or conversations and look for the underlying message the stronger your interpretive skills will become as a singer. It will also impact your phrasing and tone.
Your mind also responds to vocal technique and training. It requires a lot of disciplined, directed self-talk to work through exercises, changes in approach, and recovery from bad experiences.
BMA vocal coach Jesse Nemitz clearly understands the frustrations a singer may have with grasping technique, especially if you’re in a coaching or learning situation where you either have been getting the wrong advice or you’re missing critical pieces of information that you need to help you grow and sing correctly. One of the reasons he can teach Brett Manning’s exercises and techniques so effortlessly is because of having worked through frustrations from previous misdirected training before coming to Brett.
“I literally started from scratch, with tone, resonance, vibrato, lyrical quality” he said. “There was no worse singer than me. I had poor tone, no compression. I was totally out of control. I understand this process. I can break it down and help singers work with it. It’s fun. It’s exciting. I can relate to my students because I’ve been there.”
He understands the importance of focusing the mind on the task at hand and not thinking too much but simply doing. Jesse knows that focusing the mind keeps you on point and helps you balance thoughts with feelings about the physical aspects of technique from breathing to posture to sound.
For many artists creativity is a spiritual experience. In its simplest form, singing is a gift from the Creator and is a gift to the audience. By simply giving thanks for that gift something is engaged that is bigger than who you are as a singer. By giving thanks for songs to sing and for audiences to entertain, you as a singer can at once be both truly humbled and deeply honored.
Brett Manning counts this spiritual relationship as the cornerstone for true, lasting growth and development of the artist as communicator. Part of what drives him is his desire to give singers more sounds, textures, and colors to work with. His Singing Success and Mastering Mix programs provide tools that drive the spirit, feed the mind, fuel the body, and open the heart of the artist to its fullest potential.
“When we genuinely give, we get back far more in return than we could ever imagine,” he said. “There is such profound satisfaction that presents itself in the act of giving. It’s really like breathing out from the spirit. When love is the underlying force that drives what you do, that love is returned from God, and it really does bear good fruit.”
Brett Manning and his associates understand that each individual is unique and that no two voices sound alike or will have the exact same impact on an audience. Mastering Mix and all other programs developed by Brett Manning are designed to support and enhance your unique voice and grow it to its brightest hues, deepest shades, and richest tones.
Give yourself permission to grow as an artist in mind, body, heart, and spirit with the programs and tools Brett Manning continues to create and deliver. Invest in his latest stellar program – Mastering Mix! These programs work for you because Brett and his associates can personally relate to your struggles, challenges, and dreams for success!