Two huge challenges that many singers face are nerves or stage fright and distractions that can hamper communication, memory and focus. Both of these areas can be addressed by improving concentration as part of the rehearsal process and even as part of warming up just before a performance. Your ability to effectively communicate demands you’re your ability to concentrate be second nature.
There are a number of performance distractions that can occur, such as crowd noise, hecklers, crying babies or whining adults. There may be environmental sounds such as air or rail traffic depending on the venue’s proximity to an airport or train tracks. If the venue is outdoors there can be nature sounds vying for attention as well. If playing in a venue where food is served, there is clinking glass, orders being shouted, blenders buzzing, dishes being dropped, and lots of foot traffic. Harsh lighting, poorly focused lighting, or no lighting at all can even threaten to throw you off your game.
But don’t fret. There are some things you can do to improve your concentration so that it is as second nature as generators and emergency lights kicking in when the power suddenly goes out.
Rehearse With Distractions
The first exercise works best if you have a few wacky but very patient friends to help create distractions. But before you start be ready to run your full set through quickly either in your head or out loud. It doesn’t have to be at full voice.
As you run through your material without stopping, make sure you have at least a television and radio both running simultaneously just loud enough to be annoying. Your friends are to carry bright flashlights to periodically shine on you at close range. Any kind of stage lighting you have access to should be in operation periodically to provide further visual distractions.
Friends As Obstacles
Something that works really well is having your friends engage in bouncing a basketball back and forth to each other or pitching a softball in a game of catch. The point is to create as much visual and auditory distractions along with the constant buzz from the radio and TV.
Your goal is to stay focused on your material. The exercise is over once your set is complete. You can do variations on this exercise, even appointing one person to be your audience as you sing to them. Otherwise you can perform the exercise by simply running your set through your head. In fact the simplest version of this exercise would be to perform for an audience of one with room noise and visual distractions preset and running.
Less Elaborate Variations
Another exercise is a variation on the “distraction production.” In this exercise you begin your set and each time a distraction interferes or stops you, you back up and start over. This forces you to not want to stop and concentrate harder. Another variation is to have someone make notes on what distracted you while you push through, recover and reconnect, working your way through your set.
You want to work through several variations on this technique so that concentration and communication become second nature. When these two forces work together you gain confidence, and with those three skills secure and sharpened there really is no room for nerves.
The Song As Conversation
There is another rehearsal exercise you can indulge to improve communication and concentration. This can also help you hone your interpretive skills as a singer. Take the lyrics of songs in your sets and recite them as poetry or better still deliver them as one-on-one conversation. Depending on the song it might be a plea for understanding or comfort while facing tough times. It could be an outcry for justice or revenge. It might be a confession of love or an invitation for something intimate or risky. This will help you understand the message your song is designed to communicate.
There are many simple exercises you can do to help with concentration, communication, and confidence that aren’t as elaborate. These easy exercises work on improving your ability to focus and concentrate while keeping your mind supple. To see these simple exercises visit www.successconsciousness.com. Remember that concentration, communication and confidence are vital to your singing success.