Why do you sing? We ask this question not to encourage overly analytical thinking but to help identify and reinforce those positives within you that drive you to sing, to share, and to keep on striving to sing better.
Let’s face it, there will be times when you’ll hit a plateau in strengthening and training your voice. There will be times when the gigs just aren’t happening. You need to find a way to make these holding patterns a time of rest, nurturing, and even pampering yourself in some way.
Think about what usually happens when you hit a wall or reach a plateau of some sort. The first impulse for many people is to ask, what’s wrong? Why is this happening? Then that critical voice within begins to pick apart and tear down. That negative voice, or critic, operates very much like chemotherapy or radiation treatments when fighting cancer. It attacks and destroys the cancer cells, but it also kills the healthy cells in the process. What we want to do is provide a healthy positive shield of protection that allows you to stay focused and upbeat when working through creative plateaus. We want to give you tools to stay fresh when facing periods where the gigs aren’t happening. We want to help you remain hopeful and clear-headed when taking on a new challenge that requires patience and persistence.
We are now going to create a mini personal survival starter kit that you can refresh or change up whenever you feel the need. This kit will be an assortment of resources you can tap into wherever you are physically, emotionally, spiritually and creatively. We call this a starter kit because you are free to add whatever your voice tells you is needed to make things more enjoyable for you. Enjoyable is the operative word!
Let’s Get Started
Think about songs you love to sing. Let’s start with goofy songs, the ones that always make you laugh or smile. Don’t overload your system with too many choices. Just pick three songs that are just fun to sing because they make you laugh. You might even include a song you learned as a child that periodically comes to mind when you’re stressed or nostalgic or homesick or hungry. It could be a song from adolescence. You just want songs here that remind you of fun times and how much fun you have when you sing.
Next, think of three songs you like to sing because there is something in each of them that stretches or strengthens your voice in some way. You want these three songs to be those that give you a sense of accomplishment in working through them. These should be songs that you’ve mastered, but they always make you stretch or reach a little. They remind you of times when you couldn’t sing them. You could include the very first song that owned you for awhile until you were able to overtake it and make it yours. What you want here are three songs that give you a sense of achievement, that remind you of your growth as a singer.
Your Private Audience
Now, choose three people who love to hear you sing or who are fun to sing with. This is a tough one because part of what we’re looking for here is who it is you sing for. These people can be from any stage in your life. One could be a childhood friend or a favorite family member. It might be someone who’s passed on. It can be somebody you’d like to sing for, like a personal hero. It can be a spiritual guru, a church leader, or even God or your creator. What you want here is an audience of three that for whatever reason makes you want to share your singing voice. This will help you focus on what’s positive in your desire to sing. It also touches on that wonderful sense of make believe we often lose touch with as we allegedly mature.
A Sense Of Wonder
One of the healthiest things you can do as a singer is to rediscover and keep in touch with that sense of wonder and imagination that was rich and alive when you were a child. It will keep you open to possibilities for finding new gigs, reaching a new audience, adding new material to your repertoire, and strengthening your voice. It keeps you safe, free to be yourself and bravely pursue whatever you want. Change out or add to these three people as often as you like.
Finally, choose someone you know who you can share how you feel during rough times and what you’re learning from the use of your survival kit. This will give you an outside resource for validating the positive experience you are creating within. It can also be a time of comparing notes if it’s a fellow singer.
Prevention Before Intervention
It’s a clichÃ©, but an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure or even a ton or two! So what we suggest is indulging yourself at least once a week to sing at least one song of joy and one song of accomplishment for an audience of those you sing for in your heart and soul.
This will keep your creative spirit healthy and refreshed. It will help you stay positive when the tough times hit or the humdrums hang and threaten to bang you senseless. This will kept your creativity busy in a good way. It will keep you beating yourself up or picking yourself apart. It will help you build yourself up and maintaining a sense of peace about the pursuit of your dreams and singing success.