Life Lessons To Supplement Singing Lesson

Each day you face many opportunities to explore for gaining knowledge and experience that will help to prepare you to engage your singing success to its fullest potential.

Your local school system from Pre-Kindergarten through adult education and college can provide opportunities for you to assist with music programs in a variety of capacities. Teachers may need classroom support for special projects. You can volunteer to assist with planning and preparation for events and programs.

Opportunities To Perform

Each school environment creates its own unique set of needs and opportunities, as does each community. If you’re looking for some live performance experience, there are a number of places to consider that will give you some exposure, help you test your wings, provide a forum for feedback, and can even lay the groundwork for some paying gigs. It’s also a great way to network.

Many businesses look for entertainment for meetings, conferences, product promotion, and for special occasions. The jobs may not pay much or might even pay nothing at all. But it’s a great way to keep learning, work on live performance skills, grow your confidence and comfort levels, and make a contribution to your community by honoring your gifts.

Paying Forward

“Ah…unpaid jobs!!! I can't tell you how many times I was given amazing opportunities to teach or perform with a $0 paycheck,” said BMA vocal coach Shelby Rollins. “If I had turned them down just because I was always trying to set a standard, I wouldn't have nearly the amount of experience or skill that I have now. There comes a time when you do have to start requiring a fee – no doubt, but don't despise small beginnings. You never know who you will meet, who will appreciate your servitude, attitude, and capabilities, or who may pay you down the road. If you’re not willing to do it for free, you may not love it enough anyway.”

Staying Power

Shelby makes a very key point that is a great gauge for potential staying power and ultimate success. The reward must ultimately come from sharing and caring for the gift you have as a singer, singer-songwriter, singing musician, or performer.

Times will get tough, but if you truly love it enough, what’s rough becomes smooth sailing because your passion for your gift is what drives you. And feeding your compassion through service seasons your spirit and makes the ego issues easier to put in perspective.

Open Your Gifts

Zuke Smith of Brett Manning Studios: East Coast encourages her students to pursue opportunities to grow their gifts as the shake them up, unwrapping them, and take them out for play in their respective community.

“You can sing in nursing homes, children's hospitals, grade schools, at family get-togethers,” Zuke said. “You can audition. You can sing in your school choir or in your church choir. There are clubs with karaoke. I encourage my middle and high school students to organize singing parties.”

Starring Role Models

There is also great value in looking at the singers you admire most. You can do research to find out what challenges they faced, who they studied with, and when they had their first success.

“My all time favorite vocalist is Eva Cassidy,” said Shelby. “She is the epitome of subtlety. Less is more, and she showcases this so well. Yet, at the same time, she has more power and texture in her voice than 99 percent of people in this world. She cannot be topped in my world! Singers can learn immensely from her!”

Eva Cassidy

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Eva Cassidy, you might have heard her version of Sting’s song, “Fields of Golds” when Michelle Kwan skated to it at the 2002 Winter Olympics showcase in Salt Lake City on the Sunday after the competition.

Kwan, who had won the bronze medal, tearfully and elegantly skated to Eva Cassidy’s haunting, deeply spiritual rendition.

Eva Cassidy died in 1996, from melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Her music was little-known during her 33 years of life, with the exception of those into the music scene in the Washington, D.C. area.

Today, Eva Cassidy’s soul-stirring voice is reaching people all over the world, and she’s been a top selling artist in the United Kingdom for some time.

The Top 100

In November 2008, Rolling Stone released its list of those considered to be the 100 greatest singers of all time. The top 20 were Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Paul McCartney, Little Richard, Roy Orbison, Al Green, Robert Plant, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Freddie Mercury, Bob Marley, and Smokey Robinson. The list also included Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, Muddy Waters and B.B. King, Dusty Springfield, Joni Mitchell, Karen Carpenter, Van Morrison, and the more names you saw, the more you thought of that should be included. Reading the list triggers thoughts of greatness and feelings of things that inspire a singer to risk ridicule and rejection for the sake of a song.

“I recommend a smorgasbord of singers for all kinds of reasons,” Zuke said. “Cecilia Bartoli…Tiny Tim…Kate Bush…Inuit Throat Singing…Eduard Khil…Ethel Merman…Dean Martin…Shreya Ghoshal…Nana Mouskouri…there are just too many to mention! But they are all true to themselves.”

For Zuke, being true to your unique gift is the key to real singing success.

Brett Manning Enhances

Brett Manning and his trained certified associates honor the unique giftedness of each individual. The goal is not to change your voice. The number one objective is to enhance the voice so that the gift is opened, engaged, and shared to its fullest and highest.

So look for opportunities to hone your craft while serving your community and study your singing role models for inspiration, and to further refine or define your image or sound.

Set High Standards

Share your performance stories with others at via the forums and talk about what criteria determines the greatness of a singer. Set high standards for yourself and use your role models and heroes as points of reference, aspirations, and encouragement. Check out the YouTube videos for Singing Success and make a daily commitment to use the tools provided by Brett Manning and his associates to deliver the promised full potential of your unique singing success.

Shelby Rollins

To learn more about Brett Manning Associate and vocal coach Shelby Rollins, visit Shelby Rollins is available for vocal lessons either in-person in Nashville, over the phone, or via Skype. Please email or call (615) 866-1099 to inquire about or schedule a lesson!

Deborah “Zuke” Smith

Zuke is a renowned music copyist, piano teacher, songwriter, vocal coach, and self-proclaimed “East coast chick,” who credits Brett Manning’s Singing Success with not only saving her life but forever changing it for the very best it can be. In 2000 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and braved the brutal battery of tests, surgeries, chemotherapy, post chemo drug regimen and physical therapy. She believes that Brett Manning’s programs and method are absolutely essential to bringing out the full potential in any voice. Visit her website at