One of the challenges many singers face deals with concentration, and it’s not only during live performance. Some singers resist rehearsing or don’t fully commit. Then, they wonder why they’re performances are shaky or uneven in quality.
Go For A Walk
The following exercise will help improve memory and concentration whether you’re getting ready for a gig, testing out some new songs, or simply refining material for a song set. The exercise is flexible enough to adapt to a number of settings, as well as vary elements in its approach. In its purest form, you go for a walk and sing the songs through in your head, as if you’re engaged in a live performance.
The Park – The Mall
You can listen to prerecorded tracks for the songs as you do your walk; but ideally, you run the songs through, one right after another, in your head, as you walk or run or do a combination of both in a public outdoor or indoor setting. You might choose to walk in the mall or the park. You might pick a neighborhood that’s nearby the venue where you’ll perform or is close to the venue where you’re hoping to get booked.
Step Out – Play Within
You can start your internal concert the minute you step out the door and sing throughout your drive to the place of your walk or run, or you can start it at that location. But once you start, the objective is to get through the entire set of songs without stopping.
Review + Critique
Then, when you get back home, grab a notepad or notebook, however you normally journal or blog, and write what you recall seeing, hearing, smelling, sensing – any memories associated with each song from your walk.
Maybe you were singing an up tempo declaration of love while jogging in the park but saw a couple arguing or possibly a homeless person begging for change. Make notes on everything that stands out from your walk.
Play Through Again
As you write your notes, let each song play through again. Note any points of stumbling or struggling to remember or simply losing focus. Then, once your notes are completed, go back and consider the reasons why you stumbled or lost focus.
Assess + Address
Maybe it’s a song that’s not a good fit. Maybe you were tired. It’s important to acknowledge parts of any songs that got away from you on the walk. Sing the song to yourself out loud, and see if you feel connected, understand the song, and want to include it in your song set. It may simply need more rehearsal time or need to be shelved.
Sing To Specifics
If you’re in an outdoor setting, you can use the exercise to “sing to creation or nature.” In a crowded environment, you can chose specific people that catch your eye to be the subject of a song or the person you’re singing to.
Your Personal Film Score
The music runs like a film or TV score, reinforcing feelings, themes, character moments, and plot twists. The more you engage this exercise, the more fun you can have with framing it.
You can even engage this exercise as part of working out. In that case you will make note of each song’s impact on your workout, as well as images and feelings that came to mind. The exercise gets you into an external physical environment while relying on your voice and its creative expression to carry you through.
As you work through your song set you will naturally make connections with the location of your walk or run. It gears your brain to be more observant, adaptable, flexible, and open to reception or acceptance. This helps to prepare you for relating to strangers in a venue outside of your rehearsal space.