Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Sing with Confidence: Helpful singing tips for vocalists

Feeling nervous about an upcoming performance? It’s a completely normal feeling! Getting used to being in the spotlight takes time. Learn how to sing with confidence using the tips in this article. 

How often do you listen to your favorite bands and pop stars and imagine yourself in their place, singing to an adoring crowd? Lots of people dream of unleashing their inner rock/pop star, but few actually take the bold step of doing so in real life. It takes a lot of courage to learn how to sing and, whether you’re an experienced performing artist or planning your on-stage debut, it’s always helpful to practice a few tips and tricks that will help make your performance the best it can be. 

1) Be Patient--Give Yourself a Minute
It’s natural to get nervous or feel overwhelming anxiety before you perform. This simply means that you care about what you’re about to do! The problem is, anxiety tricks your body into a fight or flight state—your heart beats faster, your breath quickens, and your muscles tense up.

When this happens, find a quiet place, close your eyes, and take a slow, deep breath. Hold it in for 10 seconds and then let it out. Repeat 2-3 times until your heart rate slows. A shorter version of this is helpful on stage, too. Take a second before your song starts (your audience won’t mind a 5-second delay) to center yourself and it will make *all* the difference.

2) Practice Often and Be Technically Prepared
Think of practicing as an insurance policy for you voice--the more you practice, the more you know your voice. The more you know your voice, the more confident you are singing in any situation. Preparation is the backbone of self-confidence.

Well ahead of your performance, think about your strengths and weaknesses, and work with your voice teacher to create a plan so that you feel fully prepared. Fumbling around with your instrument? Practice your piano or guitar parts until they become muscle memory. Worried about forgetting lyrics? Hand write them over and over until you don’t have to think about them. Not feeling vocally consistent? Break down the issue with your instructor in lessons leading up to the performance. Feeling like your song just isn’t clicking? Workshop them with a mentor or fellow musician. At North Main Music, we host Performance Workshops a couple of weeks before our student concerts, to give performers an opportunity to test out their song ahead of time and get valuable feedback from the workshop facilitators and attendees. 

Most importantly, be sure to warm up your voice on performance day!

3) Take Risks
You may have heard the quote, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” When applied to singing, the same rings true!

We often hear this voice in our head when we first start singing that sounds much different than the voice that actually comes out. When applying the building blocks in practicing scales, exercises, and simple tones and in mastering them one step at a time, we then feel comfortable enough to take risks in the creation and formulation of new exercises. If you hear something in your head, but don’t know exactly how to create the sounds, try anyway. 
Taking risks in singing means stepping into uncharted waters of sound and testing all of the different sounds available to you. This can be as simple as humming a line to your favorite song out loud.

Every great singer has to know how to hit the “bad” notes a few times before they understand what it means to hit the “good” ones. In the end, confidence in singing comes from knowing both the “good” notes and the “bad” notes and how to move more fluidly and comfortably between all of them. The truth is, you will never know unless you try and it takes more courage to try than not to. Having the courage to take risks will build confidence in knowing your voice.’’

4) Remember Your “Why” 
Connect with your song and your purpose, and the audience will feel you. Whether it’s a cover song or an original, we must remember the emotion, experience, or memory that brought us to the song in the first place. As singers, we’re often performing the same song over and over. It’s easy to fall into a routine and go through the motions, but your audience will see right through this. There’s nothing worse than watching a performance and the singer is clearly just phoning it in. No matter how many times you’ve sung a song, dig deep each time and remember *why* you wrote these words or *why* you were drawn to this particular song. Find that emotion and use it to express yourself—That is your job as a singer.

5) Enjoy Yourself
For one song, you’ve got 2 to 4 minutes on stage, so make the most of it! If you spend the entire time rushing through, or focused on what could go wrong, you’ll miss the magic. Be present for these moments, enjoy being on stage and connecting with your music and your audience. This is what being a musician is all about!

When it comes to voice lessons, it takes patience, practice, and a little bit of risk-taking! Ultimately, you are the captain of your own ship. Learning how to sing is an art and a balance of all of the above tips and advice. With the combination of all of them, you will find yourself well on your way to singing even more vibrantly and confidently in no time.
Want to put these tips to the test? Then sign up to sing at our next Student Concert! Talk to your instructor or stop by the front desk to learn more.

This article was inspired by and adapted from this article on and this one on 

Photo credit: Doug Guarino

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