Pink - Singing with Emotion!
I love talking about the emotional component of singing. Recently, a voice coach said 'in 98% of these cases, the only reason the singer can't do what they want with their voices is because of ineffective and inefficient voice teaching..'
I agree that many people have been given incorrect singing habits thanks to a teacher, and it's a process to reprogram positive vocal habits, but what I have found is the converse of your comment. I believe that most vocal problems have a root in false beliefs or emotional blockages, and that no amount of technique can overcome a subconscious need to hold, constrict and protect - which manifests in vocal challenges.
Usually, voice work alone is the mechanism that finally brings awareness and opens the channels of release - it is that powerful. When the intention is to open and release the voice (which is always the intention!) the very act of getting out of the way and letting the voice 'go' can cause huge emotional release. Often my clients burst out in tears at that point of release, and after that, the technique can then be applied without the past resistance.
I agree, that the intention is never to psychoanalyze the client, and one must be very careful to let the natural course of 'letting go' lead any discussion that may be initiated by the student. Then, I find that being a good listener; suggesting to the client how the emotional issue has manifested in constriction etc.; and then wholeheartedly using singing as the tool for further expansion of voice, and self works very well. When clients get to that point I find that they are thrilled to 'find their voice' and want to open up further.
After years of working with singers I find it essential to address vocal challenges at ALL levels. So much of singing is mental/emotional, and in order to really free the voice, you have to get to the root of the emotional block. Usually stifled creativity, or just plain old shutting down of the ability to 'speak one's truth,' leads to constriction and an inability to release the voice, both emotionally and physically. It's like peeling an onion - you just compassionately and intuitively chink away at the armor that has been built up over the years that masks true feelings and the ability to express those feelings. Very fascinating!
A really amazing thing happens when you lock into the emotion of your song and stop thinking about technique -- you can easily hit notes that might be a challenge for you. Why does this happen? First, because since singing is 90 percent mental, when you stop thinking about your problem notes, your emotion gives you the vocal power to hit those notes easily.
Second, when you're singing in the emotional moment, your fear disappears! Fear keeps you from going fully for a note, and without total conviction and full support, your fear will keep you from your best performance.
So get into the emotion of your song, stop thinking, and let your voice fly free!
Your Singing Treasure Box!
It is a fascinating subject - helping people become aware of how their voice reflects their inner being; and yes, it takes intuition, experience and compassion to be able to gently excavate the bruised soul and bring the client to the realization that their self-image is usually based on false information. Many a lifetime is spent harboring perceived inadequacies that have limited a person's positive growth. I feel blessed that I can help unearth that beautiful, child-like joy that we all have (usually) hidden inside of us, and in doing so, show my clients that it was there all the time - just waiting to come out and play!
If you're being held back because you think 'you can't sing well', then there is help out there. In my new book I address how to make changes in your mindset about singing. Skills and self-understanding are powerful tools for changing how you sing, and how you think about singing!
What I find a lot with singers who claim to be 'tone deaf' are two issues:
1. They are not supporting the tone enough, and as soon as they develop firm support, they are able to hit their notes on pitch!
2. Going along with this process, I work on their limited belief system.
Somewhere early on, most of these people were TOLD that they were 'tone
deaf,' and so that became their 'story.' Into adulthood, they still cling to that belief until through gentle awareness and positive affirmations, they can let go of that and start to believe that they really can sing on pitch!
Now there are students who really have a challenge in hearing and singing the correct tone. I've been working with one gal for about a year, and she has come from singing the melody a third low consistently, to singing wonderfully on pitch. Again, the process was a combination of physical technique (involving the body; releasing tension; support etc.) along with visualization; thinking down not up; gaining confidence in her abilities.
Every student is different and as you 'peel the onion' you discover what works best for that person.
Do you get hoarse when you sing or speak? Does your jaw ache after you've been singing a long gig? Are your shoulders tense when you're
No matter what kind of singing you do, there should never be any
tension in your throat, jaw or body. Tension works against the natural, relaxed flow of sound you are creating when you're singing correctly.
Start to be aware of how you FEEL when you're singing! Does your throat get sore easily? Are your shoulders down and relaxed or hunched up.
Are you dropping your jaw or is it clenched up when you sing? All these things will begin to paint a picture of what you're doing with your body - and its parts - that have a direct effect on how effortlessly you're singing.
Clients always say 'how do I know if I'm singing the right way?' My best answer is simply - 'if it feels good, it's probably correct. If it feels bad, then you need to adjust whatever you're doing that feels bad.'
So if singing doesn't feel good to you, I'd guess that you're going to notice some vocal challenges come up for you. Singing should be easy, natural and effortless. One of the best ways to get started in that direction is to focus on your breathing. Conscious breathing is one of my 7 Steps for Singing Like A Pro, a simple system for freeing the voice from damaging tension and
Breathe. Relax. Release the voice. Simple! And it feels good, too!
Here's some information good information from Voiceproblem.org
"In Brief: Reflux Laryngitis is a voice disorder which results from irritation and swelling of parts of the voice box due to the backflow of stomach fluids into the voice box area or laryngopharyngeal reflux.
Stomach fluids contain acids and enzymes that help digest food in the stomach, but cause problems elsewhere in the food pipe [esophagus, throat, and voice box].
Frequent Complaints: People with reflux laryngitis do not always complain of heartburn, which is a typical complaint in backflow of stomach fluids to the esophagus causing inflammation in the esophagus or GERD/gastroesophageal reflux disease. Instead, they usually complain of hoarseness, frequent throat clearing, sensation of lump in the throat (globus pharyngeus), cough or sore throat."
Personally, I've found that my Viva La Voice tonic helps with heartburn and acid reflux thanks to the great herbal ingredient - Cayenne Pepper. You can get the Viva La Voice Tonic Recipe, free here.
Let me know if you've found anything that helps with this condition as it is very troublesome to singers and speakers.
Sing Better With Positive Beliefs!
I tell my students that singing is 90% mental! So many people come to me holding on to their vocal limitations, or what they perceive as their vocal limitations, saying 'I can't sing high', or 'I'm not a solo singer' or 'I'm terrified to sing in front of an audience'. In making those statements they are reinforcing that belief. That limited view has become their reality! Even though they don't know it, their cellular memory is programmed with 'I can't' sing high' etc.; based on suggestions given to them long ago by someone else. When we're young, and haven't yet formed a strong self-image, the comments and suggestions of others (usually negative) become our reality. As we grow, those thoughts of limitation become an ingrained part of our brain chemistry and forge strong neural pathways because we play them over and over in our head!
My method, The Lawrence Vocal System works on that mental and emotional level to bring to consciousness those faulty beliefs, and get rid of them once and for all. When my students learn correct vocal skills they begin to see that those limitations they held on to are based on faulty information, and with my support, they begin to forge new neural pathways that are based on correct information! Their confidence soars, and they're able to sing beyond their wildest imaginations! They've created a new belief system for themselves, that is positively reinforced every time they sing!
For more on how to replace your limited belief system with positive singing skills, read more excerpts from my book From Shower To Stage...7 Easy Steps for Singing Like A Pro! You CAN sing with confidence!
I'm excited to be working on a new program that uses Essential Oils for various vocal challenges. This program is in development, but I'll keep you posted.
In response to a private inquiry I got about some suggested exercises for a thyroid issue, this is my general procedure, in a simplified version:
'As you know, there are so many ways to help a person open up their voice. To me, it's like peeling an onion, and everyone is unique, so exercises have to be tailored to the person and their particular need.
I start with breathing, it's the #2 step in my book 'From Shower To Stage....7 Easy Steps for Singing Like A Pro'. You've got to have a free flow of the breath, and good support for the tone.
Then I open up the other channels - the throat (relaxing the tongue, larynx and jaw).
Next I work on the level of emotion to clear any blockages, false belief systems etc. that are manifesting in the production of the voice. This is really powerful and gets lasting results. All of the above lead to releasing the voice from constriction and over-control.'
This, of course comes from working with voice on all levels, EXCEPT medical. I'm not a physician and always urge my clients to seek medical evaluation and treatment that they feel comfortable with as well as using alternative methods to unlock the voice and heal the underlying challenge on an emotional/energetic level. Cheers, Beth Lawrence, vivalavoice.com
From Beth Lawrence
If you're serious about singing then you've got to take care of your voice. Here are some healthy ways to do that!
Beth Lawrence, Award-winning singer, songwriter and author of "From Shower To Stage...7 Easy Steps for Singing Like A Pro!"