• Singing Lessons, Vocal Coaching, Non-Surgical Voice Repair, Based out of Toronto
  • Singing Lessons, Vocal Coaching, Non-Surgical Voice Repair, Based out of Toronto
  • We provide both preventive and non-operative voice care and maintenance.
  • We offer 4-5 day Super Accelerated Vocal Immersion Courses and Non-Surgical
  • We Can Travel to You to Fix Your Voice!
  • Get your lifetime "Vocal Assurence" Today. Guaranteed to protect your voice.
  • World renouned results in the voice field; based on 30 years of proven science!
  • Vocal Science is not just the Science of Today, it is the Science of the Future.

Successful Vocal Performance

How to Achieve a Successful Vocal Performance and Avoid Making a Fool out of Yourself

By Diana Yampolsky

A long time ago I read a book about singing by another writer who gave some simple advice about how to handle stage fright and nervousness. He exclaimed: "Lighten up, make eye contact with the audience and don't be afraid to make a fool out of yourself." Now I understand what he was saying, but he didn't really take into account one really important fact: the reason that many amateur singers are worried about performing live is because they don't have enough training to be 100% sure that they will be able to fully control their voices! Positive thinking is definitely useful but it can only be taken so far. You wouldn't tell a prospective pilot with little flying experience to get in the plane, act confident and not be afraid to make a mistake, would you?

The truth is that I have had many students over the years who were confident, charismatic and self assured people in every aspect of life - except singing. Confidence in any discipline generally comes from training and experience. So the fact of the matter is that if you want sing successfully and be 100% sure you won't make a fool out of yourself, you need training.

One of my previous students was actually a professional pilot and once pointed out that the training he received as a pilot was similar in many ways to the training that I was giving him as a singer. He was trained using a flight simulator and the goal of his exercises was to program him to automatically respond correctly to all possible situations that might confront him as a pilot. Examples include extreme weather, equipment malfunctions, engine fires and violent passengers. The one common thread to all situations was that he had to act instantly and always know the right response as a pilot. If he was wrong, it could mean the life of himself and his passengers. The training that I gave him as a vocal coach was also concerned with instant and 100% correct responses. We "simulated" hundreds of musical situations and trained him to always respond to them correctly. I always tell my students that they should be able to perform all of the technical components of singing subconsciously - leaving their conscious brain capacity towards style, emotion, stage presence, etc.

Essentially, singers should be free to lighten up and take their feet off the brakes when they know how to drive. Actually, they have to do it! I believe once a singer is trained, professional singing should be produced with a minimum of effort. There is actually a danger to over training as well. This truism applies to almost all disciplines, not just singing. I remember one time I went to the ballet and saw a ballet dancer who was so tight and rigid that I could not wait for her to get off the stage. Ideally a ballet will appear graceful and composed without appearing rigid or tight. The same general rule applies to singers as well. You should have good posture, stand up straight and apply all of the required muscles in your body, but also look completely relaxed and composed at the same time. The perfect analogy is actually a hitter in baseball who possesses what baseball aficionados call a sweet swing. A baseball hitter uses all of the muscles in his body to hit the ball but he does it in a relaxed fashion; he does not grip the bat so tightly that his knuckles are white. A "smooth swing" is what singers should strive for as well. In many ways, hitting a baseball with the sweet spot of the bat is akin to properly lifting the voice off the vocal chords and "nailing" a high E.

Let Your Spirit Fly

As a Vocal Coach/Consultant, every day I come into contact with a multitude of people that want to become singers. Strangely enough, quite a few of these aspiring singers actually exhibit opposite characteristics of what it takes to be a truly authentic singer. They are cold, closed off, robotic and trying to instruct them is like trying to communicate with a wall. I can see them breathing, blinking and moving but it is like they are not all there emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It's like the lights are on but nobody is home.

The main thesis of my first book, Vocal Science - Flight to the Universe, was that affecting and great singing only occurs through the synergy and integration of the mind, body and soul with the voice as a final projection of the state of your being. Therefore, being a true singer is about sharing your spirit - who you truly are as a person. Your physical body, mind and spirit work in conjunction with each other to deliver your performance to the audience. In essence, releasing your spirit and letting it fly is what singing is all about. If the person is tight emotionally, and thus unable or unwilling to do so, the true authentic performance will never take place, independently of how technically good and sound the singer is.

That said, it never ceases to amaze me how people who have completely subverted and closed off their spirits want to become artists. Their very natures are the antithesis of what being an artist is always about. It is like being in a coma. The person is still alive, but not really present. The machines are doing the work.

The conclusion of this is - get over yourself, come out of your shell and start singing, ie. sharing yourself, your body and soul and mainly your spirit with the audience and the sky will be your limit.