Singing ‘Support’ – Who’s on Your Team?
Singing can be a vulnerable activity. When we sing, we’re sharing a little bit of who we are. Even when we’re singing the words and music written by somebody else, we’re still communicating it in our own way, with our own unique voice.
So what happens when we have emotional or mental blocks with our voice? Comments people make about our voice can have a huge impact on the way we view ourselves as singers. For many of us, our vocal identity is heavily influenced by the feedback that we’ve received (or overheard) either from family or friends, in training, or in audition situations, things like “never going to be a belter”, “not versatile enough”, or “a bit too twangy/dull/classical/*…” (*insert adjective here).
If we take these words personally, they can be both hurtful and damaging.
So, when you really want to commit to improving your singing, this might be something you need to overcome. If you are learning to use your voice in any new or unfamiliar way, it is going to sound messy. You can’t explore your vocal potential without experimentation, playing, messing up, cracking, flipping, even singing out of tune.
Bottom line is that it’s incredibly hard to make any progress without being brave enough to do that. Voice lessons are a safe space to do all this, and your coach will do all they can to get you to the stage where you can actually enjoy the whole process. Doing regular online classes in a safe environment at home can also help hugely.
Ultimately, to get the most out of working on your voice, whether that’s in one to one lessons, doing online classes or at the daily Vocal Gym™ , you really need a good team cheering you on!
Even if you can’t quite get everybody in your life on board, try and share your singing with supportive family and friends as often as you can, because a little external accountability and encouragement can go a long way to helping you banish those emotional and mental blocks that inhibit your voice.
This is where being part of a community like the Sing Space really comes into its own. In the recent 16-bar challenge, we’ve seen the most wonderful group of creative and courageous singers sharing their vulnerabilities and challenges as well as the performances that they’ve loved, and the support the community has offered has been really magical to witness.
It’s provided that much needed accountability and encouragement, as well as a real atmosphere of celebration of everyone’s achievements, with genuine kind words that can drown out any old, lingering, hurtful ones and help us all to shape more positive vocal identities.
And to turn it on it’s head, as we work together towards a kinder, more supportive and accepting world, I’ll leave you with this quote:
May you never be the reason why someone who loved to sing, doesn’t anymore. Or why someone who dressed so uniquely, now wears plain clothing. Or why someone who always spoke so excitedly about their dreams, is now silent about them. May you never be the reason someone gave up on a part of themselves because you were demotivating, non-appreciative, hypercritical, or even worse—sarcastic about it.”
— Sharouk Mustafa Ibrahim
Make sure you’ve got someone on your team. Make you’re on someone else’s team.
Happy free, uninhibited, messy singing,
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