There have been times in my life when I have not practiced my singing. Like, at all.
As with any long term skill, my commitment to singing has had peaks and valleys, especially for the past three years. Sure, sometimes I've felt jazzed, but more often than not I've been in a "bare-minimum-maintenance-whatever" mode. I practiced a couple times here and there, or not at all. :-/
My excuse was:
I'm good...enough. As long as my singing is decent, I can demo things in my videos and lessons. If I lose my skills a little, what's the big deal? It's not like I'm singing for audiences anymore.
(Ugh. Just reading those thoughts back to myself is hard. What an uninspiring point of view!)
And because I felt so uninspired, my singing suffered.
When it comes to singing, or any long-term goal, frame of mind is everything.
When I am not inspired, I lose momentum. When I lose momentum, I stop tending to myself and the things I love.
In my "good enough" phase, my singing skills began to fade. Stuff that used to be easy (belting, delicate controlled singing, long held notes) took more concentration and effort than ever. The less regularly I sang, the more my muscles forgot what great singing felt like. And tension began to creep in like crazy.
I was treating singing like a chore. Rather than mentally CELEBRATING my singing talent, I was focusing on everybody else's singing. I neglected myself, and was secretly preparing for my downfall.
Oh well, I thought. Time to pass on the torch of singing to the next generation.
This defeated frame of mind was undermining my vocal instrument -- something I'd worked my whole life to grow.
And, let me tell you, it was not a fun thing to witness.
Until, one day, the shift happened.
I'm thrilled to report that I've felt a surge of energy, optimism, and commitment to my voice. I've written about this in a couple of newsletters, so you've probably already heard stirrings from me already, but quick recap...
I'm an ARTIST! I've come to terms with the fact that I cannot live my life not performing! It's simply time to pursue my lifelong dream of writing, recording, and performing my own music. Because if I don't, I will just explode!
My process of realization has been long. It has involved much soul searching, journaling, contemplation, and devoting meaningful time to reawakening my voice.
I know from your comments that you can probably relate to my story.
You are all at different places in your singing/career/life journeys. I know many you have encountered that feeling of plateauing, or not feeling as stoked about singing as you once were.
That is so okay! You are not weird! And you are not doomed! We can totally get the fire back. And here's how...
HOW TO GET THE FIRE BACK INTO YOUR SINGING:
- Set a short term singing goal that makes you giddy with excitement. This could be big or small -- as long as it makes you psyched and can happen in the near future. Examples: "In two weeks, I'll record a love song for my significant other." "I'll finally get up and sing karaoke next weekend." "I'll audition for a new agent next month."
- Set several goals for the next 6 months to a year. Mine are: I'd like to share music with my mailing list (you!), write 50 songs, record my first album, and perform live locally in Philadelphia.
- Set one ridiculous, so-fun-it-tingles goal. Think of this as your "ultimate dream!" Mine is: I'm standing onstage, looking out at a stadium of people, and we are all singing the same melody together. The feeling I get when I picture this is so warm, electric, and tingly!
- Commit 100% to a singer ritual. I say "ritual" because your practice time is sacred. For me, I've been warming up every day, rain or shine, and combining it with meditating if I have time. If I don't have time, I stick to basics: lip trills, diaphragm breathing, jaw, tongue, shoulder stretch (10 minutes is better than no minutes).
- Make practice fun and INSPIRING -- and visualize your goals! When it's time to write music I light a candle in my office to stay centered. I also have full view of a Vision Board on my wall, where I've posted inspiring photos, many of them of my favorite female artists. I even put on crazy outfits sometimes! I'm talking gold lamé crop tops and light up LED sneakers (not kidding).
And these days? My voice has come back like a long lost friend. I'M EXCITED, INSPIRED, and COMMITTED, and my singing reflects it.
So don't tiptoe around calling yourself a "singer" or an "artist" or a "musician" or a WHATEVER. Don't tiptoe around your goals. Don't be embarrassed by your dreams. And don't despair when your enthusiasm seems to dip.
Singing is a lifelong process, and we are all in it together.
You don't have to have everything figured out. Look at me -- I'm still flailing around wildly! I have no idea (1) what my timeline is, (2) how exactly my career is going to come together, (3) what my music is going to sound like when I have some "finished" songs, (4) when I'm going to be comfortable sharing it with you guys (soon, don't worry! I know, I am so annoying!).
BUT -- AS I TEACH, SO I DO! I always encourage you guys to go boldly forth, pursuing your passions, so why don't I do it, too! THAT IS THE GENERAL IDEA! Let's not fret about the details right now. Let's get INSPIRED. Then, one foot in front of the other. And the staircase will appear. 🙂
I promise you, it's going to be spectacular!
With love and so much freaking energy,
P.S. Let me know if you have experienced a dip in your singing confidence and enthusiasm by leaving me a comment! I read every single message. xo