Singing Without Fear

The Mindset Of Singing Is Often Overlooked, But Much Like A Sports Person Has A Performance Psychologist, We Singers Needs The Support Too. Performance Can Feel Lonely And Daunting, But With The Right Tools You Will Be Smashing Those Performances In No Time!

Tarryne Webb discussed in her YouTube podcast episode with me about how she recommends we start to work on performance mindset and how we as singers can improve our mental game to sing better. 

She also goes through a great exercise, so check it out below! 

Watch the whole video here, or continue reading for a summary of the discussion. 

Hi! I am Tarryne West and I am a Life Coach, and I work a lot with creative people particularly Women who are driven, ambitious and wanting to basically get more out of life than people are telling them as possible.

The tricky part about singing is that it is such a personal thing that we put so much of ourselves into and we’re so vulnerable when it comes to the criticism and the feedback that we take it deeply personally and you know people kind of fit into two categories they either take it on board and go “okay, well I must do everything better” and they kill themselves doing that or they do completely the opposite and say “well, it’s never going to be perfect so i’m just not going to do anything.”

Sound like you?

Learning to sing is a process.

We have so many movies and so many stories of people just like opening their mouths and singing, and it’s amazing and everyone’s blown away. 

Like Phantom of the Opera is a good example. The lead Female gets on stage, and she sings, and everyone’s like “oh” instant overnight success “what a great talent”, but we never show the work. Even in the book, there’s been a period of years according to the storyline where she’s been secretly trained and has done the work, but we never see that. 

There is so much process involved and a lot of singers kind of get stuck with the mindset stuff because we’re like “Oh well if I’m a singer I should just be able to sing perfectly and everything’s amazing and I should be able to nail it first time kind of thing.”

The supremely talented singer coming out of the woodwork is prolific in the media.

With shows such as X factor or Britain’s got talent we set up this expectation that the raw talent has to be enough, so we as singers we throw ourselves into these situations where we’re expecting our raw talent to carry us through because that’s how it’s supposed to happen! 

The problems then start when we come up against barriers or recieve negative feedback.

The biggest problem with these barriers or negative feedback that we recieve is that they often turn into mental blocks, most of which we’re not even aware of the thinking that’s causing them, so the process of becoming aware is actually really simple.

All you need to do is kind of eaves drop on your brain, so if there is like a specific block that you’re struggling with: say you’re you’re rehearsing a song you’re learning a song and there’s like one spot where your voice keeps cracking or you find yourself like stalling before you get to the high note. 

The process of becoming aware is actually really simple.

The easiest thing to do is actually just sit down with a piece of paper just let’s say to there is a section in the song where there’s a high note like super neutral and then write down every single thought that you have about it without editing it without judging it just like get it all out of your brain because that’s going to give you a really good indicator of what’s actually going on. 

When you start to unravel it you’ll start to find things like: “I can’t hit high notes, I don’t know what I’m doing, i’m not good enough..” eat. and all of these pieces of information that your brain is feeding you will start to come to light. 

Some of them will surprise you, some of them you’ll be like “oh yeah there’s that garbage”, but when you can like see it and you can pull it out of your head you can start to really kind of negotiate with it.  

Your brain is just a machine that makes statements, it doesn’t know whether they’re true it doesn’t know whether they’re real it just talks and we kind of take everything that our brains give us as fact. If your brain goes “oh god here’s the high note, we can’t sing that” you generally automatically believe it and then, because you tense up, and you freak out you don’t sing the high note, and you prove yourself true.

At the end of the exercise you can look at that list of things that you’re thinking about that high note for example, and go is this helpful, do I want to believe this?

As soon as you start to gain that awareness you start to see the stuff pop up at the moment, so when you’re in the song, and you’re heading towards that note you’ll actually hear your brain go oh here comes the high note and in that moment you can choose differently. 

Implementing it in the moment is what takes practice.

The process is simple you know, getting awareness of your thoughts and then actively choosing different ones is a simple concept. Implementing it in the moment, is what’s not easy that’s what takes practice, but it’s a skill like any other and if you’ve learned how to sing you can learn how to manage your brain it’s not really that straightforward 

Everything that happens is neutral

We have to really train ourselves that everything that happens is neutral, what we make it mean and how we interpret that and how we choose to run with it, that’s what creates the difference and sometimes the thoughts and feelings are not positive.

For me, I don’t feel like being determined is a positive feeling it feels hard, it feels gritty, it feels raw but being determined is so useful for me. It’s way better for me than being motivated, because motivated I’m like “oh everything’s wonderful, and I’m gonna to do this sometimes” 

Sometimes I need to feel determined and just get moving, and it doesn’t feel positive, but it’s useful, so I’m starting to make that differentiation in my own life too, and I think particularly for singers where we’re so judgmental of what we do something’s either good or bad even undoing that good bad negative positive thing I think can even be helpful.

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