What's Holding You Back?

I had an interesting experience last night with a vocal student who seemed to have a mental block around one particular vowel sound on one particular note. It took over 10 minutes of focused exercises before she finally started to loosen up her voice and allow herself to just “go for it”. Even then, I detected in her a real reluctance to truly release her voice. I reassured her that in the studio environment, there is no right or wrong and that it’s all about self discovery and experimentation. It was purely a self-limiting belief she had about her voice which (like a muscle in spasm) had to be massaged and released. We took a huge step forward last night but there is still a long way to go.

What purpose does holding back serve? Being cautious and guarded doesn’t feel good yet we all seem to believe it is required behavior in order to belong to the “world of grown-ups”. I have observed from my years teaching music in elementary school that it starts to happen around the age of 10. Everyone loves watching babies and animals. Why? I think it is because they are so free, so unselfconscious, so... the exact opposite of the way we behave in our everyday lives. Ask yourself, “what would happen if I really gave it absolutely everything I had right here, right now?” Are you afraid your all wouldn’t be enough? Is it safer just to not try at all?

As a voice teacher, it is my job to pull you out of that grey, tepid “safe zone” and fully explore what your voice is really capable of doing. Singing and speaking in public is 80% mental. It is an absolute privilege to witness someone really giving it everything they’ve got and facilitating that exploration. At the end of the day remember, it’s not a contest - except with yourself.

Leave a comment

Add comment