Today was a bit better. And it started out that way because of good songs on the radio.
The song “High Hopes” by Panic at the Disco has become somewhat of my Nashville anthem.
“Had to have high, high hopes for a living Shooting for the stars when I couldn't make a killing Didn't have a dime but I always had a vision Always had high, high hopes Had to have high, high hopes for a living Didn't know how but I always had a feeling I was gonna be that one in a million Always had high, high hopes”
I heard it multiple times today, and it immediately put me in a better mood.
However, I headed into my voice lesson feeling very nervous. I’d had a bad day in the studio, and was frustrated that I wasn’t doing things correctly. When I’m in voice, being corrected and taught new strategies, the singing comes easy. When I’m practicing on my own sometimes though, I can’t seem to manage what I had done easily before.
I think one thing to always keep in mind is that there are zero reasons for insecurity during a class. You’re there to learn and get better. Your teacher is not judging you, they’re doing what they can to help you. Be honest with them, and don’t get in your head. Class is the time to see if you can hit that note and if you crack you crack. Your teacher will tell you how to fix it. Nobody is born perfect, studios do that. Everyone has off days here and there, from Idina Menzel to Mariah Carey. How boring would it be if everyone was perfect?
So, I told my coach, Brian, what was going on. He explained to me that it could be caused by a number of factors. Sometimes instrumentation can confuse the mind and muting certain instruments in a track can help. Sometimes it’s just the stresses of life or the change in the weather. What’s important he says, is being able to recognize when things are off so you can take a second and make the correction or adjustment. I’m not just training myself to be a better singer, but to be more aware of what my best, and not so best sounds like so I can adapt at the moment in the best way.
I’ve been focusing on two things over the past week, speed and power. Each week, I am tasked with an exercise and I do it in a way that I can control completely. That repetition later leads to faster speeds, and so then I practice at a faster speed and continue the cycle.
The thing about singing is that it’s no different than training for anything else. If you’re at the gym for the first time, you’re not going to be able to bench 100 pounds right away. You may not even be able to do 50. You may barely, with poor form, be able to do 30. So you start at 20, and you do it consistently until it feels easier and easier, then you increase it by 10, and continue. Sooner or later, you’re at 90 and 100 doesn’t feel so impossible.
This is how I’ve been approaching my singing, and so far, it’s been working.
What I like about Brian is that he’s very mathematical about everything so my progress can be measured, from speed to whether or not there’s tension in my voice. I may have off days here and there, but I know I’m improving. It’s about the overall percentage. I aim to be better than I was yesterday and worse than I'll be tomorrow. Most importantly, I need to remember that the only person I am competing with is myself. When I take the time to practice, make mistakes and learn from them, I can't lose.