As we approach the Christmas period, it is a time where many of us will be singing out and about in public. For some people this is a joyous time and for others this instills a sense of dread.
Are you someone who really loves to sing but are afraid to sing in public?
This is something I hear regularly and is a normal fear. Often if stems back to a situation in the past where you may have been told to stop singing, someone criticised your singing or you sang in public and something went wrong. It is normal that this would impact most people’s confidence, especially without the right guidance or steps to avoid it in the future.
So if you want to sing again with confidence this winter time, here are a few singing tips to help with your confidence:
1. Air is your best friend
Most people who start to sing or play a wind instrument undervalue the true importance of air or breathing properly. This is the number one challenge to master with singing because if you are not taking in enough air you will not be able to produce a secure and controlled sound. So ensure that you take big breaths in through your mouth and push the air from your diaphragm and lungs. You should feel your stomach moving if you are breathing correctly. This is quite a different feeling to how we talk on a daily basis and breathing in the correct way should feel different.
Make sure you are breathing in plenty of air before singing any phrase. Many people don’t do this and this means that you won’t have enough air for the high notes or long phrases. This is where notes crack, pitching goes and ultimately your confidence is lost.
2. Using your Chest and Head voice!
Learning how to switch between head and chest voice is really important. Every voice has a natural switch point where you move from singing lower notes in the chest area of your voice and body to singing higher pitches that feel like they are coming from your head area. In the early days of training your voice, the head voice (higher notes) will not necessarily have the same volume as your lower chest voice. This is why many people try to sing high notes from the chest and then find it is out of tune and nasal sounding.
Switching to head voice properly will give you a more controlled sound on those higher pitches. Lots of Christmas carols and Christmas songs were written in the days where females generally sang in a higher vocal range. Nowadays, a lot of our favourite pop songs are in a lower pitch area and therefore the head voice, particularly for females, is not used or stretched. This is why at times those high notes seem so high to sing! We are just not used to singing that high anymore and it can seem frightening. Practising long, high notes and scale patterns in the head voice will develop your confidence in this area.
3. Rehearsing the song
Everyone who is performing in public practices the songs repeatedly in their private practice and rehearsals. Learning lines, thinking about the meaning of the song and words, working on where to breathe, where to switch between head and chest voice, learning to sing with an accompaniment, etc is all part of the practice process.
Don’t underestimate the value of practice and working on these areas of singing. The more rehearsed your piece the more you will hear your personal progress and it will definitely help you with feeling more confident in singing in public.
If you find the song is in an impossible key for your voice don’t be afraid to transpose it to a key that is more naturally fitting. Many artists do this so it is okay for you to do it too.