Turn Your Evaluator Off

I know that as a singer you are VERY committed to developing your sound in practice, and you want to make sure you’re “doing everything right,” according to whatever method is making the difference for you. And you may be at a level where you can listen to yourself objectively, without attachment, and with a director’s ear.

But the time to evaluate your voice is not while you’re actually singing.

When you are in the moment of singing, you must have your self-evaluator turned off. Why? Because your brain has the power to interfere with and hold back the sound you’re creating. You won’t be 100% freed up mentally or physically, and anyone else listening will know it…especially you, if all you’re doing is checking to make sure everything’s “right,” because in all likelihood nothing will sound right to you. If you go to a party and you’re constantly checking yourself in the mirror instead of partying, are you really at the party?

Now, when you’re doing simple exercises and warm-ups, you want to give some attention to what you’re doing and really learn how it feels and sounds to produce the sound you want…to find the release you want. But when the time comes to do your song, you turn your evaluator off and just sing. When you’re absolutely finished, only THEN can you turn the evaluator back on and use it to identify what worked and what didn’t work. (Recording yourself helps in this regard.)

In lessons, I always stress the importance of releasing the sound, just letting it go, and 9 times out of 10 the last part of us that wants us to let go of the sound is our mind, mostly because we don’t trust our sound, or we’re afraid of it, or we think we already know what it’s “supposed” to sound like. But when you give time to just allow your voice to be what it is, when you give it the freedom to exist in its own way for you, and let it find wiggle room inside the exercises and songs you practice, you may discover more volume, more colors, more projection and resonance than you believed you had.

I love what W. Stephen Smith as to say about this in The Naked Voice:

Lack of evaluation makes us feel vulnerable. Moving forward, following through with our plans is scary because we don’t really know what the outcome is going to be. However, this kind of vulnerability is the essence of our art…People can be impressed by good sounds, but something far more important happens when a singer combines impressive technique with emotional truth: Listeners are changed.

You as a singer can also be changed; believe me, if your performance has this kind of impact on listeners, you definitely won’t be left out of the experience.


The deal is still on: new students of SoundSorceress Studio can get a free lesson for signing up during July and August. Also, current students may get a free lesson for referring someone else. So get on it!

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