“Little darling, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter…”

Since I last posted here, there’s been a lot of change and drought and upheaval. The winter was no kinder to my business than it was to most others here in Detroit Metro, where we broke a 100-year-old snow record in the middle of April.

And the tendency I have when going through challenges is to hole up, hit the bunker, and go underground. It seemed the easiest thing to do as the snow kept piling up and the temperatures plunged below zero.

But there were points from January onward where I just couldn’t stand to be inside anymore, and couldn’t afford to stay shut off from the rest of civilization – points where I just had to pull my boots on and get out there because I had music to share.

I had gigs scheduled, an album to sell, contacts to make, rehearsals to schedule. And every time I stepped out the door and into the snow, it was for music.

I couldn’t do everything I planned, and not everything I did was planned. But the will to live and connect finds ways to trump everything, especially where art is concerned, and several of my musical friends felt the same way.

And I found some warm spots as the weather struggled to change:

I was inspired by a voice student I took on who was visually impaired; she was slowly losing her sight but very accepting in the face of it. I made house calls to her because she wanted to discover her voice so she could not only sing but recite poetry. Our work on her breath was amazing; she had more capacity than she believed she had. She inspired me to think about what else was possible in teaching music to people with similar challenges.

I took an opportunity to record ambient music, and I firmly believe that my chants to Shiva had him connect me to a local branch of the Isha Foundation, whose musicians welcomed me into their devotional music ensemble for a fundraiser. And our program opened with a song to Shiva.

And I’ve started to realize, with the help of some friends, that I am a closeted jazz musician. More on THAT next week…

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What’s up with Singing Circles

I have two of them going now, and it’s quite a blast.

A bunch of friends get together at my house to learn some vocal skills and sing together. I provide the tea and cozyness, they provide their voices and participation. It really is a good time, because I get to discover more singers who want to develop themselves, and whenever a breakthrough sound comes out of them, it’s euphoria – “Woah, that sounded LOUD!”

And these folks come from all walks of life – everybody from bartenders to post-graduate professors – to get a little taste of singing beyond what they already believe they can do.

The first huge result of this experiment came at Christmas, when a circle was invited to sing carols at a local church service. We picked the songs, rehearsed a couple of times, and sang them to the congregation.

The victory? For at least one of the singers, it was her first time singing in front of an audience without a karaoke track.

I live for stuff like that. When it happens, it means that someone has thrown off a myth about themselves and their own voice, and now their singing is freed up.

Could this become an epidemic? Please, please! I think we could ALL stand to live in a world with happier singers, no?

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Something To Ponder …

Just read this: Something To Ponder ….

If a lifetime is your chance to express who you are in the most adventurous and creative way you can imagine … what are you doing that supports that idea?

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Healing the Inner Child Singer

You know the story. Some teacher or music director tells a young person that they can’t sing, and the young singer is so hurt by this judgment that she fears or rejects singing forever after.

Adults in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond report these incidents to me in detail and still feel the pain as if it happened just yesterday.

And no matter how many times I tell people that anyone can learn to sing, or that teachers just don’t have the patience or skill to deal with underdeveloped singers, they still INSIST with all their might that THEY CAN’T SING, even if they wanted to. They defend this belief to the death. They defend the nasty teacher’s judgment as if it were the Eternal Law.

No one feels this level of emotion with regard to the skills of plumbing or accounting or tax law. Then again, no teacher has ever had THIS conversation with a kid, have they?

“Put that wrench down. You don’t have the ability to use that tool; you’re actually a mono-tool. Here, have this ball-point pen. You shouldn’t do plumbing; only if you’re naturally gifted.”

Yeah, if we heard a teacher say that, we’d be thinking, “What a twunt.”

But this conversation happens with regard to singing all the time. No wonder we take it personally. Musical ability, and especially singing, is so personal that for many people, an underdeveloped singing voice means there’s something wrong with them.

Why do we still tolerate this belief? Why??

Good question. So let me ask all those people who have been unfairly criticized, silenced, and labeled monotone at some point in the past:

What made that teacher “right”?

Was it the truth?

Did you really believe it then?

Do you still believe it now?


As children, we think teachers know best, or if they don’t know best, they at least have the power to override our objections (which is scarier).

Then we grow up. And a huge part of growing up is finding out that adults are NOT invincible, all-knowing, or all that caring. They are flawed, just as we are. The wisdom to see this and accept it is the mark of an adult mind.

But why do we so often fail to employ our adult mind when haunted by memories of a Nasty Teacher From the Past telling us we can’t sing? Because the child mind sticks around and keeps busy with those old thoughts. Just because we gain an adult mind doesn’t mean we lose the child mind.

So one thing we can do is have Adult Mind have a little soul-talk with Child Mind:

“Come here and have a hug and a cookie. You know what, I know it hurts. That was a very hurtful thing she said, and she just didn’t realize how hurtful it was to you. She didn’t understand. She didn’t know you. She didn’t understand that you were just young and only at the beginning of your development. Whatever she believes about singing is not the Law or the Truth. You don’t have to believe anything she said. There’s nothing wrong with you. You don’t have to let her words keep you from singing. They can’t hurt you anymore.”

That’s a good start.

But there’s further to go.

The Adult Mind has to do more than just reassure Child Mind that the past doesn’t have to keep hurting us in the present. Adult and Child Mind have to realize that they’re the same mind.

“Kiddo, the reason I know you’re going to be okay is because I’m going to be okay. We’re the same person. I am you, just all grown up! You can look forward to being this awesome, and totally free from whatever nastiness you’re facing now. Because, look at me – you survived. So you can just tell that teacher to piss off, because you get to be me now.”

In other words, if the past can affect the present, why can’t the present affect the past?

We let the past creep in all the time, as if the past had its own power that we can’t control – like it’s some kind of being. For many of us, it holds us prisoner. But who does my past belong to? Me. No one else. I own it. If I ever feel like it owns me, I get to turn the tables on that monster and give it what for – I make it look hard and long at this person in the present who’s stronger, wiser, and transformed…and the monster backs down.

If a teacher can make my young self believe that I can’t sing, and that my incompetence is innate…then why can’t I make myself believe that my inner strength is just as innate? That strength was always there. Why? Because Adult and Child are one person. Child survived the past, and that alone is proof of her strength as an adult.

So give yourself this little visualization – picture your adult self sitting down with your child self. (And it has to be your own adult self – not your therapist, parent, spirit guide, or anyone else but grown-up YOU.) Your present gets to tell your past that even though the past stuff hurts, we get to live in the present and choose what we believe about ourselves and our abilities.

Because that’s where our power is – the now. That’s where we have choice. Why live in a place where we have no choice? Why let your Child self live there? Let her join you. Let her see who she really is.

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Standard Rules for a Cold

Alright, singers; time for a self-evaluation!

I just got over a horrid cold that had me on my back for nearly 2 weeks. Near the very end of it, I found a pamphlet on vocal hygiene from Lakeshore Ear, Nose and Throat Center…2 weeks too late, I figured. So I thought it would be good for me to see if I followed the “Standard Rules for a Cold” listed inside:

  1. Get plenty of rest….Check. The recliner was my base camp.
  2. Speak as little as possible. Do not sing if possible….Check. Some days I could hardly make a sound anyway, so singing was right out.
  3. Drink plenty of fluids (water). This reduces fever, avoids vocal fold dehydration and makes the mucous secretions thinner….I could have done better with this: more clear fluids, fewer diuretics, less acidity.
  4. Use a cool mist humidifier as needed….Check. Although I still woke up coughing after midnight. I’m not sure if my mister was misty enough.
  5. As your doctor about nasal care….Did this maybe a little too late. As a professional singer, I should have seen the doctor on my 3rd day of symptoms (rather than my 10th)  just to rule out anything more sinister and to give me a clearer idea of how to proceed with self-care.
  6. If you need to cough, make it breathy….This was impossible, because my coughing spells were as involuntary and sudden as bad hiccups. Dry or phlegmy, it didn’t matter. I think more hydration would have made a difference.
  7. Guaifenesin (Mucinex, Robitussin) can help thin secretions and formulations with Dextromethorphan (DM) can help suppress cough….Check and check. But they didn’t work as well as I hoped.
  8. Avoid cough drops with menthol….Check. As good as it may feel, menthol has a dehydrating effect in the throat. For me, lemon and honey feel just as good, and to open the airways I dab a couple drops of eucalyptus oil right under my nose.

I give myself a C+.

Plus, I’d say it’s better to get sick now than later in the year, when the roads are actually driveable in Michigan and we’re not cowering from the winter storms.

What’s your score?

“…with no spoils of the game.”

Just read this: http://raprehab.com/confessions-of-a-failed-hip-hop-artist/

As musicians, we easily fall into the neediness trap: “If I just get in with this person and split a show with that guy and get reviewed on that blog…I’ll have it made!”

We think our success depends on how others view us, and so we push and push to make better impressions on the “right” people, thinking we’re lost without this or that big-name person giving us compliments and shaking our hand.

This is the poison.

Here’s the truth: Yes, it IS about who you know. But this truth can be anyone’s downfall.

What to do? Try to develop strong face-to-face relationships with average listeners; don’t just shout everything over the Internet. And if you happen to approach a person of clout, relate to them from your heart, and not from your business model.

Rob Jay learned the hard way, and I salute him for sharing his candid story.

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The crazy thing that Jimmy Page said

Today is Jimmy Page’s 70th birthday, so I gotta wish him the very best and give him my respect, because he’s one of my favorite musicians in the universe.

I recently finished reading a new biography of Led Zeppelin, When Giants Walked the Earth by Mick Wall. And it has renewed my deep love for the band, which started way back in grad school. At that time, the ecstasy/pain of Robert Plant’s vocal in “Hey Hey, What Can I Do” set off alarm bells in my head and got me thinking I MUST come out of the closet as a singer-songwriter before it’s too late. It spurred me into action like no alarm bell ever did before.

Now, one big thing that stood out to me in that book was a comment by Jimmy Page about learning music: “Teaching myself was the first and most important part of my education…I hope they keep it out of schools.” (p.60, my emphasis)

This threw me for a loop, of course, because I often beat the drum for keeping music in the schools, and it’s always weird when you discover that one of your idols disagrees with you, even in an innocuous statement.

But how innocuous is it? Is this just something that any rock-n-roll rebel would say, or was there a deeper meaning behind it? Wall’s biography says emphatically that Page was not acting as a rebel in those days, if ever he did. Not in the sense of being reckless, or resentful towards authority. He never acted mindlessly. Page knew exactly what he wanted his music to be, and he hand-picked the very musicians, songs, and stylings that would give him what he wanted. He didn’t set out to go against the grain of what was already popular or standard; he simply had a unique vision in his head that he brought to reality with the help of his band-mates and his manager, Peter Grant.

That vision became Led Zeppelin, and it made him one of the most renowned rock musicians this world has ever seen. He is regarded as the 3rd greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone, although I would rank him 2nd instead of Eric Clapton, with #1 remaining for the OTHER Jimmy of legend – Hendrix.

And how did he get to that exalted position? Not through school.

He played around on his own as a boy, listening to records of the greats of his own time and earlier. He goofed around as a teenager with his buddy Jeff Beck and eventually found his way into doing session work. According to Mick Wall, one of his sessions got a little nerve-wracking when someone dropped a piece of sheet music in front of him. Jimmy joked that it looked like “crows on telegraph wires” (p. 157). But that didn’t stop him from developing deft fingers and a keen ear – both essential for becoming a rock god.

And the thing is, because he didn’t learn music in school, he was free to listen, explore, experiment and discover it at his own pace. He tapped into history by studying blues and early rock-n-roll, striking gold when he heard Elvis. He saw the relationship between music and spirituality and explored it as far as it would take him, even into the occult. He followed his curiosity eastward to the ragas of India and speculated on how to translate that sound to guitar. He wondered what would happen if he played an electric guitar with a violin bow, if he alternated acoustic and electric guitar in a single song, if it were possible to create a reverse echo in the studio….

Who recalls this level of creative experimentation in their own conventional schooling?

If Jimmy Page had been put in a class at the age of 5 to learn about those “crows on telegraph wires” and what they meant, would he have become the same musician? Would he have become a musician at all?

Rock-n-roll was born out of questions: “What would it sound like if I put this chord progression together with this rhythm? What if I did this crazy thing with my guitar?” We can go further and say that ANY revolution in any genre of music was born out of questions – not answers, not pre-packaged explanations of how things were always done, or what was already proven to work. Our current form of mass education takes care of that just fine.

Page understood that the blues – the genre that gave emotional weight to rock-n-roll – was the genre of the unschooled, the vagabond, the oppressed…and the rebel. And the modern school system is not designed or intended to cultivate rebellion of any kind. Such an idea is anathema. Teaching implies authority to which the student submits, and enterprising free-thinkers will have none of that. We think that rebellion is in our animal nature, and thus it has to be tamed if we are to live civilly as humans. But that is a fallacy. Rebellion is NOT the way of our nature. If anything, it’s the way of evolution. The human brain evolved because it became obsessed with questions – “How else can we do this? What is possible with this? What if…?”

That’s not the brain activity of someone trying to conform to what’s already there. That is the mind seeking new territory.

This is, I think, what Jimmy Page was hinting at when he hoped people would keep music out of the schools. The way schools are now, anyway. As much I will bang the drum for music in the schools, I will bang just as hard, if not harder, to have creativity in the schools. That’s the thing we’re really fighting for when we advocate for arts education. Because if the most important thing you learn as a music student is how to play a Chopin Etude note-perfect, or that Mozart was a better composer than everyone else, you might as well stop taking those classes and lessons and start teaching yourself.

It sounds crazy, but that’s the kind of thing we have to do if music is going to be treated the way we treat math and science in the schools – as a bunch of answers waiting to be bubbled in. The great musicians, the visionaries like Jimmy Page and the rest of them, know better. For them, music without questions, without creativity, without the rebellious pursuit of freedom, is just packaged sounds. Way down inside, we all know we want the real thing.

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A Minor Annoyance

It’s finally gotten on my nerves just enough for me to say something about it. I’m getting tired of hearing variations on this statement:

“I don’t like anything in a minor key.”

News for you: That doesn’t mean what you think it means. You’re using “minor” as a general term to mean “bad sounding” or “sad” or “evil” or whatever, when the actual musical definition is quite another thing.

I suppose it’s easy to equate major/minor with every other familiar binarism in our cultural file: good/bad, light/dark, happy/sad, male/female, and on and on. And so, naturally, the musical layman falls into the same pattern when trying to describe music that’s sad, dour, serious, or just played poorly – “it sounds minor.” But it’s inaccurate. I had a friend say to me that a god-awful string quartet played everything “in minor,” when the reality is they played out of tune, which is REALLY bad if you’re trying to play Santa Claus is Coming to Town. And that song is as major as they come!

Using “minor” as a broad brush to describe anything less than Ode-to-Joy happy and perfect is a misuse of the term; worse, it does real disservice to an overwhelming body of music in minor keys, modes and alternative scales that really do lift us into joy and wonderment.

Take a for instance: It’s the holiday season right now, and the familiar carols are swimming around our aural fields like a bunch of excited birds. Lots of our favorite Christmas songs are actually in minor keys and are not downers: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, We Three Kings, and What Child is This are three common examples. Beyond that, there are millions of examples of uppity, happy, and positive minor-key songs across all areas of folk, rock, pop, and classical music. An easy example is Star of the County Down, a terrific Irish folk song about a guy feeling smitten by a sweet lassie with “nut-brown hair.”

Likewise, you will also find plenty of sad, serious, angry, and dour music in major keys across the board.  The biggest major-key weeper I’ve ever heard is Spiegel im Spiegel, a violin and piano piece by Arvo Pärt. Be warned – it might make you think of dying people if you’re not careful.

So what do “major” and “minor” really mean, musically? Ars-nova.com has a succinct definition:

Major and minor can be used to refer to the greater and lesser versions of certain intervals … and you most often hear them used to describe the difference between music in a major key (music whose scale contains a major third upward from its “tonic,” the starting note, so that the basic tonic chord is major) and music in a minor key (whose tonic chord is minor, since the scale on which it is based has a minor third from the starting note).

The difference is quantitative and measurable, when you get down to the actual notes. It’s not subjective. But ars-nova.com is also keen to note the emotional meanings we’ve grafted onto this concept:

There are other differences between the major and minor scales, of course, but the main thing is that tonic chord to which the music returns home so often. “Home” in the first case is a cheerful optimistic lighthearted major triad, and in the other case is a tragic ominous forlorn minor (who knows how those feelings got started, but maybe there’s something to them).

Actually, let me take a guess as to “how those feelings got started”: the idea of a major/minor dichotomy did not exist at all in Western music until the eighteenth century, when French composer Jean-Phillipe Rameau wrote his Treatise on Harmony to tell the world that there was a universal law governing all of Western music, and it could be explained mathematically, scientifically and philosophically under the heading of major/minor tonality. Before Rameau’s time, music was composed not in major or minor scales, but modes – Aeolian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Dorian, Hypodorian, etc. – these were originally named after different civilizations in ancient Greece. Back then, it was believed that modes could affect people mentally and emotionally – some could cause relaxation and others, excitement.  So people like Aristotle and Plato could talk about how music could be used to stimulate people’s character and actions in a certain way.

This belief persisted from ancient Greece all the way up through Rameau’s time. Now, even though the music of the eighteenth century sounded nothing like the old modes (listen to Bach’s Brandenburg concertos next to Gregorian chant – night and day), the idea of harmonies tugging at people’s emotions never went away. And it just so happened that the major scale took on mostly “positive” associations and the minor scale was left with mostly “negative” ones. By the time we get to the nineteenth century, the obvious philosophical conclusion to make is that the triumph of positive stuff over negative stuff could be expressed in music that transforms from a minor key into a major one: Beethoven’s 5th – end of story.

So where does that leave us now? Well, we live in a world where fundamental binarisms (is that a word?) are being challenged right and left, particularly in the social world – gender being the big one of note. And music is also proving to be more complex and nuanced with each passing day (except in Top 40 radio, which I don’t get). Minor doesn’t have to sound sad, nor does major imply happiness. Sometimes major and minor flow into and out of each other like in a blues song, and sometimes the old modes come out to play again and transport us to an exotic world. Sometimes music delights in being ambiguous, or it throws tonality out the window altogether to expose us to a new soundscape we’ve never considered before.

We also live in a world where basic musical terms like major, minor, scale, chord, and tone are much less understood now than they were years ago. Today’s lay listener is musically illiterate. And because of this, it can be hard for musicians and listeners to speak the same language. I hope that throwing open a conversation about the too-casual use of “major” and “minor” will help in this regard.

So before you say you don’t like minor-key music, ask your musical friends to point you toward some real, life-affirming minor-key and modal songs and see if you feel the same way after listening to them. Also, feel free to post in the comments your favorite happy minor-key/modal/alternative scale stuff, as well as any major-key songs that are more complex emotionally than the key would imply.

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Never thought it would happen to me.

I haven’t shared about this incident much, only to private friends and colleagues. And I’ve questioned the appropriateness of sharing about it in this blog. But that’s only out of fear, and why should an artist be afraid? We’re supposed to be the ones cutting through fear and misconception with our work. If I believe that’s part of my job, then I should just do it.

[BIG BREATH] …I’ve been dismissed from a band based on my appearance.

It was a real shock, because I’d been singing with this group for many months with reasonable success, and up until my dismissal there was never any question of whether I had what it took to sing everything from Aretha Franklin to Adele to Pat Benatar with strength and subtlety. It was a cover band – a bar/party/wedding-type operation that was poised to make waves in the casino circuit…until an “industry person” told our bandleader that I “looked like a librarian” and said,

“If you close your eyes, it’s a good band.”

Never mind that most of the other members of the band – all of them men – wore glasses like I did.

Never mind that they were all older than me and starting to show a tinge of grey, trading stories about their colonoscopies in rehearsal.

Never mind that at least one of them liked to wear baseball caps to gigs.

I was singled out because I was the female lead singer, and apparently I couldn’t dress or act like one. (Yes, like one of THOSE female lead singers.) Actually, I WON’T do that, because I resent the fact that men in music can get away with looking dreadful on stage and women can’t – unless they show their vagina or something. Or they’re Patty Smith. It’s a double standard, and even though it’s always been around and probably always will be around, it still doesn’t feel right.

I’m reminded of a song lyric by a good friend, Emily Rose:

“This is what a woman should look like / a tiny Tinkerbell jumping on a trampoline.”

This is the world of the “well-decorated mousetrap” that we’re all born into, even now, in the new millennium.

It wasn’t about my singing at all. Nor was it about my work ethic. Both were good. Some would say better than good. But because I stopped short of twerking, it wasn’t good enough.

Now, I’m not above being coached in the area of styling, and I said as much to this bandleader as an offering to look at myself and see what I could work on – I’d LOVE to be ambushed by a fashion-savvy friend who will raid my closet and tell me what not to wear! But it wasn’t enough. Not only did he want me to lose the glasses and dress differently, he wanted me to jump out into the audience and dance and interact with people more. The other lead singer of the band was doing exactly that, even standing on tables and being an outright flirt.

But here’s the thing: unlike him, I have a vagina! I look at the audience, and six inches in front of me is a sweaty, drunk guy trying to rub up against me! You seriously want me to jump out into that?

He said it was all about stage presence, not about how attractive I was. And he patronized me by saying I was a “very attractive woman.” But why is my attractiveness even a part of the conversation? Is praising my sex appeal supposed to be reassuring, somehow? That’s not what you hired me for. You hired me to SING, and I sang my ass off for months in your band before you decided my image had to be measured against some “industry” standard. You chose to ignore the best part of what I have to offer.

I steeled myself for what I thought would be the most common responses from my colleagues when I confided in them about what happened:

“That’s just how the industry is.”

“Duh – of COURSE you have to have the right image because that’s part of the product.”

“Don’t be surprised. It happens to everybody.”

“Customers are dumb/fickle/easily seduced.”

“Industry people are just bullish – that’s how it’s always been.”

But I heard none of those things. Everyone I told responded with shock and outrage at what this person had done. I was heartened to see that although image continues to reign supreme in pop music – from mainstream to indie and back again – more and more people are seeing it as a tyrannical emperor wearing no clothes. And what this bandleader did was bow down to him. He betrayed my loyalty by taking the low-hanging fruit that this “industry person” was dangling in front of him.

Well, in response to this rebuff, I decided to channel the power of Elvis Costello:


Here was a guy who just doesn’t give a crap about what people think of him; he embodies the punk ethic of “F— YOU” completely. He’s perfectly OK with being a total square. So I vowed to embrace my own square-ness and keep my glasses, thank you very much. And I won’t be ashamed to wear pencil skirts, straight pants, flowy tops and sharp jackets. And I’ll never wear high heels onstage because I have a hard time singing in them.

I give people my best product when I’m being fully myself, and the same is true for any successful woman in music – from Patty Smith all the way to Beyonce. I’m not going to hide it behind a style that doesn’t work for me.

And I’m not going to let one dismissal from one cover band ruin my career. I got lots of other things to think about, besides. Like my choir and my indie solo career. That stuff leaves no time for people who are willing to trash my loyalty to the art of music.

At this point in the post, I originally thought I should give you readers a sexy photo of me to prove that I can rock my look, but I changed my mind. I am beautiful, but I got so much more to share than beauty. Instead, I want you to hear me, and once you’ve done that, you can tell me if I got what it takes.

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How to Deal With Unconscious Habits while Singing

Every so often, I get a voice student that will unconsciously trace circles with his dominant hand, or lean to one side, or roll forward on his toes as he sings. Whether he’s aware of it or not, he can’t help himself. It’s like a nervous tic.

One student of mine has a constant habit of raising both hands up to waist level as she sings higher and longer. When I made note of it, she said that yes, it’s a habit, and teachers have tried for years to get her to stop. But to no avail.

I figured it was probably because no one bothered to ask WHY she felt the need to do it.

So I offered the challenge myself: Over the next week, when you’re practicing, notice when you do this behavior and why. Don’t stifle it, just notice it. Do you do it to try to hit the high note, or support with the breath, or some other thing?

Often, these unconscious behaviors creep into our performance because we’re trying to do something – sing higher, better, longer, with more expression, or whatever else.

When you distinguish the reason for the behavior, fix THAT – not the behavior.

If your concern is breath, work on breath. If your concern is intonation, work on intonation. Work on the cause and not the effect.

The student agreed to take on the challenge. And as we went forward in the lesson, she discovered that she was raising her arms at points when she was worried about running out of breath.

Aha! Now you get to deal with breathing, I said. You found your trigger.

She lit up. Finally, someone who wasn’t going to pin her arms to her sides! Breathing was something she could control and work with, so that eventually her arms would be freed up to do more intentional things while she sang, whether deliberately resting or in expressive motion.

And intent carries great weight in vocal performance – even the most unsophisticated listeners can detect an automaton, a fake, a newspaper-in-the-wind kind of performer. No one wants that. So if you have an unconscious habit while singing, first find out why. When you find the cause, deal with that, and not the behavior.

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