By: Brittany Trinité
Many of the lessons we learn as singers apply as words to live by! Some are cliché, some are personal, some are metaphors, but they are all important in learning how to use our voices and how I live.
Different ideas work for different people, just as no one is built the same, thinks the same, or lives the same. Here are some discoveries I have made in my journey of singing and life experiences:
Preparation is key.
This is one of the first bits of advice I got from my undergrad voice teacher. Show up knowing the material, and if you can Google it, for the love of cheese, do that instead of asking! Know what the text means, who the character is, who you're singing for, and all the basics. Preparing isn't only in being ready for a test, but also budgeting time, money, resources, and right before the actual act of singing itself…
I'm serious. People forget to breathe. It happens to everyone! Breathing is good for you. IT KEEPS YOU ALIVE. Music therapy studies have shown singing is a healthy activity because breathing rejuvenates you, calms you, encourages thought in all parts of the brain, and sends out endorphins. All kinds of positive results in health are enhanced when breathing becomes a focus! It also gives you a chance to gather your thoughts. A great coach once said to think while breathing and then sing.
This is tricky. You have to know what is coming next, while knowing where you are and not dropping the required sustained energy to perform well. Dropping the ball in life can also affect the flow of productivity. Thinking ahead can releave some of that stress.
Relaxing is important.
For me, one of the hardest things about live performance is being able to release tension so that I can breathe and make the best sound possible for me at that time, without becoming a pile of Jell-o. People hold tension in all these strange places: the jaw, neck, shoulders, feet, face, hands...all over. To release some of this tension in singing and in life, get a massage. Learn what helps you release tension and give your mind a break! Whatever your bliss is, do some of that to hit the reset button.
Your Body is Your Temple.
Your body is your instrument so it is important to treat it with care. To take care of your intrument you must take care of your whole body. If you're tired all the time, depressed, mad, or even just ridden with colds or allergies, it affects your voice. Let's be real, it affects your mentality! Working out some of my own worries and exercising has helped me to blow off steam. I feel less stressed, and even end up being nicer to everyone. There are resources available to improve any part of your health, if you ask!
I'm a work in progress.
And that is MORE than okay. Learning is good! Getting help from others, using resources, and then learning to use your own tool box all contribute to your growth as a singer and as a professional human being! My students are often surprised that voice teachers have teachers, too. We never stop learning. It’s hard to think I'm always changing, learning, and growing, and it can seem like a receding horizon as far as a finished product or reaching a goal goes. Accepting that we are all a work in progress will take away some pressure to be perfect!
"Fake it 'til you make it."
Or as Gandhi said, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” You know more than you give yourself credit for, but knowing the next steps to take might be harder. Think about your answers before saying "I don't know", or take the steps to get there. If you aren't sure where to begin, go back to basics.
There are no overnight successes!
We are all on our own paths. If it takes longer to land that first role because you’ve busted your tail getting your technique together and saving up, then you’ll be all the better for it. It's great to be challenged and work hard, but there is nothing wrong with working a set of arias for awhile while in school or working to pay the bills. The only person you are accountable to is yourself. If you know what your best is, you know how to git ‘er done!