by Ramesha Nani
A few years ago I read a quote from a great musician and composer of the 18th century whose name escapes me. He said “Those who don’t do too much, aren’t doing enough.” Even though I couldn’t figure out why, I remember feeling that he was wrong. Too much is simply too much!
Every worthwhile goal requires a huge amount of energy, concentration, and effort, but that most certainly doesn’t mean that there’s not room in the process for relaxation. In fact, we can’t concentrate deeply if we’re not relaxed. Our efforts will only generate increasing amounts of physical and mental tension, diverting our focus toward the strain, rather than keeping it on the task at hand.
In singing, relaxation is paramount! A tense throat will never produce strong, resonant, and reliable sounds. Even while doing one’s best to work on the many details of good vocal production, we need to allow room for relaxation. I remember once, during one of my voice lessons, my teacher told me “Remember to focus on this, and that, and also that…” After a few minutes she added “You’re thinking too much! Relax!” I felt like I couldn’t win! But later on I got what she meant: concentrate, but without tension.
Have you ever had the experience of being stuck on a problem and relaxing and letting it go, only to find the solution present itself, often in an unexpected manner? This process works well with singing. When you repeatedly fail to get the sound you want, it’s often a good idea to stop and take a break. You can free yourself of the physical and mental tension blocking your efforts with a short walk or deep breathing.
Performing singers need to include practicing relaxation as part of their vocal training. Why? Because of the all too common tendency to be nervous in front of an audience. Nervousness will trigger an already existing physical tension, noticeably compromising the vocal quality. Nervousness is not always easy to control, but the conscious practice of relaxing the body and mind and make that a habit significantly lessens its influence on our voice.
[If you want to learn how to deeply relax your body and throat, click here. If you need help with stage fright, read this article.]
An important part of vocal training for most singers is ridding the throat muscles of needless tension. Vocal relaxation is essential to being a truly good singer. Without it, most of the energy and focus is directed toward the throat, rather than on the music you’re sharing with your audience. It’s like trying to write an inspired poem with a defective pen: your focus is always on on the pen, rather than on the flow of inspiration.
UPCOMING: Free vocal coaching on Facebook Live!
Join me for a LIVE event on my Facebook page called:
“SINGING FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE AFRAID OF SINGING”
When: Thursday, June 22 2017 at 11:30 PDT
Where: On my Facebook Page (please go there and like it if you haven’t yet!)
How to join:
- Go to my Facebook page
- Like it and follow it
- Once that’s done, you will receive an invitation from me through Facebook to join the live broadcast on Thursday, June 22 at 11:30.