Singing, like many other things (everything?) is best done when fully present in the moment: totally accepting of what’s happening, no judgment. This is a major challenge for nearly everyone I know!! It seems that a lot of anxiety about singing comes from analyzing it, and specifically, analyzing our feelings about it. According to NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), when you look down, you are accessing your emotions – they live down in the gut, so that makes sense. If you look up to your left, you’re accessing visual memory, and up to the right you’re creating new pictures in your mind. Looking toward your left ear is a signal of remembering a sound, and toward the right ear, creating a sound. So much action going on! No wonder we have a hard time staying present when we sing: we are remembering things, creating the next sound in our minds, looking at what the music looks like, maybe watching a mental movie (real or created) associated with the song, and the whole time judging ourselves when we do it. So – how to stop the judging?
Keep your eyes busy with a task – distraction helps to take some of the focus away from controlling everything. Look out a window and see what’s there. Find something beautiful and admire it as you sing – instantly your body relaxes as your mind gets off the ‘Am I okay? Do I sound nice? Am I doing this right?’ track. And we already know that a relaxed body allows to you sing better.
Psst – once you can reliably stop the judging, it’s time to start accessing the story in as many ‘modes’ as possible. More on that next week!