You’re on stage, microphone in hand, and you open your mouth to sing. But instead of hearing the roar of your voice belting that note, you hear the nervous whimper of your throat closing and the blood drains from your face.
Yeah, I’ve been there too.
Unfortunately, this feeling can overtake us during our lessons too. (You mean, even when I’m not on stage? Yes, even then.) We can freeze up and feel vulnerable, even in front of our trusted vocal coach. The lights may not still be on us, but it sure feels that way.
We don’t want to waste that hour of lessons — and we especially don’t want to waste that chunk of change we saved up to pay for it!! So here are three tips to help you through the jitters the next time this happens during your lesson:
- Drink water and keep a relaxed throat. Nerves cause both dehydration and tension, which means those otherwise slippery, stable vocal chords are now sticky and shaky. Grab your water bottle and drink slowly. If possible, try to drink water at room temperature.
- Ask questions, and don’t be afraid to go slower! You’re not in a race and you are not being graded on progress. Lessons are meant for learning, and your mistakes will only make you better! Take a deep breath, close your eyes for a moment, and reboot your system. Then ask your vocal coach what you can do to improve your technique in that moment. Any advice he or she gives you will be useful not just for now, but for the big show!
- Center on yourself. Your vocal coach makes it look (and sound) easy, so you may wind up imitating your teacher just for the sake of imitating. Remember that you’re here to find your own voice and sound. Focusing on yourself also helps you to identify and understand when you are doing an exercise correctly or incorrectly. And that will make for a better outcome at the end of that hour.
This all goes without saying that if you’re studying with a coach that makes you feel uncomfortable and nervous, it’s probably time to find another teacher. You’re paying someone your money (and, even more valuable, your time) to make you the best singer possible. Make sure your teacher is just as committed to that mission as you are!
Now go have the best lesson ever this week!!