Musical success story - December 2023
Cheers! A wholesome musical success story for the holiday season and the closing of the year!
In spring of 2023, a man in his early 30’s reached out to start some vocal coaching with me. He was asked to perform Brown Eyed Girl for the father-daughter dance at his sister’s wedding, which was in 2.5 months and he was petrified. He had been playing guitar for fun on and off throughout his life, but was new to singing and had never played/performed in front of anyone before. He started guitar lessons and this teacher referred him to me. Thank you, BTW!
I could tell by our first “hello” it was going to take work to inspire his vocal confidence to shine. For my vocal studio, this is the solid ground I first want to develop. It’s been proven time and time again within my studio that if we can create a space where you believe it’s possible - that your voice is worthy - we will find your truest voice and it will thrive, even outside of just singing.
So, we dove into our lessons with this mind set and of course, in the beginning there’s a lot to work toward. There were habits that needed to be reset; the way he was bringing in his breath and using this air supply well, the way his Midwest articulation got in the way of releasing his real sound, the chin following the notes up and down aka reaching for low and high notes, not engaging the right muscles to keep the energy moving through the phrase…I could keep going..
These HABITS ARE REALLY HARD TO BREAK and are very common in untrained singers. It can be frustrating at first and there are a lot of feelings that creep in: failure, confusion, embarrassment and wanting to give up. Breaking long time/lifetime habits and creating new ones takes patience and time.
But! I tell you I am so proud of how focused and driven this man was. Obviously he had an end goal, but this goal became so much bigger when he started to see what he was capable of.
Fast forward, it’s 2 weeks before the big day. He’s worked so hard and his voice has grown into this sweet, honest and pure tone. 100% reflecting the kind of heart he is as a person and has for his family. Truly incredible to get from where we started to where were at that moment in the small amount of time we had.
The date was right around the corner, and the one thing we hadn’t worked through, but we HAD to work through was how to keep going. Not if, but WHEN the overwhelming emotions of his big heart for his family started to pour into his performance. Not only was he going to be nervous but it’s one of the biggest days for his sister. There will be so many emotions being felt that day and they will probably come out while he is performing. We had to prepare for this.
I asked him to walk me through what he was feeling and share some memories that him and his sister had growning up. We talked through what the performance would be like, what he would be seeing/witnessing, and then he ran through the song. Of course after this set up, he was laughing and crying and navigating how to keep going through the vocal cracks and missed guitar chords. (Practicing through these emotions sets you up to know what to expect when you get there and hopefully gain some tools to breathe through the nerves and switch off those parts of your mind - for just a minute so you can get through to the end.)
All this hard work and prep for every and any scenario really paid off and he was so proud of himself. He did it! Not only did he learn a new guitar style and master his own voice but he exceeded his expectations of what he thought he was capable of and nailed it!
We still work together - 6 months after his sister’s wedding - and will be continuing more work through the winter. He said, “I’m having so much fun. I have to keep going.” Me too, sir! So far this fall he has learned 4 new songs, 2 of which he wouldn’t have been able to sing with his previous habits. It’s been really exciting to witness how far he has come.
There’s overwhelming joy when all the work we’ve been focused on creates a place where these students feel proud, inspired and encouraged by their own self and their own voice.
Own your voice! You deserve it! Have a wonderful holiday season and hope your anticipation of the new year is filled with excitement for what you can and will accomplish!