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For Singers Who Have Ever Felt Stuck In Your Head. . . . . .

Happy almost Valentine’s Day! As I take in all the Hallmark sentiments floating around this time of year, I’m reminded that love is much deeper than romance. Love comes in many forms. Your relationship with your voice and with singing is the kind of love that can help you achieve things you never thought you could and take you places you never thought you’d go. . . . . if you only let it. I think we’ve all experienced moments when we just couldn’t get out of our head while singing. Some of us only experience it as a fleeting frustration, while others find it debilitating. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, I’m pretty sure that getting stuck in your head is a universal experience for most artists in some way, shape or form. And the reason why it’s so frustrating is because in that moment, your mind is standing in the way of the full expression of your love. And the feeling sucks!    This is why so much of my teaching and the content I bring you centers around the idea of mindfulness as it relates to singers and vocal technique. Without it, your expression – your LOVE

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What we all do that is the absolute definition of insane. . . .

  A little bit of business first: TOMORROW (Thurs 1/31) I will be LIVE ON FACEBOOK at 11am PST / 2pm EST / 7pm GMT for the very first time!  Click HERE to watch live or view the saved video later.  Episode 1 Topic: The #1 thing that will up-level your understanding of breath support for singing.    This is the MOST fundamental and FIRST thing I teach all of the singers who come to work with me privately, regardless if they’re an advanced singer or relatively new to technique. In my opinion, it’s the foundation that all other good singing technique is built on and I’ve got a whole new perspective on it for you LIVE TOMORROW.    If you’ve been coasting along with the same understanding of support for a while, wondering if there’s another layer of ease and consistency in your singing, I hope you will watch.   Now, enough business. Getting back to my subject for today. . . . . . My favorite mindfulness teacher posted something on his Instagram a few days ago that I really want to share with you.   I always say that when you change your thinking, you change your singing – and this post really made me

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Demystifying Breath Support

Lately I’ve been noticing just how much confusion and frustration singers have around breath support and breathing for singing.     Singers can get SO down on themselves when they don’t feel their breath is beneath them. Do you relate?   You’re tired of the fear of not making it to the end of the phrase. You wonder why your high notes feel strained. You’re frustrated when you don’t consistently sing the way you want to. You start blaming yourself that it’s all your fault you don’t really have what it takes. You start wondering if you are talented enough to be on this path.     The Inner Critic runs riot when, in reality. . . . . it’s not your fault!   It ALL comes down to breath support.  And you just haven’t been given the right tools to unlock the foundation of your support yet.    In my 20 years of helping singers and being a professional singer myself, I’ve discovered this:   The key to unlocking the foundation of good singing starts with getting under the hood to understand a few simple concepts about the physiology of breath support and sound. It’s a step that SO often gets skipped.   But that stops today!!   Now

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The Sensation Of Good Singing

There’s so much content out there with tips and tools for how to improve singing performance. Over the years there’s one key thing I’ve learned. It’s the first step a singer needs to take in order to unlock the potential of their voice. I was reminded of it the other day when I heard this quote by poet Nayyirah Waheed: “Listening is one of the only spaces where you can be still and moved at the same time.”  I love this quote because it reminds me that when we allow the mind to be still and just listen, we create space for transformation. Most singers think of listening as it relates to sound –  listening to the sounds of the instruments accompanying us, the sounds we make when we sing and the sounds we want others to hear us making. This kind of listening is outwardly focused on external sound and our external experience with it. When we are listening this way, we tend to force, manipulate and push our voice as a means of controlling an outcome. But there is another kind of listening. Listening to your body. Listening in this way means quieting the mind so you can

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Why You Have Tension & Strain When You Sing (and other reasons high notes are hard)

The Holy Grail for singers is the ability to sing without strain and tension throughout the entire expanse of your range while finding a free, powerful, resonant and vulnerable sound. Simple right???? I’m rolling my eyes right now – you probably are too. I feel you. I mean, if singing like that were simple, you’d be doing it by now. You would never strain going for high notes, you would never tense up at the end of a long phrase, you’d never feel anxious about what sound was going to come out – it would be amazing! The thing is, there’s a really good reason you’re frustrated, and guess what? It’s not your fault. Odds are, nobody ever told you about The Negative Feedback Loop Of Tension! I was reminded of The Negative Feedback Loop Of Tension recently when I got this message from a member of my virtual voice studio named Frankie. He writes:  “Just found your Chanel and I am hooked so far. I do need help with one thing. I have so much strain and tension and it will not go. I have watched hundreds of videos, honestly if not near thousands. When I push more and

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How To Find Your Most True And Organic Sound

I often hear from singers who say “I am having trouble finding my own sound”. Have you ever felt that way? For commercial singers (recording artists and musical theater singers) it can feel like you don’t quite know what lane your voice fits into, or what kind of singing or genre is the most organic for your voice. If you’re an opera singer, it can feel like being unsure of what fach you are in or what repertoire you should be singing at this stage of your artistic development. It’s an interesting concept, the idea of finding your own sound. It’s an exploration that involves discovering and accepting the true nature of our singing voice, which is no small feat. When we are younger, most of us grow up emulating the sounds our favorite singers make. When I was a kid (and I’m about to date myself here) I wanted to sound like Whitney Houston. I don’t have to tell you. . . . there’s no way a 10yr old white girl from Florida is gonna sound like Whitney Houston. But damn if I tried! Oh, I manipulated my voice, I pushed, I darkened it and in my head it sounded

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Perfectionism: The Thief Of Good Singing

Sometimes the things that improve our singing the most have nothing to do with singing at all. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to the standards we set for ourselves and why I say that perfectionism is the thief of good singing. We all want to sound good but at what point does that tip into perfectionism, and how can you know? Here are a few questions to ask yourself: Do I set standards waaaaay higher and more demanding for myself then the standards I apply to my friends/colleagues/family? Do I ever find that I have all-or-nothing thinking where I feel “almost perfect” as a failure? Do I ever have difficulty taking pride in my accomplishments because I am so focused on tiny perceived mistakes or imperfections in my work that I have trouble acknowledging the larger achievement? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions then you, my friend, just might be a perfectionist. Welcome to the club! Illustrious members include Steve Jobs, Mozart, Flaubert so you are in very good company. The thing is, while perfectionism may work for some people, it is mostly disastrous for singers. When we feel we have to be perfect

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Business Advice For Singers

I want to share a little piece of business advice for singers I learned later in my career that I WISH I’d learned from the very start. It’s not the kind of business advice that has to do with managing your dollars and cents. Rather it’s a foundational concept to managing your mindset around the business of your career as a singer. It is this: I am not just a performing artist, I am a business. Tattoo this on your forehead so that you see it every time you look into the mirror, it’s that important! Say it out loud: I AM A BUSINESS I’ve noticed that the mindset most of us start out our singing career with is not a business mindset, it is a “starving artist” mindset. It is a mindset of lack. It is a mindset that doesn’t generally take risks or invest in growth, and those are two of the most important predictors of success in any field. My own experience as a young singer and my experience working with all of you has taught me this: When we are in the “starving artist” mindset, we have a really hard time taking risks and investing in

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How To Transition From Chest Voice To Head Voice Smoothly

Does switching back and forth from chest voice to head voice give you anxiety? Want to know how to transition from chest voice to head voice smoothly and reliably EVERY SINGLE TIME?  If your answer is “Yes!”read on . . . . First off, you are totally not alone. The ability to transition from chest voice to head voice smoothly is the source of SO much insecurity for so many singers. And second, I don’t blame you! The middle voice can be a tricky part of the voice to negotiate and downright scary without good tools. Today I have some insights that will help. Many singers and voice teachers call this part of the voice “the break” because that’s exactly how it sounds and feels to so many of you. . . . like a fissure in your mechanism preventing you from moving fluidly from one register to another. And boy can it feel scary. . . . . like trying to cross the Grand Canyon without a bridge! Personally, I hate the term “the break”. I don’t use it to describe this part of the voice and I encourage you to toss it out too. You see, the words

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My Best Advice For Singers

Every so often I am asked what my best advice for singers is, and I always find the answer hard to articulate  – as if one sentiment could possibly encapsulate all that I want to say! The question came up again recently and has been on my mind.  And then it came to me. . . . . The best advice for singers I can possibly give is SO macro. It’s not about the specifics of breath support or finding resonance. It’s not about learning the right repertoire or understanding your voice type. It has to do with perseverance and dedication. The art and craft of singing, whether you are doing it at the professional level or as a passionate recreational singer, is a process that is and will always be evolving within you. To be a great singer and a great artist is to embrace that process. Become a lifelong learner of your craft.  That, my lovelies, is my best advice for singers. So as summer comes to an end and we’re all back from our lazy summer days (hopefully a little rejuvenated from any travel or vacation time we took), it’s the PERFECT time to get rededicated and