So you SAY you can sing...

So you SAY you can sing...
Monday musings...

I am astounded and continue to shake my head at the calls/texts/messages I often get from 'singers' who are in crisis.

Why?  Certainly not that they are in crisis, but because they WAITED TOO LONG to get the correct and positive help and reinforcement that could have PREVENTED the crisis.

Opera singers tend not to do this.  However, music theatre singers,  and pop/commerical/contemporary singers (sorry to sweep you all together) tend to be the ones who wait too long.

WHY!?!?!?!

For those of you in theatre, in pop/rock/commerical genres, who study regularly, who stay healthy in all ways and look after and build the instrument,  THANK YOU.

For those of you who wait for crisis to hit - it's often too late.

This is for YOU.

Ultimately, the voice is an athletic instrument.  It has a physicality to it that needs DEVELOPMENT.  Just because you are musical, or have a pleasing sound, does NOT make you a vocal athlete!

If you are wanting to be hired or are being hired to perform 8 shows a week (or even 5!),  or go on tour with a band,  et al - and you haven't studied or aren't studying and know what your instrument CAN do and what it can't - then you have no business taking the gig. Period.

Three voice lessons and "I got this" doesn't make you a singer.  That would be like you wanting to enter a body building competition, thinking you just had to go to the gym once a week for 30 minutes for 3 weeks and be able to lift 250 without strain or compromise.

IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

If the voice is not developed properly, correctly, in a healthy and individual way,  it will break down and let you down.  It needs nurturing, knowledge, and careful development.

If you are even CONSIDERING auditioning for show that will ask you to sing - why would you put craft aside?!?!?  This makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE TO ME!

If you want to sing - you learn to become a singer.  You learn how your voice works,  how it develops and you do the work to enable that instrument to become fully realized.

Why should people spend money to come and see/hear you when you haven't invested in yourself?

Honesty, knowledge and a reality are necessary for ANY performer.

Knowing what you have and how to use it to its maximum potential is key.

Strength and athleticism of the vocal instrument result in an instrument that has much more of a chance to  stay healthy and not get injured.  A strong and healthy voice allows for a strong and healthy performance and a longevity to take on the tasks you have been contracted to DO.

If your voice is injured in ANY way - MTD,  reflux,  nodes/polyps/, swollen cords,  CTR - you are in crisis and need a reality check.

Fatigue - we all get that.  Vocal fatigue happens due to the nature of the task.  HOWEVER, we can develop a technical behavior and a lifestyle that enables us to recover quickly and deliver the task at hand.

Waiting til crisis hits and then suddenly looking for a quick fix is desperate and frankly,  ridiculous.

If the body is injured,  it needs to rest to begin recovery.  Why would the voice be any different?  If the voice does not get the sufficient rest to begin recovery,  you are singing on an injury.  That injury will get worse, not better.  You have a decision to make:

Are you going to perform with an injured voice,  and continue to re-injure it,  and give a sub-par performance due to your inability to access a balanced instrument?  Or are you going to take the "risk" of healing the instrument and building it correctly to allow for the possibility of a longer career?

You get ONE VOICE.  That's it.  You blow it out - you are done. Period.

Vocal athleticism is about the physicality of that instrument, the development of that instrument and the CARE of that instrument.

If you choose to become a "professional" and take on a contract that demands your vocal instrument, it is UP TO YOU TO DEVELOP IT FIRST.

Don't wait for crisis and wonder why it won't fix itself.

"I got this?"  uhm, no you don't.

Give your head a shake, and get with reality.  Do you want to sing or don't you?  Then do it properly and well and honor your profession and yourself.

I can't wave a magic wand.  Don't expect that.  DO THE WORK BEFORE YOU GET TO CRISIS!

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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