As an aspiring singer, if you have ever dealt with such issues as:
- Upon hearing your recorded voice back, think, “Eeeww, that’s not me!
- You go for the high/ low notes and choke
- You run out of energy and can’t seem to complete a phrase seamlessly
- You sometimes confuse ascending and descending movements of pitch
… then you could benefit from using various concepts of reinforcement in the form of visualization.
We have either auditory or visual dominance in our brain’s analytical processing. One might assume that auditory would be the most desirable in singing. Not necessarily. Imagery may be very helpful, and cultivation can be developed. An analogy is making related doodles in the margins of text you need to memorize.
Solutions: Try individually, to discover which ones/ combinations are most effective for you.
- The ‘direction’ of the voice is often perceived as coming out of the mouth and straight forward, but it may be more advantageous to monitor oneself by ‘channeling’ the sound back toward the ears. Think of a ‘J’ shape.
- Similarly, if you think of the voice as coming ‘up’ through your body, instead send an energy downwards through your feet, grounding with the earth. Think of a pulley system, whereby the downward motion of one side automatically raises the other.
- Rather than thinking of pitches as existing on a vertical plane, try a horizontal plane. Extending your arm off to your left, begin a ‘siren’ on any vowel with your lowest pitch, slowly moving your arm to the right as you ascend pitch. Swing your torso around with the rising tone, watching your finger pointing to the horizon as you go. This gives all frequencies of your voice ‘equal opportunity’.
- If you feel as though your head might explode when you go for a high pitch, imagine that your head is a pressure cooker with the valve on top for all the excess ‘steam’ to escape.
- Think of the melodies in terms of changing shapes, especially helpful in right brain activity associated with overtone singing, in which the hemispheres become more highly integrated. (Overtone singing is the ability to clearly produce two or more pitches simultaneously.)
- Toning on a particular vowel with eyes closed encourages visual imagination rather than having the interference of external stimuli, therefore informing the singer of powerful associations.
- Use silence as you imagine creating a sound, ‘picturing’ the associated inner physical activity, eliminating interference of the brain’s auditory response.
- Using a mirror, notice your body language. If it seems extreme, counter it with the opposite extreme. Get someone else to observe your body language, as typically one is not self-aware of it (i.e. rag doll, wooden soldier, football quarterback). You might be ‘favoring’ a particular part of your body.
- Holding an imaginary bubble in front of you, fill the space with your voice, allowing the bubble to increase in size, moving your hands apart to simulate.
- Imagination is key: ‘picture’ being in your greatest comfort space, a useful concept for stage fright.
- EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, using body ‘tapping’ to reinforce new and useful programming)
- On a more concrete level, overtone spectrum analysis offers visual biofeedback, displaying color bands for which harmonics are pronounced, lending intuitive information about how to enrich the sound.
Above all, singing is a joyous mode of self expression, so to convey yourself with a full palette of the senses is the most effective way to move your audience.