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are we afraid to sing?

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i'm just gonna lay this out on the table for us to contemplate.....

simply put, are some of us afraid to sing? are we possibly subconsciously afraid to sing? are we holding back without even being aware of it? do we sing in "safe" mode, thinking this will keep us from injury? do we "really" know that this or that will injure our voice? can singing safe be more detrimental than pushing the envelope?

maybe the voice needs more (whatever "more" means) than we give to it rather than less?

just some thought to ponder...

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i'm just gonna lay this out on the table for us to contemplate.....

simply put, are some of us afraid to sing? are we possibly subconsciously afraid to sing? are we holding back without even being aware of it? do we sing in "safe" mode, thinking this will keep us from injury? do we "really" know that this or that will injure our voice? can singing safe be more detrimental than pushing the envelope?

maybe the voice needs more (whatever "more" means) than we give to it rather than less?

just some thought to ponder...

This is a topic that is wayyyy deeper than we really know. Many of us are not afraid of singing just because of injury, but because of the stress that society puts on us to be good at singing. We are afraid to sing because we are afraid to be ridiculed and talked about. We are afraid to sing because someone once told us to shut up because we are singing to loudly or it doesn't sound good. We are afraid to sing because we are afraid to speak and we are afraid to speak because we are afraid to live.

Singing is just a small problem compared to what we face everyday. There are deeper issues preventing us from singing well. These issues can be found within culture, religion, politics, race, background, and any other stressful situations that we have witnessed or been a part of during our life.

I know this seems way off topic, but these are some of the major causes of our problems with singing. We have been robbed of the freedom to truly express ourselves.

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I agree with Izzle, It's not the physical injury or afraid we'll push too much. Like many have said before it's mental. And some may have no problem with what others will think of them but what they may think of themselves.And still others the other way around.

For me when I was young I loved to sing and didn't care what other people thought. My older brother was in a band and was the singer. People loved to hear him sing. Then at my brothers band practice they wanted to hear me sing. Instead of asking me what I could sing, they started playing a song that I had barely even heard and it was way out of my range. Needless to say I sounded terrible and everyone knew it and worst of all I knew it.

My whole family sings. For me this is a good thing and a bad thing. I know what good singing sounds like and I know when I'm sounding bad. When my family would get together on saturday night There would 8-10 people singing, they all had their parts and they knew what they were supposed to do. I was 10 -12 years old. I would search for my part, trying to find a starting note. Instead of helping me at that point many of them would tell me that I was messing them up or stepping on their part.

Now, I will sing but I will sing my songs by myself ,the the way I sing them not always in the key of the original artist and not always in the same style.

I am not afraid of singing but I am afraid of sounding bad.

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I agree with Izzle, It's not the physical injury or afraid we'll push too much. Like many have said before it's mental. And some may have no problem with what others will think of them but what they may think of themselves.And still others the other way around.

For me when I was young I loved to sing and didn't care what other people thought. My older brother was in a band and was the singer. People loved to hear him sing. Then at my brothers band practice they wanted to hear me sing. Instead of asking me what I could sing, they started playing a song that I had barely even heard and it was way out of my range. Needless to say I sounded terrible and everyone knew it and worst of all I knew it.

My whole family sings. For me this is a good thing and a bad thing. I know what good singing sounds like and I know when I'm sounding bad. When my family would get together on saturday night There would 8-10 people singing, they all had their parts and they knew what they were supposed to do. I was 10 -12 years old. I would search for my part, trying to find a starting note. Instead of helping me at that point many of them would tell me that I was messing them up or stepping on their part.

Now, I will sing but I will sing my songs by myself ,the the way I sing them not always in the key of the original artist and not always in the same style.

I am not afraid of singing but I am afraid of sounding bad.

Great Post! I'm glad you shared that with us.

I have mad a few posts regarding how natural certain things "should be" but are not. Now it is our job to work on every aspect of what could be affecting these natural conditions.

We have to look at the big picture and what is universal to all.

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I would like too add that no one tried to put me down on purpose. They were just doing their own thing and at the time I was a child. They did not realize the effects it would have on me.

One reason for saying this is: Things may have happened in our past that do effect us now but if we can realize that they are part of our stumbling blocks we can work to to remove them.

Still when I sing a higher part I tend to not use enough force Afraid that I will miss that note and sound bad. This causes me to not use enough support and I miss that note anyway. If I would go ahead and get loud I would more than likely sing that note on key and more powerful.I am stopping myself from singing better.

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One thing that can fix this is to regularly go sing in front of a live audience. Especially many songs in a row. Last weekend I did two 5 hour gigs, believe it or not, on friday and saturday, to a packed, but small pub. That was quite a vocal stamina test and I believe that such a thing can teach you many things about your voice that you can never learn anywhere else.

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Actually, Bob, I think you just want to go back to blasting away, like you used to do and want justification to do so. Your polyp diagnosis and recovery, specifically through lighter vocal exercises was based on the idea that if you go hard again, you will damage yourself. But it is absolutely grinding on your very last nerve to not get to blast away in "high chest" as you used to do.

Just go for it and accept the consequences, either way. Either you are fine, or you do damage. But at least, you will sing "your way."

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My main point was if not for the tensions we have built up because of hurt feelings, culture, race, and any other thing that affects our psychological mindset then these goals we have would have already been attained.

Without these hurt feelings, culture, race, and psychological influences we may not have these goals.

According to science singing is a happy side effect of the body protecting itself. The components were originally meant to keep us from choking on our food, or regulating oxegen intake, or chewing food....

If you are science minded singing is not natural. We being humans through the years found that we could do other things with our voices. We taught ourselves these coordinations. We learned how to control and train the mechanisms.

I believe we as humans taught ourselves to sing because we have emotions. And it may be our emotions that hinder us but is also our emotions that will make us better singers as well.

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I do agree the folds were made for vocalizing but not necessarily for speaking or singinging as we know it.

And you may be right the vocal folds may have been designed for singing to begin with.

Just to let you know I do respect your opinion. I only bring up these things to give us another way to think of things and keep the debate going.

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Singing is something that is commonly believed to be a do or do not thing, not a skill, but rather a divine gift or a miracle of nature.

Experiences of a whole life, BOTH speaking and singing will define the voice of one person, and each will be unique and different.

On top of it, we can add that, singers are not expected to do mistakes, there is no learning curve on the mind of others. If you say that you are going to sing something, all expectators will expect a professional level performance, with all the details that producers and coachs included on it, plus plasticity and homogeneity actually BETTER than auto-tune. And damn you if you are not original and just copy someone.

So yes, its freaking scary to face an audience WITHOUT knowing the skill very well! Because you know very well what YOU would expect from a singer that is on stage.

And, at the price of sounding "cocky" as I know I do sometimes, I can say that all the songs within the repertoire of my band right now, I can deliver with quality, I know I can sing them, its very solid, and even so, its still scary. Because nothing is assured, what if the audience simply dont like it? And there are irrational fears that will always be there with you.

How many of you guys did wedding ceremonies? The first times I sang on this kind of event, on moments like when the bride is comming in, or other similar points that are key to the life of other persons and that will probably be recorded and carried on for the rest of their lifes, man it felt really scary, may sound silly, but even easy songs like stuff from Elton John or Simply Red worried me, a lot.

Its not something overwhelming, and you get used to it, but it also never totally disappears. And specially on this kind of event, its still scary for me.

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Singing is something that is commonly believed to be a do or do not thing, not a skill, but rather a divine gift or a miracle of nature.

Experiences of a whole life, BOTH speaking and singing will define the voice of one person, and each will be unique and different.

On top of it, we can add that, singers are not expected to do mistakes, there is no learning curve on the mind of others. If you say that you are going to sing something, all expectators will expect a professional level performance, with all the details that producers and coachs included on it, plus plasticity and homogeneity actually BETTER than auto-tune. And damn you if you are not original and just copy someone.

So yes, its freaking scary to face an audience WITHOUT knowing the skill very well! Because you know very well what YOU would expect from a singer that is on stage.

And, at the price of sounding "cocky" as I know I do sometimes, I can say that all the songs within the repertoire of my band right now, I can deliver with quality, I know I can sing them, its very solid, and even so, its still scary. Because nothing is assured, what if the audience simply dont like it? And there are irrational fears that will always be there with you.

How many of you guys did wedding ceremonies? The first times I sang on this kind of event, on moments like when the bride is comming in, or other similar points that are key to the life of other persons and that will probably be recorded and carried on for the rest of their lifes, man it felt really scary, may sound silly, but even easy songs like stuff from Elton John or Simply Red worried me, a lot.

Its not something overwhelming, and you get used to it, but it also never totally disappears. And specially on this kind of event, its still scary for me.

Felipe great post! This is very inspirational.

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ron, you're right. i'm an intense singer and always will be. but i'm no fool. the key i have found to powerhouse vocals is the support. that's why i do a lot of things on breathing and support.

if i sing with fear of getting another polyp, i'm dead in the woods.

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ron, you're right. i'm an intense singer and always will be. but i'm no fool. the key i have found to powerhouse vocals is the support. that's why i do a lot of things on breathing and support.

if i sing with fear of getting another polyp, i'm dead in the woods.

I think you need to go back to what you do best. It will help you relax. There's no telling what caused the polyp. If one is a singer, the first assumption anyone makes is that, akin to getting a node, you "must have been doing something wrong."

A polyp could come about from speaking. Maybe. Or it could just be one of those things that pops up. Maybe from overuse, rather than misuse. You speak all day long in your job. And then at least an hour of exercises, I am sure.

Or, it was just a thing that came and went.

Get back to the powerhouse that is Robert B.

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I have no fear of injury. At this point I have enough physical awareness of my body to know when enough's enough, and I almost always avoid pulling chest.

I have no fear recording. I get as many takes as I need and I have the technique to sing what I want to, so it will come together, I just don't always nail it 100% consistently, so I'm generally not the "1-take" type.

My fear is almost exclusively in performing live. My head tones often sound bad or get constricted because I couldn't find an opportunity to warm up and hydrate. I'm fine up to Eb4, anything above that can fail if I'm mentally insecure about it and my voice isn't prepared. Also I blank on lyrics quite a bit. I'm great at memorization, but not recalling that memory instantly.

The lovely part is I've found ways to lessen this fear:

-Pick material that isn't too risky, something I can "nail" more often than not.

-Practice the song from start to finish for a couple days leading up to the performance

-Warm up and have some tea or water before performing (this is actually the hardest part for me for some reason...can't get away from people in the type of gigs I do)

-Turn off my left brain when I hit the stage. Honestly, immediately after my best performances, I can count the number of thought processes I had during that performance on one hand.

-Keep a positive and confident mental attitude while on stage; carry some "swag"

And of course there's also "stuff happens" live scenarios that can make anyone nervous by putting a performance on edge. Mostly if you're singing and playing another instrument. If you're just singing it basically comes down to not hearing yourself in the monitor. But if you're singing and playing guitar, the mic stand could be slipping, your guitar could be not quite in tune, you could have trouble changing chords without turning your head, you could drop a pick, etc. Luckily most of that is preventable.

Great post Owen

This will be very helpful to many of the readers.

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You're welcome, Bob.

I have no fear recording. I get as many takes as I need and I have the technique to sing what I want to, so it will come together, I just don't always nail it 100% consistently, so I'm generally not the "1-take" type.

My fear is almost exclusively in performing live.

Owen, I am the opposite. 97 % of the songs I have posted here are 1 take, especially the acoustic ones, where I am playing guitar and singing at the same time. And a good chunk of those are the first and only take. Because I have always been a live singer. I clutch up when I am recording. I get "red light" syndrome.

In front of a crowd, no problem. But recording and watching the computer monitor, it's messing me up. Maybe that's a hint to myself. Turn away from the screen.

One time, I recorded a song in sections and it ruined the legato, according to one critique. Even though it was mixed by a truly talented member. He can only mix what is presented to him.

It's been hard for me to record in sections or punch in something else. Because I expect to sing the song live, when necessary.

It was easier for me to record on my 4-track analog machine because I couldn't see what waveforms were doing. I was just going by ear.

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