The Fear Factor

“I can’t make that sound, I will hurt my technique.”

“I can’t make that sound, I will hurt my voice.”

“I can’t make that sound, it will damage my singing.”

“If I make that sound, I will sound too different. I will lose myself.”

“If I sound like that, no one will like my singing.”

 

On and on. All of these statements rest on fear. Fear of losing control, fear of letting go, fear of change, fear of being hurt.

In order to learn something, you have to be willing to admit you do not know. In order to learn something new and different, you have to be willing to go where you have not gone. This will make you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. If you do not go outside your own “comfort box” you will never grow. Change and growth are painful, but without them, things just stagnate. If you study something that is physical, you have to be willing to challenge yourself to do what you have not done, or do it differently.

And, with a physical skill, you have to be your own monitoring system. Something that feels very difficult could be OK because it is new and challenging or because it is wrong for you or because you are doing it wrong. The only way to know is to stay with it for a while and see how it goes. There are no rules except trial and error and common sense.

No sound, done once, will automatically “hurt” you or your voice. No sound, done correctly, will automatically be damaging. No sound, done carefully, will be harmful to you, if you pay attention to the messages your body is giving you while you do it.

The only thing you need to fear is, yes, that’s right, being afraid. If you are working with a teacher who creates a safe environment in which to explore new things, you will discover them in a way that is fascinating, creative and exciting. If you are working on your own and you go slowly and listen to the messages of your own throat and body, you are not likely to cause yourself any problems. The risks involved in exploring new sounds are well worth the possible results. The fearfulness about not doing anything new is a far greater risk – to your artistry, to your vocal capacities and to your soul.

The only way to sing is fearlessly and the only way to be fearless is to really, truly know your instrument from the inside out.

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