Live Fearless and Sing Free

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Why do we have to Live Fearless before we can Sing Free? Is it even possible to live free of fear? How do we tackle the seemingly overwhelming process of overcoming our fears and allowing ourselves to freely express who we are? This is a process I am still in the middle of, and a journey I feel we all need to take in order to truly be the best singers, and the best people, we can be. My goal in these posts is to share some of my journey as a singer and performer and the fears I have dealt with, along with some that I’m still dealing with, and hopefully give you some encouragement and empower you to deal with your own fears. I believe that we were all designed to Live Fearless and Sing Free! So let’s go on this journey together and root out those fears that are holding us back from truly being free.

We all deal with fear in some way. Maybe it’s a fear of public speaking, or singing in front of other people, or even simply admitting you want to sing. Auditions can cause anxiety, performances can cause panic attacks, and sometimes even just having to sing happy birthday to our friends can cause us to shrink back and not want anyone to hear us. There is something very personal and often incredibly vulnerable about sharing your voice with others, it can be a very scary thing.

I have found for myself, as well as many of my voice students, that as we deal with our fears and insecurities about our voice or singing in front of people, it often reveals and confronts fears in other areas of our lives. I believe this is because the root of our “performance anxiety” is often the same root as our anxiety in other areas of our life. Even if getting up in front of a crowd of people to belt out the Star Spangled Banner is not your goal, examining how you feel about using your voice in front of people can help you discover and address any inhibitions you may have about sharing your voice, your thoughts, and yourself with the world. It can help you be bold and stand up for yourself, give you more confidence sharing your ideas in the workplace, or simply help you feel more comfortable striking up a conversation with new people. So while I may direct most of these posts to specific things singers deal with, remember that we ALL have a VOICE. Even if you aren’t singing on stage in front of hundreds of people, it’s important to feel free to share your voice, and who you are, with those around you.
Dealing with fear is one of the first things I talk about in voice lessons, even before working on vocal technique. What many of us don’t realize is that while vocal technique is important, the mental and emotional component is just as, if not more, important. The reality is that our fears have a physical effect on us. There is a physical response to being afraid: Fight, flight, or freeze. Most people get tense or lose their breath when they are nervous, which counteracts your vocal technique. So while the first techniques we work on are breathing and relaxing, those are also usually the first things to go out the window if you aren’t able to control your nerves when you got to perform!

Not only does your fear affect your physical ability, but that emotional connection and expression that makes a truly great performance only comes when we are confident and not holding back our voice or our personality! It takes a great deal of vulnerability to have a truly authentic performance. That authenticity is what makes your performance real and unique to you, it is what makes your performance special. True authenticity requires vulnerability and takes great courage.

Just like our performance is made up of physical and emotional components, I feel like our fears can also be broken down into physical (practical) and emotional fears. In my journey, I found that while I dealt first with the physical/practical side of things, in truth those things were only symptoms of the deeper emotional reasons for those fears…like perfectionism. Practical fears are those things that can be worked out with practice. Things like being afraid of hitting the wrong note, tripping on stage, forgetting the lyrics (that’s my big one!!), having my voice crack, etc. Those are things I can work on in practice and feel confident when I walk on stage because I’ve done it correctly in practice.

While I do have some tips on how to practice through those types of fears, I think the most important thing is really getting to the Root of those fears and dealing with those deep emotional fears that cause us to feel terror at the thought of screwing up. Let’s be honest, none of us are going to have a perfect performance every time. We have all made mistakes on stage…seriously, the stories I have of forgetting lyrics, singing the wrong tune, and even losing a shoe on stage, while funny now, were not so awesome when they happen in front of a huge crowd of people.

So in the next few posts we are going to break down those practical fears and dive in to what may be underneath them. Why is it so terrible for my voice to break, or for me to forget the lyrics? What do I think will happen if I mess up? Why is it so important for my performance to be perfect? For me answering these questions is how voice lessons became like therapy for my whole life!

Even now I’m working through another layer of deep things that can cause me to hold back from being vulnerable and truly authentic, in life and in my performance. I feel like throughout this journey God has often brought me back to those early days of working through my practical fears and the emotional fears underneath them to reveal and confront another layer of what is keeping me from singing completely free. My hope is that no matter where you are on your journey, as I share mine we can all grow in our ability Live Fearless and Sing Free!


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      Live Fearless Tank Blue   Live Fearless with Ms Forte

Therapy Thursday: Having an Authentic Performance

Hey Everyone… It’s been awhile since I posted, and of course I have all sorts of reasons/excuses for that. I decided to try to pursue some performing dreams and started auditioning for a number of things, which took a great deal of time to prepare. But to be honest the biggest reason is the same issue I dealt with when going to all my auditions….I’m super nervous. See I have this “perfectionist” nature where I feel like everything must be exactly right and I want to be put together and “professional” and have people see me and go “wow!” Don’t we all want people to say “wow”?! Maybe it’s just cuz I’m a performer…but whatever. So I have been nervous about auditions…and nervous about putting out videos, cuz the truth is, I don’t have it all together, and when it comes to videos I certainly don’t have it all together! I feel like I am this crazy mix of confidence and insecurity. On the one hand, I am confident in my singing ability and even in my teaching ability, worked through most of the nerves on those years ago…however, my video shooting/editing/people actually being interested in watching what I have to say…not so much. But going through these auditions (and bombing some of them!) has taught me some things…or rather started to teach me some things (it’s a process)… and I think it’s going to change my approach to this blog/videos. I definitely still want to share vocal tips and lessons and practical help for how to use your voice. But I think I’m going to open it up and do a little more “not so structured” for a bit. Even if it’s just for me! So here’s a few things I’m learning through my audition process:
The number one thing I have been told by coaches/actors/singers/casting directors/everyone is BE AUTHENTIC. Give an “authentic performance”, be true to the character and let your choices come from a real place, we want to see YOU, we want to hear YOUR heart/emotions/what the song means to you. Whether you are auditioning for a “character” or singing something as yourself, people want to hear and see YOU, what you bring to the song and/or role. Show YOUR Best self is what they say…but how to do that?! While I obviously don’t have all the answers (or I would be getting many more jobs!) here’s some things I am learning.
How to have an authentic performance/audition.
1) Know who you are
2) LIKE who are…Flaws and All
3) Believe and expect that people will like who you are…flaws and all!
Be willing to risk being honest, with yourself and others. Put yourself out there. It’s scary, but it’s actually what people are looking for. I’m so amazed at how I “think” I’m doing this in songs, but realize that I’m “acting”…and in order to give an “authentic” performance I have to be willing to let people see my flaws and insecurities as well as my awesomeness 😊

SO, since I need to work on this, I’m going to do it here, on the internet, in front of God and everybody so to speak 😊 I’m going to commit to sharing one thing about myself every week. Just being open and honest and real about who I am, my life, thoughts, music, whatever. It may not be great quality, but I’m going to do it! This is my work at not being a perfectionist and thinking that everything has to be totally professional and put together. Hopefully, one day I will get there, but truthfully if I do it will be because I have paid people to help me…cuz I certainly can’t do it on my own! Hopefully, through watching my journey, flaws and all, I can help you find your voice as well!