Power Performing

One of the hardest thing with music is actually performing. Getting on stage and remembering all of the techniques you’ve practiced. I feel like whenever I perform I lost about 30% of things that I practiced. There are several things that you can do to combat this though.

First! Practice so much that it becomes habit. Remember though, perfect practice is the only way to have a perfect performance. Pay attention to everything you do and make sure you don’t let anything weird things creep in like strange hand gestures, weird tenseness in your face, or closing your eyes too much. And practice in front of a mirror, that way you can see if anything looks extra strange.

Second, all of your expression should come from your face. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use your body as well, but any gestures you make should be deliberate, clear, and big. If you don’t think a line deserves a big physical gesture than it doesn’t need any physical gesture. Your arms should just hang loose by your sides if you’re not using them. One warm-up exercise you can use to get use to this is sing on an “ah” up a fifth and then descend back down. While doing this lift your arm up and gesture out and then as you descend just let it fall naturally. You may feel tension and feel it want to descend slowly, but don’t let it! Just let it fall limp. Try this with other gestures like putting your hand over your heart, or on your neck, or wringing your hands together, but each time allow your arm to just drop naturally afterwards.

Third, practice your technique through your character. If you’re having trouble take big breaths then take a breath like your character might. Are you surprised? excited? sad? bored? It is always important to make sure you still maintain your posture though so don’t let your expression enter your body too much.

Fourth, your natural slate. Look at yourself in the mirror and completely relax your face into the most normal you can get it. This is your slate. This is the natural pallette you were given to express with. Maybe you have more of a frown in your face, this means you have to try harder to look happy, but less to look sad. Experiment with this and see what works best for you.

Now the most important, when you are outside of the practice room and on stage. When you are on stage and all your nerves are coursing through you, there honestly not a lot you can do to overcome that. You are going to feel nervous, and that’s okay. All you need to do is look down for a second, get in character, take a few deep breaths, I like to think of one or two important techniques that I need to sing well, then look up, and perform. It is that simple. It could feel like forever, but your audience wants the best you they can get, so give it to them!

An amazing book that covers some of these topics, and much more is Power Performance for Singers. Check it out and I’m sure you will learn a lot!


Compose your own Music!

One of the greatest things about singing is it is so easy to get started writing vocal music. Literally anyone can compose an interesting and new piece. Most people have a range between 3 and 4 octaves which is 36-48 distinct notes available on your instrument. The number of variations using 48 notes is well over several billion, which means that anyone can create a unique song by just humming for a little bit.

You can go about making music any number of ways. Some people will take a melody they like and add words. Others will take words and put it to music. I personally like to just get a chord progression going on my guitar and then just start singing and then recording whatever comes out. You would be surprised how easy it is so long as you just let yourself loose. Don’t get too in your head about it, just let it flow out of you and express your feelings. It can be incredibly therapeutic.

There are many things that can help you start writing. It is very, very, helpful to know how to play guitar, piano, ukulele, or any other good accompaniment instrument you can think of. If you don’t know how to play anything yet today is always a good day to learn something new. But if you want to start writing right away and hear it with someone, find a friend who can play. So many people out there know how and many of them will also be happy to show you how it’s done. People love performing. Not only that but writing music in a group can be so nice too. You can throw ideas back and forth until you come out with something you both love.

One of the most important things I’ll suggest to the budding writer is basic music theory lessons. It is so helpful to understand why chords sound the way they do and what chords tend toward others, knowing what kind of intervals sound good to the ear and which ones don’t, and know what rules are okay to break and being able to be experimental to see what you like. Musictheory.net is a great place to get some music theory lessons so you can start being able to read music and also notate it as well. It is really hard for me when I want to work with another artist and they don’t understand what notes are what. Sure you don’t want to get too bogged down rules, and terms, but it is so much easier to communicate what you want with basic music theory.

Speaking of music theory, one of the things you’ll want to understand is the four-chord song. All you need to know to make a good song is four chords. The technical order for it is I-VI-IV-V, or any variation of that order. If you already know how to play guitar then you know a majority of songs are just G, Em, C, D. Mess around with these chords and you can make any song you want and it’ll sound pretty decent. That being said learning to break these rules will certainly help you be extra unique, but it is a starting point! If you are still struggling with the idea of the four chord song, check out the video below by axis of awesome and you’ll understand what I mean.

So get out there and start writing. Put some lyrics on paper and figure what you want each note to do. Record and never ever delete it so that you can come back to old ideas. Don’t worry about how bad you think it is just express yourself and enjoy the process. Anything new can be frustrating but it is so rewarding once you get good at it!

Feeling the Rhythm

Many people new to music feel like they simply have no rhythm. In fact rhythm is one of the things that discourage people from starting on their musical journey, because they want to sing or play a song but it just sounds wrong and they can’t seem to get it right. But just like how very few people are clinically tone deaf, very few people actually have no rhythm.

Our bodies experience rhythms in everything we do. Brushing your teeth, taking a walk, texting on our phones, or just breathing in and out. All of these have their own rhythms that they follow. More importantly though, we all have a natural tendency to tap our feet or even dance when music starts. Sure some of us can’t dance as well as others, I know personally, my hips lie all the time. But we all are compelled to move regardless of ability.

Just like learning any art you must practice to get good at it. One of the best ways is to learn how to read music. A great explanation on that was done by Musicnotes. They explain how rhythms are divided into different kinds of beats.

If you already have that basic understanding though you my still struggle with actually singing in time. Most singers struggle with rhythm more than anything. We just focus on getting the notes first and the rhythms second and that is the WORST way to learn a new piece of music. If you sing the rhythm correct but the notes wrong then at least you are half right. If you sing the notes right but the rhythm wrong then you are 100% wrong. Your singing won’t align with the chords that accompany you and everyone will feel and hear how bad it is. If you are a little sharp or flat but completely rhythmic then people will at least feel the groove you are trying to portray. No one will want to work with you too if you can’t manage a consistent rhythm because it will just be uncomfortable and annoying to work with you.

The good news is there some exercises you can do to get better and eventually become one of the greatest rhythmists of our time. Here is a great exercise you can work on that will help you out!

Get a metronome or download a metronome app. Now set it to 60 beats per minute and count to 4 a long with it. 1, 2, 3, 4. It will feel really slow and it will be more challenging than you expect. Feel the time in between each beat until you have it down. Practice this daily if you can.

The most important thing to do is practice practice practice. Use the metronome for other stuff too. Mess around. Come up with your own ways to use it. Also try using it along with your music practice. Eventually you’ll be able to do any piece in time and everyone will love working with you for it!


Exercise Those Pipes

Get that voice swoll

If you want to be one of the great singers then it is essential that you exercise your voice daily. If you take any days off then your voice will take an immediate turn towards bad habits.


Man exercises his pipes while exercising.

It is vital to your singing career that you find a way to sing every day. The easiest way is to learn guitar and accompany yourself. You can also look up karaoke versions of all of your favorite songs on YouTube. The best way to make sure you’re keeping up with good technique is to join a choir either through school, church, or community-run choir. There are many ways to find local choirs in your area you can try using Meetup, or check in local community boards like at your local library or other places like that. You can also hire a voice coach if you have the money for it. The price can range anywhere from $40 on up to $150, and even higher potentially, for a half hour lesson. Schools are a great place to look because graduate and undergraduate students will be the cheapest and still have a lot to offer. There are also some studios that have multiple students which has the added benefit of occasionally running recitals so you can perform in front of others. Regardless of how you choose to sing make sure it happens every day.

Getting sick is one of the few exceptions because sometimes you physically can’t. You still can sing, but it is possible to damage your voice under those circumstances so be careful. If it hurts don’t do it! You will more than likely need sometime to recover back to your full voice afterwards. A lot of technique can go away when you are on vocal rest and it is different for everyone which areas are affected. It is up to you to figure that out. For me I lose my breath control first, so I usually do a lot of breathing exercises to get my lungs back up to full capacity. One of the things that affects most people is called vocal fry which is a creaking sound you can make by closing of the back of your throat and phonating. It is common in most people especially in the morning but it is even more common when you get sick. So do everything you can to talk in a higher voice after getting sick and most importantly if it hurts or wears you out then stop doing it.

Make sure you practice every day and you can become one of the great singers. I have a friend who could possibly be the next Justin Timberlake or Sam Smith because he has a serious passion for singing, and more importantly he practices every single day. So make it happen and reach your g


Why should I even sing?

The health effects of singing

If you’re here then you have asked yourself that very question. If I am not a good singer than why should I even bother? Why should I allow myself to be vulnerable with something I’m not even good at? Well there are many answers to that. My question to you is do you enjoy singing? If the answer is yes then,


Singing promotes so many wonderful things in the body. We can become aware of the way our body works. You breathe deeply and let your abs contract against your lungs to push all the air out to belt out those high notes. You get that feeling in your upper cheek bones and it starts to feel almost tingly. When you nail that tricky part of the song that took you many times listening to figure out. All these things promote a lot of healthy things in your body that you are probably unaware of.

Breathing is an essential part of life but taking in these deep breaths and using them to push out sound can have a relaxing effect on the body. It also helps circulate the oxygen to your whole body and brain. The brain receiving more oxygen can effectively making you smarter!

That buzzing feeling you get in your cheeks and nose can help prevent allergies. Also it can help your sinuses be healthier and help prevent illness.
Most importantly, when you start enjoying your singing it does so many different things to your brain. It helps you develop new synapses between neurons and stimulates those right brain muscles which is the creative side of your brain. It boosts confidence as well and can make you an already better and happier person.
And don’t take my word for it! Check out this article from the BBC that speaks about all the many healthy aspects of singing.

Come and Sing With Me!

I always hear people say “Oh I can only sing in the shower,” or “I can’t sing, I’m completely tone deaf.” I get so tired of hearing these excuses! Everyone can sing to some degree and shouldn’t feel discouraged before they even really try. I love hearing new people sing. I enjoy the uniqueness that every single person brings to the table. Music is the love of my life and I wish everyone would join in with me.


I advocate for singing because it is so fun and easy to join in song with other people. Whenever Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing comes on everyone always starts jamming out, and it’s always a fun time.

So don’t be afraid! Get out there and make music. Learn an instrument! Go out to a karaoke night somewhere! If you love it then do it and we can all enjoy the unique voice that everyone was born with.