Advanced Singers: Strategies For Success

In the previous article I followed up on the free video provided at www.TheSingingZone.com. I outlined why it is that people who have a hard time singing on key can learn to sing on key in a very short amount of time. I also mentioned why it is rather impossible to accomplish these dramatic and rapid results as long as you sing scales.

But what about advanced singers? Are the strategies I outlined only for beginners?

Not at all. The advanced singers who engage in the strategies of the Bristow Voice Method (whether in private or via The Singing Zone/Sing With Freedom home study program) know that much of the training encourages you to turn off your auditory sense temporarily (at will), and the reason for that is to help you develop a greater kinesthetic awareness than before (which can’t be done as long as you are listening and judging yourself).

With this greater awareness you can now effectively release tension, develop greater freedom and effectively develop strength, flexibility (range) and more.

In the precious article, I used the act of throwing a ball at a target as an analogy. I explained why making the child “focus on the target”(which engages the visual sense) is as counterproductive as telling a singer to sing scales and listen for the notes.

This applies just as much, if not more, to an advanced singer who has little need to just "sing notes" over and over again.

So let’s go back to the "throwing a ball at a target"analogy, but let’s this time use a professional baseball pitcher as an example.The “pitcher” is the person whose sole job is to throw the ball at the target. Does he, therefore, practice throwing at a target all the time?

Of course not. He spends an enormous amount of time on other activities to develop strength, coordination and flexibility. Many of the activities never even include a ball.And when he does practice with a ball, much of the time he will focus on parts of his body - on the execution of a movement-rather than on the target.If he has an injury or weakness, his focus and training will change accordingly.

A professional pitcher knows better than to believe that he will develop strength and flexibility of his rotator cuff, or heal an injury, by just throwing a ball over and over.

Yet, many singers believe they are practicing effectively by just singing the same scales over and over. Many follow warm-up tracks, or pre-recorded audio exercise tracks, and sing the same scales in the same tempo, and in the same order, day in and day out.

Many become stifled and stagnate since they continue doing what they’ve always done The day a problem occurs they, understandably,don’t know what to do. Naturally, no scale, pattern of notes,or vowel/consonant combo is ever going to heal a physical problem.

As I mentioned, when my professional clients develop a deeper level of awareness, they can also rapidly do something about the “problem” they might have.They can release restrictions and effectively develop greater strength, range, resonance, endurance and so on.Singing patterns of notes and trying to hit the notes “correctly” is not what a professional needs when he/she experiences restrictions in the voice.

With greater physical freedom, you can perform with greater freedom and create a greater bond with your audience. Your performance will, therefore,become more successful.

Now, you might be thinking "but you still need to sing the notes to be a good singer".Yes, of course you need a good ear to be a musician, and there are ways to effectively develop that. However,that is for another discussion. The issue here is to learn what to focus on at any given time.

We could discuss this forever, but understanding intellectually obviously does very little in this case. To really develop the awareness and freedom we’re discussing, you must of course engage in doing - in the training. There is just no way around it. Nor can we experienceany significant results if we are not mentally willing to let go of preconceived ideas and truly experience something new. (This applies to all learning)

But I hope, at least, this has helped you understand some of the underlying principles that have proven so effective for many thousands of singers worldwide. And also why it really doesn’t matter how “advanced”, or how much of a “beginner”, you are.

So let me finish by claiming that your mind and body is truly phenomenal.Once we tap into your potential and develop an extraordinary awareness of your body and mind… once you give yourself permission to let go of preconceived ideas of what you can do and cannot do… once we give you permission to explore, experiment and discover new abilities within you… then dramatic results are not only possible but very predictable.

And most of all it is fun.Learning is fun.To feel a sense of growth is the juice that makes life exciting – at least it is for me.How about you? Have you noticed some shift by changing the way you approach your training - perhaps even beyond singing? Have you perhaps already engaged in the training and made some interesting discoveries?

In the previous article I followed up on the free video provided at www.TheSingingZone.com. I outlined why it is that people who have a hard time singing on key can learn to sing on key in a very short amount of time. I also mentioned why it is rather impossible to accomplish these dramatic and rapid results as long as you sing scales.

But what about advanced singers? Are the strategies I outlined only for beginners?

Not at all. The advanced singers who engage in the strategies of the Bristow Voice Method (whether in private or via The Singing Zone/Sing With Freedom home study program) know that much of the training encourages you to turn off your auditory sense temporarily (at will), and the reason for that is to help you develop a greater kinesthetic awareness than before (which can’t be done as long as you are listening and judging yourself).

With this greater awareness you can now effectively release tension, develop greater freedom and effectively develop strength, flexibility (range) and more.

  • Leelah says:

    I have for the last 30 years had big tensions and pains i n the throat/chest area. Massage here has occasionally brought psychosis. -Practicing the 3 video released a lot of tensions, I was crying at the release, it felt so wonderful! But 15 minutes after the session, I suddenly could not breathe at all – and then a coughing spasm happened that felt like my lungs were bleeding. And i got the insight that tensions and defenses are there for some reasons – we may have created them when we needed to repress traumas when small. Si in some way, the body had equated those defenses as safety – and the space that now lost its "safety" felt violated.
    The whole night and lots of the next day was influenced by a closeness to terror. Luckily I  practice energy-medicine(Donna Eden) and was able to strengthen the system. But the whole thing about releasing tensions made me realize that at least I need to be careful in releasing "too much" at a time.
    And I am going to try again later – paying close attention to the sense"not this is enough for now."
    I am posting this, because I am surely not the only one with heavy traumas held in the neck-area.
    Else, i find the program, and you, Per, a true master, and I love it!

  • Cyril Ingrahm says:

    I started the Singing Zone program about a month ago and was a bit skeptical at first but it has really woked for me I am singing a lot better and hitting the notes much better I would recommend it to anyone that wants to improve there voice.

  • josée says:

    You ask if we have noticed somes changes and I did!though I can't practice a lot  for the reasons I mentionned previously:
              I try to do the almost silent exercises for awareness,mobility,etc and suddenly,since last week ,(still in the second lesson) my body has begun to "awake" and be demanding for moving till the toes as well as the face!    and I have become able to whistle again as I used to do,instead of singing,looong time ago!
              It's so encouraging!! Let's go on!
       

  • Maria N. says:

    A singing teacher once told me I had no "Ton Talent," which is German for not having a talent for feeling where the sound is being produced.  Of course, if you're not taught how to develop that feeling, then why should you have it…other than because you're gifted, which automatically makes a judgment about your potential.  With the exercises in the "Sing with Freedom" program, I discovered my "Ton Talent," which means that I am much more aware, on my own, of what is happening in me — in my voice, in my body — and of what is going wrong and how to correct it.  The exercises, simple as they are, are the best I've ever had.  The "break" from my bottom to my middle voice has smoothed out and the latter has become stronger and more consistent.  It has naturally brought a greater joy to my singing, rather than fear and frustration.  I must add that, while improvements were immediate, any lasting gains (indeed, in any activity) require patience, a commitment to doing the work (even when you don't feel like it), and a strong resolution always to focus on what you're feeling as opposed to just doing a routine.  It's practice — no surprise here! — but of a higher order.

  • Richard Sydney Silvester says:

    You are absolutely right about repetition of old patterns being no guarantee of success.  When I was training as a tenor, I used to hit a ceiling around G4.  When my teacher reccommended that I consider singing as a baritone, I asked him about the countertenor alternative.  He agreed to help me with the alto voice, which has turned out to be the release of my tenor voice.  I can now sing C5 and higher with an ease and power to match that of operatic tenors.  I have found reading your blogs and watching your videos most encouraging.  Thanks !!!

  • Herlinda Castillo says:

    I'm surprised, Per, to hear from you again. But, thanks for the new encouraging words about singing with freedom. Actually, I'd forgotten about this as I've been busy about other things.  Our choral group is kind of disbanded at this time – like everybody is busy about other things.  One of these days,  I'll listen again to the discs which I bought from you.
    Thanks again.
     
    HC

  • W. David LOve says:

    Hi Per,
    I ordered your 4 DVD's  in Jan. and I have to say that for me, they have been life changing. I come from a non singing family upbringing and I have always been self concious about even trying to sing. I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease about 11 years ago and for some reason began to think more about music as therapy for my condition. After viewing and practicing the lessons I felt a joy that I have not experienced before. Whether self perceived or real, I feel that my singing voice has been unlocked and to me it's not bad! Shortly after purchasing the DVD's, I became a lifetime member of the singing zone and am thoroughly enjoying the learning experience.
    Keep up the good work!
    David Love                                  

  • Ton Hettema says:

    Hi Per and other singers,
    What a strange and wonderful bunch we are!
    It's almost like the singer is an evolved  variety of the common species: homo monotonous. But as with any other talent (which is latent untill taken up) there are many sides to consider.
    Here are some: 
    Why has the human got a voice? 
    What makes a human (want to) sing?
    How and why would a person want to 'develop' the voice?
    How does the voice 'sit' with the whole of the person?
    What happens when singing alone or together happens?
    What are the many reasons why humans sing? And what is the reason you ( or I) sings now?
    How to connect to the greater passion that allows us to sing without focus on self.
    How to integrate singing in the natural spontaneity of our developing freedom?
    Well, these for me to consider and for you if useful.
    I believe that our ability to sing (well) is to do with the genuine wish to share and partake in the 'theatrics' of human life. This implies that (I think) it never flowers in isolation. Even when singing 'alone' it is meant to reach out to something else.
    Anyway, These are some of my thoughts.
    Be well everybody and just allow little songs to evaporate from your soul.
    Regards, Ton Hettema

  • Albert says:

    Hey there, mentor!  I'm still struggling with releasing tension.  
    I can do it better when performing rather than rehearsing and I presume the reason there is that rehearsing I am way too self critical.  When performing you just have to commit and get on with it!
    I did a big gig last week, just me and a pianist; 2 x 1/2 hour programs.  That's a lot of singing and talking but I noticed less wear and tear on the voice and I attribute that to what I am learning here about lightening up, which has the added bonus of enabling me to try for riffs and notes I could never have attempted before.  (Or would have thought of before!)
    Many thanks, Per.

  • bobby_B says:

     

    Hi and thanx per, 
    after researching various web sites for getting a headsup on how to get rid of a vocal wobble, and sing with a straight tone,w/ absolutely as little wobble or vibrato as possible,i came to you.In my other ear training lessons i need to sing a straight tone to discern if i'm on the correct pitch.As you know when trying to sing a unison with a reference pitch,  beats can be created when not completely in tune. A vocal wobble, waiver, or vibrato in the voice when not wanted can create false beats. Because some waiver or unwanted vibrato in the voice can throw off perception of being exactly on the pitch,I keep on perceiving the pitch, but the voice wobbles.The ng sound exercises have helped greatly and the others very much too. I think I can perceive less and at times no wobble, the voice seems to be more resonant too, I can definitely slide to C5. Many changes in my voice since doing these methods in only a couple weeks, in fact the first day I noticed a lot of difficulties easing up.I have been helped greatly by your first four lessons. I think there put together well,what I needed, but I'm actually not pushing myself so much to be a singer, just a musician and guitar player. 
    I forgot to sign up for your monthly zone club. I wanted to check out your eartraining tips to help me with this. For the most part, merely doing these exercises of the bristow method, I have improved in this regard very much, but I need to gain some certainty w/o worrying about controlling it, or fear of not controlling. I have tried losing the auditory control skill, you know, shutting it down, and just listening w/o so much effort and control. I hope it's in your next four lessons. Well I better end off before I use up the internet.Can I still get a 30 day free trial to the zone? I want to check out the ear training.
    An admirer of your program and student,
    bobby_B

  • Grace says:

    Oh, thank you for such good words! The whole article is inspiring. The pitcher analogy, and the last four paragraphs were exceptionally insightful. 

  • stylistic i mentor says:

    yes i do read the article and it is so interested,the analogies are so clear.thanks for your analysis of singing,stay strong and continue to be that master you are.

  • gary a says:

    Thanks a bunch The info is an eye opener

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