All posts by pbubwer

American Idol vs Olympic Performers

So American Idol has reached Hollywood and the winter Olympics have begun. Now let's say you want to be able to perform at a higher level than you are today and under pressure. Let's say you want to be able to elevate your skills. Which one should you watch to learn the most from?...

In American Idol we have arrived at Hollywood week. For most of the singers this is an absolute dream come true. They are beside themselves at the possibility and the opportunity that has proven to follow success in American Idol. What if they can become the next American Idol?

And in Vancouver, the Olympic athletes have arrived at the moment they have trained towards for the last 4 years.

Now what is the big difference between American Idol contestants and Olympic Athletes?

Well, here's one: Last week we saw tears of desperation from the American Idol contestants who did not make it to the next round. Several people choked in the heat of the moment and forgot lyrics. Simon Cowell had of course added to the pressure when he proclaimed that,if you forget the lyrics, you're out. And others didn't do as well as they could and begged for another chance.

But the interesting part is how poorly they handled defeat. Several contestants were completely heartbroken, apologetic, ashamed or angry: Sorry mom, I blew my one chance, or someone defiantly screamed they could have been the next American Idol.. They were speaking as if their one chance in life to be something worthy had been crushed. They spoke as if their careers were over.

What they don't realize is that this fear of not being good enough is exactly the reason they choked. They had built up this belief that this is the one chance in their life to prove something. Their whole behavior is fear based. Their singing is based on trying to prove themselves rather than communicating a song with love, joy and passion. Frankly, many come across as quite immature.

But American Idol is no Olympics. You want pressure compete in the Olympics. You want to ensure that you don't get another chance compete in the Olympics.

But here's the big difference: Athletes do not operate with fear. Great performers aren't afraid of losing. They may hate to lose but they aren't afraid of losing. Listen to athletes real athletes - when they speak. Listen to them when they fail and listen to them when they succeed.

Tonight is a great opportunity to watch the veteran snowboarder Shaun White in Snowboarding. Now there is someone who will be extremely nervous. The pressure is enormous. He won four years ago and everybody is expecting him to win and to perform a trick no one has done before. That, my friends, is pressure. But listen to him when he talks. I don't know if he will succeed or fail tonight. But listen to his attitude in either situation and you'll understand why he excels so often. Learn about the enormous work and preparation he and other athletes undertake.

For them it is a constant never ending search for improvement. Now, I said Shaun White is a veteran. But did you know that he is only 23? Yes, that's right, he won the previous Olympics when he was 19, after having fallen in the first run, then got up and outdid himself. That is a true performer. At 19 he was younger than most American Idol contestants who can't seem to handle falling down even once.

To everyone who wants to become a singer, I urge you to watch and learn from someone like Shaun who knows what it takes to excel.

So American Idol has reached Hollywood and the winter Olympics have begun. Now let’s say you want to be able to perform at a higher level than you are today and under pressure.  Let’s say you want to be able to elevate your skills.  Which one should you watch to learn the most from?…  Continue reading

Olympic Speech by John Furlong Gets Gold

Tonight through the magic of television we visit the living rooms of the world to tell our story. And as we do, we invite people everywhere to share and experience, even if just for a few moments, what it feels like to be a proud Canadian. As you, the best Winter Olympic athletes of all time, enter the arena prepared for you here in Canada to compete in the honour and glory of sport.

Seizing the moment to inspire the youth of the world through your heroic efforts, you carry with you the hopes and the dreams of so many.

You are role models for our children - heroes, giants, human champions, the best ever. You are living proof that men and women everywhere are capable of doing great good, and that in life as it is in sport, we should always give our best and never, ever give up.

You are our beacon of hope in a world so much in need of peace, healing, unity, generosity and inspiration. Youth the world over aspire to be just like you. You compete with such bravery, conviction and pride. At these Games you now have the added burden to shine and be united around your fallen colleague Nodar. May you carry his Olympic dream on your shoulders and compete with his spirit in your hearts.

Many thousands have made tonight and the days ahead possible, but the spirit and soul of all 33 million Canadians has been sewn into the fabric of these Winter Olympic Games. This journey has not been about the few but rather the many. All Canadians Aboriginal Canadians, New Canadians, English and Francophone Canadians.

And the myriad of cultures, micro-cultures, languages and peoples that make Canada Canada. And tonight the longest domestic torch relay in Olympic history ends in this stadium after an epic, unforgettable journey of discovery across a land visually blessed, rich in history and profoundly human.

The Olympic Flame has touched many millions and prompted spontaneous, peaceful celebration. Reminding us all that those values that unite and inspire the best in us we must never abandon. As the Olympic Cauldron is lit, the unique magic of the Olympic Games will be released upon us.

Magic so rare that it cannot be controlled by borders. The kind of magic that invades the human heart touching people of all cultures and beliefs. Magic that calls for the best that human beings have to offer. Magic that causes the athletes of the world to soar and the rest of us to dream.

Tonight, here, in the glow and wonder of the Flame, we can all aspire to be Olympian. From whatever continent you have come we welcome you to Canada, a country with a generous heart. We love that you are here. You are among good friends. Vous etes parmis vos amis.

We are honoured to be received into so many hearts and homes all over the world this night. And we aspire to leave you with breathtaking memories to last a lifetime. Let us all be reminded that the world is indeed watching. Hoping. Cheering. If you listen, you can almost hear the voices.

Through our example tonight and over the 16 days to come our children will begin to dream and believe in what is possible. Lives of great significance begin with a spark, a nudge, a gesture. Together let us touch as many as we can, while we can.

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend and yesterday was also the opening of the Winter Olympics. If you aspire to anything in life, whether it be artistic, athletic, personal, professional, educational, spiritual, or any other passion that stirs your soul, it was hard not to get inspired listening to John Furlong speak last night at the opening ceremony of the Olympics.  Here's why… Continue reading

How To Get From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be

Why would I ever raise prices in the middle of a recession?

That is one good question I got from a subscriber as I announced that the price of the Sing With Freedom program at www.TheSingingZone.com will increase on Monday.

I have also gotten an occasional email from people who are angry that my program costs money at all, and one accused me that I am like “ everyone on the Internet - ALL about making a buck, ANY way they can ”

I know few people are quite that cynical, but these are very interesting issues that deserve a response.

Now, we could also ask ourselves why I announce a price increase ahead of timeI could of course have said nothing and then suddenly raise it on Monday. One of the reasons I give you warning is to help you avoid paying more than you have to.

No doubt, the intent is also to kick you in the rear and help you take action. My job as a coach is to help get you from where you are to where you want to be. The greatest challenge for anyone is to get started. The greatest challenge for us coaches and trainers is to get the client to do what they need to do to get the results they so much desire. It would be easy to create a home study course with a bunch of exercises. The difficulty is to create a course where someone, who I won’t meet personally, will become inspired enough to discover, experiment and DO the things that make a tremendous difference.

The reason I created a home study course in the first place is because I got into a situation (lack of time) where I could no longer help people in need personally. Unless you were accepted as a private student you could never get access to this training. And if you were accepted, it would cost you many thousands of dollars to get the same training that you now have in a home study format. In addition, I am now able to give each member of The Singing Zone extensive ear training, rhythm training, music theory training and more – things I would never have time to teach to private students.

The bottom line is that if you have been led to believe the Sing With Freedom program is a program that is only worth $97, I have really done you a horrible disservice. I would never invest $97 in something that just enhances my life by $97.

The biggest problem we have when it comes to finances is when our mind thinks in terms of cost. People who learn, develop and go from where they are to where they want to be never think in “cost” terms. They only think in terms of ROI. ROI means Return On Investment and is the only measuring stick I go by these days – whether it is money or time. If I buy something that is cheap, there is a higher risk of wasted time and wasted money – either because I don’t value it highly and therefore don’t use it, or the thing breaks, or something else makes it a bad investment. A $5 purchase may very well become a negative ROI, while a $5,000 investment might have an incredible ROI.

The only thing that matters is what the return on investment is for you.

The greatest investment is always in improving ourselves. Many times this costs nothing in terms of money, but needs a high investment in mental resources, time, energy, focus, etc. Many times I study by myself to try and figure things out. Many times I gladly pay someone dearly to teach me faster than I could myself, and therefore has a much higher ROI. Education cost more than anything else we encounter in our lives, but also has the highest ROI.

What is being able to sing with greater freedom worth to you? What does being able to get in touch with your body so you can make changes and heal faster mean to your life? If someone has gone to music conservatory for years and then claim they have learned more from my program than they did there, should I then charge $40,000? If someone has struggled to sing for years and then has a major breakthrough from what they learned, what is the ROI for them? What is the ROI if you become more empowered, more confident, stronger, more authoritative, more attractive and a better communicator?

What is greater joy worth to you?

I’m not saying my Sing With Freedom course is for you.  Maybe there is other training that serves you better. But what I would encourage you to think about is where you would like to be in regards to singing, health, success, communication skills and more, and what you would be prepared to invest to get there (both in terms of money, time, energy, etc.)

Personally, I sure hope the benefits from my course is going to increase the value of your life by far more than a couple of hundred dollars (I seriously encourage you to request a refund if it doesn’t). But then again, maybe I just say this because I think life is worth living as long as I “just make a buck”.

What do you think?

Why would I ever raise prices in the middle of a recession?
That is one good question I got from a subscriber as I announced that the price of the Sing With Freedom program at www.TheSingingZone.com will increase on Monday. I have also gotten an occasional email from people who are angry that my program costs money at all, and one accused me that I am like “everyone on the Internet – ALL about making a buck, ANY way they can” I know few people are quite that cynical, but these are very interesting issues that deserve a response. Now, we could also ask ourselves why I announce a price increase ahead of time…

Advanced vs Beginner Singer: The Difference is Not What You Might Think

This article is inspired by two very interesting emails I received about the Sing With Freedom program (www.TheSingingZone.com). One was from a “beginner” and one from an “advanced” singer, and I think there is a great learning experience here for everyone.

The first email was from a concerned potential customer wondering if the Sing With Freedom program also works for someone who is a complete beginner and who has never sung before. He was concerned because he had seen a bunch of testimonials from professional singers.

The short answer is yes (there are tons of testimonials from beginner singers also). But how is it possible that it works for beginners as well as professionals?

When learning an instrument there is a distinct difference between a lesson that is designed for a beginner, versus one that is designed for the advanced. That is not necessarily the case when it comes to developing the voice.

You may think you are a beginner because you haven't sung much, but your voice may still be strong, free, resonant, and flexible. You have after all used it your whole life. It is very possible you can develop at rapid-fire speed. Since you are a “beginner” and have never really explored your potential, you really have no way of knowing, do you? Being a beginner can be beneficial because you may not have developed a lot of bad habits (or limiting beliefs).

The common problem for beginners is that they have, unfortunately, often developed a very strong mindset of what they can or cannot do, even though they have never given it a go. Some have been engaged in singing scales and then have come to believe that they have already tried but still can't sing. Well, it really wasn't their "talent' that was the problem. They were just exposed to a lousy strategy. One of the great joys for me is to crush limiting beliefs for people, which then tends to impact other limiting beliefs in their lives.

Then we have those who do have plenty of physical restrictions and/or weaknesses in certain muscles, but instead have a very flexible and adaptive mindset. These people will always develop fast.

Now let’s look at email number two: You should first know that it is very rare that we get a refund request for the Sing With Freedom DVDs. However, a while ago my support staff got an email from someone who liked to point out that he was an “advanced singer”. He requested a refund because he had “reviewed all the lessons in one sitting and didn’t feel he learned anything new”. Therefore, in his opinion, “the program must be geared only to beginners”.

Now, I could have told him that there is one way I can guarantee with a 100% certainty that he will not gain any results. And that is if he reviews all lessons in one sitting.

In fact, I did tell him that before he started lesson one...

The first thing I do in lesson one of the Sing With Freedom program is to lay out the strategy of how to get the most out of the program. Naturally, it is also in my interest that you experience wonderful results. I make it clear that that to get the desired results you need to DO the exercises with me. When you become ENGAGED in making sound the way I show you, you will inevitably make new fascinating discoveries about your instrument. I also encourage you to work on each lesson for several days BEFORE you move on to the next lesson. That way you will make even more discoveries. For people who do the program it becomes abundantly clear why that is. And for those who embrace these strategies, wonderful results are the norm more than the exception - for singers of all levels.

But this person chose to "review" the lessons in one sitting. Obviously this is rather worthless. To passively "review" is something very different from actively becoming engaged, exercising, experimenting, and making discoveries.

Now, the reason I bring this up is to understand the powerful art of learning effectively. This person may believe he is an advanced singer, but he is not an advanced learner. Most likely, he is not very successful in his endeavors simply because he hasn't understood how to learn effectively, and also seems rather unwilling to understand it.

The “know it all” attitude makes growth impossible. It is probably the worst trap we can fall into (and we all do from time to time). The level of knowledge we believe we possess at any given moment is actually irrelevant. Human beings, companies and societies grow and evolve because of the mental attitude within each human being.

The artists and human beings who truly excel at what they do, and therefore are able to influence others in positive ways, are the ones who are constantly learning, growing and evolving.

The reason many beginners and professionals alike get such nice rewards from the program is because the program is about encouraging new discoveries. It is about making you FEEL muscles and movement on a deeper level than before. This way you can release tension and develop strength, flexibility and freedom , and as a result you become freer and more confident in your expression. This is of course crucial for both “beginners" and "professionals".

So I would like to encourage you to let go of the tendency to categorize yourself as a “beginner” or “advanced”. The only thing that really counts is if you want to grow and develop from where you are.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject below.

This article is inspired by two very interesting emails I received about the Sing With Freedom program (www.TheSingingZone.com). One was from a “beginner” and one from an “advanced” singer, and I think there is a great learning experience here for everyone.

To Sing With Confidence? What Does It Take?

What does it really take to become a good singer? The world is after all full of people who really would love to sing, but don’t believe they can. Where does confidence come from?  This is a long letter I received which I have gotten permission to publish.  There are a lot of issues to address and I have gone ahead and intercepted the letter with some responses. See how this applies to you and/or people you know. here is is:

Dear Per, I was wondering if you could give me some advise on what I wrote below! I know it’s a lot but maybe you could tell me what you think as a professional! When I was younger I used to sing at home around the house to everything, then when I was 8 I recorded myself singing. I listened back to it and it sounded pretty awful and out of tune so I decided never to sing around people again.

Unfortunately, it’s more common than we may think that we make dramatic “decisions” based on some perceived “bad experience” which then affects our lives - even if it is on a subconscious level. It’s sad that this is so common when it comes to singing. We would hopefully not make the decision to stop playing basketball because we happened to miss the first shot we tried?& In your case it has nothing to do with your singing ability, but your tendency to make such a judgment about yourself. (As you will see below, there is a reason for this).

Now I’m learning to play acoustic guitar and I sing at home to my CDs. I can reach the high notes the same as the singers singing the songs. Even though I don’t know what it sounds like to anyone else! But I noticed I can’t sing the same when I sing on my own.

Yes, singing a capella (without accompaniment) is a far more advanced skill than singing to music.  In The Singing Zone I provide an ear training course, rhythm training course and a music theory course in addition to the voice training, so that you develop these skills also.

A few years back my mom made me enter X factor. I didn’t want to, I don’t have much confidence, I’m quite shy, and I’ve never sung in front of anyone, but I went along. I didn’t have a song prepared, but went with Dimming of The Day. The 3 judges were listening very attentively and I was shaking all over! I got to the chorus but couldn’t reach the high note. It was screechy and out of tune and one of the guys was laughing at me! All I could think about was getting out of the room!

So you made a fool out of yourself. Terrific. Welcome to the club. Now, it might be interesting to know that professionals prepare extensively while beginners tend to wing it. Successful people prepare to succeed. Did you prepare to succeed? Apparently not. It seems pretty obvious you would fail. How could you not? This has nothing to do with your potential to sing. And singing off key and not “reaching” high notes is far more a muscle/mind issue than an ear issue.

Now, why is it that so many want to put themselves in similar situations, but do not want to work hard to prepare? Why do so many seek fame without having done their home work?  (you’ll find part of the answer below)

I got some advise and was told the reason that what I hear sounds good but what comes across in the recording and maybe to other people (as I’ve never been told what I sound like) is bad, is because my inner ear isn’t in tune?

Why would it be in tune if you have never sung before, especially a cappella in front of people? It makes it sound as if it is some kind of inborn deficiency. It’s not your ear that is the problem. Your problem is that you haven’t developed the skills and didn’t prepare. You dived into the Olympic swimming pool without knowing which stroke you were supposed to swim. How about if I suddenly dived into the pool in the 100 meter butterfly, just to find my self violently flapping my arms in a desperate attempt to avoid swallow the entire pool, and all I can think of is if anyone will throw me a floating device within the next four seconds. Then afterwards someone would give me the advice: “Hey, your problem is that your arms aren’t in tune with your legs” Well, duh, thanks for the tip, buddy.

Most swimmers would be recommended to start learning and practicing in the local pool - preferably under the guidance of someone who can teach it. How about we adopt the same philosophy for singing?

I love to sing and really it’s a dream of mine to sing and make people happy when they listen to me sing and make my mum proud of me, but I don’t feel right now it is something I will ever do!

And there we have it. The child who is judgmental about him/herself is the child who is afraid of making mistakes. The child who is afraid of making mistakes is so because of the need to receive approval. A child who grows up to believe that the way he draws, sings or behaves is to make people happy, is the child who becomes programmed to believe that he isn’t good enough. This child will always seek external approval. This is what we call low self-esteem. This is the person who grows up to seek instant gratification, who needs to be in the limelight and shoots himself in the foot every time, or goes on hiding from himself and others. This person will get caught in a trap of seeking quick-fixes rather than enjoy long term processes – such as intense preparation. The person who is afraid of making mistakes inevitably makes a lot of mistakes - she attracts more of it.

Pride might seem honorable. However, the truth is that pride is a negative emotion. It is something far different from positive states of acceptance, joy and love. (That’s for another discussion.)

And for you who are reading this: Please don’t fall into the trap of blaming/ judging the parent. The story may be completely different from another person’s point of view.

The need for approval – the need to be loved – is immensely common for most people. Those of you who have followed my program have learned that the first step to rapid learning as well as peak performance is to give yourself permission to “fail”.

Once you do, you can let go of judgment and instead become AWARE. Now we can go to a fearless state of discovery and rapidly improve body and mind. Now we can become real winners. Winners aren’t afraid of losing.

I was thinking of getting singing lessons to help with my voice my confidence and my shyness , but I thought I’d get your opinion to weather I should as you have a lot of experience? Do you think it's something that can be fixed or is it just that I can’t sing?

There is no such thing as can or can’t sing, just as there is no such thing as can or can’t play tennis. Some play for recreational reasons, some like to compete. One person may practice 3 hours a day and another might play once every other month. Both can enjoy it immensely. I believe singing and developing the ability to sing with greater freedom can be an incredibly empowering activity that transforms us beyond making pretty sounds. If you want to sing to experience a greater freedom to your body and mind and experience the true joy of music and free expression, then yes, I highly recommend it.

What does it really take to become a good singer?  The world is after all full of people who really would love to sing, but don’t believe they can.  Where does confidence come from?  This is a long letter I received which I have gotten permission to publish.   There are a lot of issues to address and I have gone ahead and intercepted the letter with some responses. See how this applies to you and/or people you know.  here is is:

When Is Too Old To Learn To Sing?

I did something wonderful last weekend! Bear with me as I explain why I’m sharing this and why I think it benefits you. See, in my teens I waterskied a handful of times, and I remember it as being so unbelievably fun. But in almost 30 years I hadn’t done it. Until last weekend....

But was I even going to be able to get up out of the water? What if I fell all the time?

Yup that’s me in the picture. What was also so much fun was how well it went. I popped up on my first attempt and was slaloming as if it was 30 years ago. And, boy, did I feel good afterwards!

As a side note I should mention something you may not know, and that is that I always cheat.

I’m kidding of course when I say “cheat”, but the truth is that it wasn’t the first time in 30 years at all. I had practiced several times the day before, and on the boat ride – even while my kids were trying to psyche me out. Yes, I had practiced in my head.

Well talk more about the art of visualization and mental preparation another time though. The reason I mention this event is because of this email I received:

"Per, I appreciate your emails, but I have a problem. I used to sing solos many, many years ago, but haven’t sung much lately. The problem is that I am 65 hears old, and although I love the idea of being able to sing again, it is probably too late."

There is no denying that there are many physical changes in our body as we age. There is no denying that we lose muscles strength and flexibility. However, too often we make "age" the culprit - or the excuse, if you will. Realize that many young people - even kids - also run into voice and other physical problems. So although there are certainly things we will never be able to do as well as we once did, it is certainly never too late to have fun. It is never too late to do activities that inspire us and make us energetic and vibrant. It is never too late to learn and develop.

You should know that although we don’t keep track of the ages of our members of The Singing Zone, there are many who are well into their 70s and 80s who have spontaneously written and expressed their gratitude and joy.

The Singing Zone is not a program where a certain age or skill is a prerequisite. Although many professional and semi-professionals are members, there are just as many who have never sung before. Since we are about developing awareness and taking you from where you are to where you want to go, your level or age is really irrelevant. Singing is indeed for everyone.

I remember I felt I was “too old” when I was 26. Old or young is really a mental state. As our bodies transform our minds transform, we find new activities that inspire us. Singing is one of those activities that has no age limit, unless we are judging they way we sound towards some limiting ideal. My grandmother starting painting well into her 60s, my dad still sings in the choir. There have been studies that have shown incredible improvement among 80 year olds who started weight training, and we can go on and on.

What do you think a 100-year-old would think when a 65 year old kid talks about things being too late? Take a look at this video of Roger Gentilhomme one day after he turns a 100 years old and then post your comment below.

I did something wonderful last weekend! Bear with me as I explain why I’m sharing this and why I think it benefits you. See, in my teens I waterskied a handful of times, and I remember it as being so unbelievably fun. But in almost 30 years I hadn’t done it. Until last weekend….


But was I even going to be able to get up out of the water? What if I fell all the time?Continue reading

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