I just came back from a 4-day ski trip with my family and I want to share something very important that happened. It serves as a great example of perhaps the most important principle to improve our lives – including your singing and performances.

Here’s what happened…

While my younger son spent his day in snowboard school, my wife, my 13 year-old son, and I went skiing by ourselves. And to tell you the truth, that first day of skiing wasn’t all that fun. Now, it’s been two years since we skied, so we spent the first part of our day in the easy runs. Then in the afternoon, we went off to explore a little more of the mountain.

As we skied down towards a new lift, we were suddenly caught by surprise: That lift that we had planned to take was closed. Now we had a dilemma. In order to get back, we were forced to take another lift that went to an even higher point of the mountain. This meant we had to ski more difficult terrain than we had planned, and this is when things turned really sour.

Now, we often blame whining, complaining and such when it comes from a teenager on “teenage behavior”, but the truth is that many people behave that way under certain circumstances.

What circumstances am I talking about?

What is the real underlying emotion that feeds whining, complaining, blaming and other forms of negative behavior?

What emotion is it? That’s right, it’s called fear.

Teenagers deal with this emotion a lot, and so do you and I. Does a teenager willingly admit he is afraid? Of course not. He will use language such as “boring”, “I hate this”, make accusations, etc. And so do you and I.

We humans are notoriously bad at recognizing fears within us. In fact, we have often been conditioned to believe the most detrimental belief of them all, which is that acknowledging fear is a sign of weakness.

However, let’s say we are aware of the fears within us. What do we do about them?

Now, as you may know, large parts of what I teach are the psychological aspects of handling emotions and turning fears around into powerful forces. But today I am not going to talk about the psychology. Instead, I want to address the number one solution to overcoming fears, which is probably also the number one solution to accomplishing great things in life.

Instead of having a talk with my son about the psychology of fear, the behaviors that go with it and how to change it in your mind, I simply did this: I hired a skilled private instructor for the next day.

With the help of this instructor the three of us became fully engaged in developing our balance and skills to take us confidently down the slopes. At the end of the day we fearlessly went down the same runs that had been so uncomfortable the day before.

Fear had been replaced with confidence. Tension had been replaced with flow and rhythm. Arguments and whining had been replaced with laughter.

And it was all because of developing skills.

There is simply no greater remedy to overcoming fears than to develop the necessary skills to deal with those fears.

Now, as you may know, a full day of private instruction at a ski resort costs a lot of money. (Frankly, I provide a full year of training inside The Singing Zone for less.) Was it worth it for just a day of fun? Absolutely not. Was it worth it for learning the vital lesson on rhythm, balance and flow, in addition to the crucial life-lesson on how to go from fearful to fearless via the development of skill? Absolutely.

So the point I want to make is that there is really no substitute for developing skills. It is absolutely true that with the development of the right necessary skills, your past fears may very well become irrelevant.

If you fear burning the dinner when you have important guests coming over… develop skill.

If you fear you won’t make it across the swimming pool… develop skill.

If you fear starting a business… develop skill.

The same, of course, applies to all aspects of singing.

If you fear singing in front of people… develop skill

If you fear singing off key… develop skill.

If you fear you can’t sing the high notes… develop skill.

If you fear you don’t sound good enough… develop skill.

If you fear injuring your voice… develop skill.

Naturally, we can go on and on. It is really unfortunate that many people think learning is something we just do in school. You are obviously different since you are here, but I am sure you run across many who tend to complain about their situation, blame others and external circumstances (all based on fears), and yet don’t do as much as they might think they do to really develop their skills.

Let’s recognize these tendencies within ourselves. Every single human being has the ability to develop skills. I fell in love with the idea of developing skills at an early age. I know how we can dramatically improve in numerous areas of our lives when we engage in developing skills. I love to see when other people shatter their beliefs of what they can and can or cannot do, and see their confidence soar from it. This is of course why I became a coach. And here’s another reason to develop skills: It is so incredibly fun!

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  • great article! thank you Per, the techniques i learned from your program 2 years ago are helping me today as I continue to develop my voice 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing these thoughts.

    Indeed developing skill is the only foolproof way to overcome fear.

    Precisely why many like me look upto you Per for help with the process of skill development.
    At times in the course of developing skill we reach a platform from where we are not able to see further.
    It feels like we did try everything we were told to/ had access to but still something is not working.
    And we just dont know what that “something” is, however small it may be.
    And this leads into frustration and may be even giving up.
    What do we do in such times? How do we come out of such feelings? Do we really need the mentor or is this something we should try and handle on our own?


  • I want to develop the skills that I have and take those skills from a minor singing voice to an exceptional singing voice.

  • I couldn’t agree with you more Per, usually fear starts when you realize you aren’t prepared for the task, no matter what it is. I am delighted to be reminded that some of these goals which I want to overcome… ones you mentioned previously are: fear singing in front of people, fear singing off key,fear you can’t sing the high notes,fear you don’t sound good enough, and fear of injuring your voice. You’ve given me the confidence to continue and overcome these obstacles… once again… many thanks.

  • What if the fear is the one that is temporarily preventing you from learning the skill because you have to do it in front of others and you have watched yourself fail many times before? Then what do you do? How do you get rid of that fear? It’s like a vicious circle.

  • Per, I’ve been following you for a while and really appreciate your Realness and ability to share and apply life’s lessons in everyday life. It’s refreshing and brings encouragement to me, as I am beginning a new venture opening a Healing Center for Women in Southern Oregon; a complete change for me. Your message is timely and well accepted. Thanks, Katie

  • I am going to take your course as soon as I get the money, which will be very soon.

    Thanks for all your advice, I look forward to working with you soon.

  • Well done, That was the best fear breaker I have heard someone put into words.
    Have done a lot of seminars etc., and everyones going around breaking bricks or boards and you think . . . what ???
    Or they try to philosophize fear and try to work out what it is and because your being taught you tend to follow the leader and then because it doesn’t give you any usable . .. skill, you just end up confused. A bit like Jesse Ventura in the movie Predator, when Arnold is lifting the back of the truck off the ground 🙂
    This is the way, that was really well done Per.

  • In thinking further on your accurate observations, I see it is necessary for the person to first of all RECOGNIZE the inner (often hidden) processes. Like you (Per) recognized that FEAR was the underlying causer of all the different expressions like boredom, frustration, accusation etc. that you mention. Often I find it difficult to search for and then admit to what stops me. Mostly the process of unblocking comes down to having the courage to trace down the ‘compensatory mechanisms’ that our history has deposited in our psychologies. I fully agree that ‘all the soulsearching in the world’ does not solve an iota of our past. And that new resolves, based on how things actually work, practised and persevered in, will lay out new pathways for the future in our singing, our neural patterns, our relationships and our lives. Of course the credit for discovering the ‘compensatory mechanisms’ goes to you, Per. Which helps me a lot. Ton Hettema, Holland

  • Haven’t had the time to continue with your program. Sing in a church choir. I am a soprano and would love to beable to hit that high G and A. I would be happy to just be able to just do that. When I get to that G I’m not able to sing a word and when I get to the A I’m screaming . But I will persevere because I love it so. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to the DVD’s that I have.

  • My wife and I started to learn to ski in our early fifties (before our grandchildren beat us to it) and have skied every year for the last 20, sadly only one week per year, due to cost. This year I had difficulty in the early part of the week and slowly sideslipped down sections that would not usually present a problem. My wife suggested a couple of hours with a coach which I enjoyed and it paid off, hence I can empathise with your experience.

    Our paths diverge at this point – since your story does not tell how you coped with the specific problem of skiing out of your comfort zone – on the day in question- nor does it deal with the problem of fear that arises, despite having already acquired the skill in question.

    I was reminded, encouraged and given the opportunity of practising on a suitable terrain by my coach, but I was not taught a new skill.

    ‘Learn a new skill’ is not the advice to give to someone standing in the wings about to sing a solo, nor is it appropiate for a section of singers in a choir who hesitate before soaring, or creeping, to a difficult note.

    Unless you only want your contribution to be regarded as a scantily veiled advert address what some might consider to be the real problem.

    By the way your course costs as much as my 7 day ski holiday in Europe. Maybe I’ll take your course when the insurers stop covering me for ski accidents and repatriation.

    As someone who sings and rehearses for about 8 hours a week I am glad that there are people like you around to promote an interest in singing.

  • I am singing at an event in 3 weeks after 15 tears of in activity as a performer. Yes, I am feeling some fear, but I am also looking forward to the joy of bringing joy to others through singing. What can I do until I can afford to take the course to increase my skill AND to relax myself before the performance?

  • Thanks for a great article Per. I have also learnt alot about fear – being an ancronymn for “False evidence appearing real”, which what we need to see it as. I am also a singer who strives to overcome nerves but gaining confidence each time I perform, and as the bible says – with confidence comes great reward so I claim that promise for my singing and I am seeing great results. Thanks again, Cathy

  • I’m only here because you said on FB that this is a great message thread XD But seriously, I’ve been using your program 4 months, and my voice capability are – REMARKABLE! And before your program I’ve been learning with that other singing program which uses term “mixed” voice.. And all those mix voice programs.. It just steers you from singing, because – the strive for great experience of singing songs, becomes traded for strive for “mix” voice… i’ve spent 2 years with that program, and really slow progress.. But for only 2 months of your program – I don’t have stage fear, I’m singing WAY better, I again am enjoying singing and music and the most important – I’M FREEE!
    So thanks for giving me tolls for my own – liberation!

  • I am giving a Concert on the 14th of April and my new release ‘The wind in my sail’ will be available. I have worked very hard with my producer and friends to make this a night to remember. Fear? To be honest the thought of it right now giver me the gitter bugs in my stomach. Yet somehow I feel joy, sence of achievement, and I never feel alone when I walk on to the stage , because I ask my Saviour to walk before me. The skills I have learned with the online lessons have made a real difference to my singing career, I have a lot to be thankful for! Great article.

  • great stuff! you’re quite the metaphysician aren’t you?
    I’m doing the program and your ‘attitude’ is WONDERFUL!
    it’s hard to learn anything from anyone you just don’t like!

  • You do have a great attitude–one to be emulated. I’ve had only three or four teachers in my life that had your kind of great attitude. Most recently was my art teacher, Bob Burridge (take a look at him and his work on the web). Anyway, I’m having a great time learning new things at age 76. Life is great. Lesson 1, Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

  • I really like to be member of your singing club if you have one. Can you please pace me your address of adelaide? thinks.

  • i have just got your dvds from a friend. IT WAS AMAZING!!
    In malaysia,kuala lumpur especially where i stay, 4 hours of vocal class costs the same as your dvds but minus the result your technique can give.
    you have helped me free my voice inside. it took me just a week to grasp your technique lesson 1 lesson 2, implementing it in my singing. the way you teach is fun and you should continue that method of teaching. i am currently learning lesson 3 (i have always been told by most vocal teachers that i am a baritone, maybe they are wrong)
    i am working as an assistant engineer, i have always have passion for singing. i have tried and fail at learning lots of vocal techniques including seth riggs’ SLS books and cd. not to mention hours of vocal classes without results.
    Your technique is easy to understand and amazingly easy to learn and the result is REAL.
    say NO to mix voice (whatever it was) and complicated SLS technique (i can never get this technique from how i was taught to learn it) and YES to total Per’s voice release technique!:)

  • Hi Per…I feel like you are a God Send…I have struggled to
    get back the singing voice I once had. I was singing with
    freedom and loving to sing…in fact I wanted to sing all the
    time. It seemed like suddenly it was all taken away from me and I was working awfully hard to sing and no resonance…you can imagine how forced it was. My voice
    would get so tired and I was so hoarse after singing that I
    could not even speak. I prayed for my voice to come back
    but nothing happened and I finally gave up trying to sing at
    all. Part of my life just seemed to disappear and the thing
    I loved most outside of God was gone. Disappointment big time!! I have just received your lessons and have had
    them 3 days and I have hope…thank you Per and thanks be
    to God for giving me this opportunity to experience your
    down home sense about singing. Love it Love it!!
    Thank you very much, Imogene Hatcher

  • Thanks Per for the tips. I believe that gradual development of skills will be greatly reinforced with practice, practice and more practice. One will then have the confidence to perform before any size audience.

  • Great article and a timely read for me, since I was just discussing artistic fear with my mother-in-law who is a musician. I am happy to see all the positive responses to you and your work. Congratulations!

  • Dear Per,
    Practice makes perfect, but you teach people that they have to practice perfect. Thus do not practice as a headless chicken,but use your head and DEVELOP SKILLS.
    Very, very, very good advice for everybody. I am surly going to make good use of your master advice.
    Thank you very much.

  • DEAR RESPECTFUL PER, There is a saying God helps those who help themselves .definately you are one of those godly natured personality whom by your great guidence everyone getting to realise their skills deep within them. i read a sentence saying….NOTHING IMPOSSIBLE ! MEANING ALREADY THERE IM POSSIBLE…..so…i really believe that everyone has talents within them and you are proofing it by your trainings in Singing Zone whereby we are benefitted

  • Dear Per,

    Thank you for you confidence building e-mail. My voice has improved so much, thanks to you. Looking forward to starting a new career as a singer.

  • Brian Lumley’s comments were very worthwhile. He suggested to ask 3 questions: What am I afraid of? What am I hiding? and what do I want? Those three questions dovetail right into Per’s comments about our wanting, as a society, more authenticity to respond to instead of a canned performance.
    I believe that authenticity makes me vulnerable to rejection of who I truly am. I need to be willing to allow others the freedom to accept of reject me authentically, be able to accept those others as valuable human beings no matter what their opinions, and to continue to be my authentic self. That’s a tall order, especially when the opinions are about me.

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