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.

About the author 

pbubwer

  •  
    Thanks Per, I love reading your articles 🙂 this one really just gave me that little bit more confidence which is one step closer towards having more self belief in my performances! xxx

  • How I sympathise with the writer!  When I was a child and singing happily, as children do, my mother started pointing at me and laughing.  I immediately stopped singing, and didn't sing again for twenty five years.  I mimed in school assemblies and in church.  I've always loved music and desperately wanted to sing, so I forced myself to start going to lessons a few years ago.  It took a long time before I dared to sing out in anything more than the tiniest of voices.  Now I'm in my church choir, and sing all around the house.  People have told me I have a lovely voice.  I asked my mother recently why she laughed at me when I sang, and she said, "Because your were so cute and had such a pretty voice".  And I thought she laughed at me because I sounded terrible!  I wish parents would be more careful around sensitive children – they're so easily damaged.  What wise comments from you, Per.

  • I have been singing since I was two years old.  I haven't had much confidence in my singing since I have grown up but people tell me I have a very strong soprano voice.  I sing in a choral group that performs each Easter and Christmas.  Since reading your articles and comments, I am gaining confidence and with continued practice hope to perform a solo in the near future.  Thanks for the articles and the encouragement

  • How ABSOLUTELY right ! I remember how, years ago, I was asked to sing something at a Christmas party, and I had the unfortunate idea to come up with Mozart`s "Ave verum" (a cappella of course)… And, due to some "bad conditioning" and the resulting self-flagellation, I had not been singing literally for YEARS (except something very simple while washing up, things like that). I guess you imagine what happened. Meaning, everything went more or less well at the beginning, but when I got to the middle part where the chromatisms come in ("cujus latus perforatum", etc.), I started detonating heavily. And, whatever vices I may have (and there are quite a few, I`m afraid), being tone-deaf is definitely NOT one of them, so I could hear perfectly well it wasn`t working out – but I couldn`t do anything to fix it, so… Another good reason for self-flagellation, isn`t it:P
     
    And then, there is the issue of negative conditioning. Meaning, if one, like your humble servant, gets stuck into thinking of "NOT wanting to sound like Florence Foster Jenkins vol.2", she will end up souning exactly like that. How else:) ?

  • Hi Per,
    This is a nice post and it deals with one of my main issues. I have a tendency to judge myself.
    Although I have come along miles with the course, I feel like I am never safe from those moments when I doubt and then am frightened of failing and then my larynx seizes up.
    I have realized that my muscles can do a great job when they get a chance and that is helpful. A lot of the time I feel like my vocals have never felt or sounded so good.
    However when I get a 'bad moment', sometimes I feel like I can hardly speak freely – let alone sing.
     I suppose giving myself the chance to fail and make a fool of myself and forgive myself for doing so is the best solution. Through forgiveness I enable myself to go back and have another try.
    It's a bit like learning to walk I guess, you don't give up the first time you fall over, or the next time and the times after that for that matter. Eventually walking becomes natural to you and you fall only rarely. And when you do fall over it's not a big deal. Who questions their ability to walk every time they stumble?
     
    Thanks for sharing all this great stuff  !
    I feel like you are improving my life as well as my voice by giving me positive ways of dealing with unpleasant experiences. 
    Robin

  • just a mechanical review of singing.
    mimic the guitar, visualize the first two notes as down strum,project voice downward.
    The next two notes as up strum, project voice up, practice makes perfect (noise, just kidding). Let go of your self conscience blocks, relax and let them laugh at you, you will be ahead by miles. 

  • This is a great article.  Thanks Per.  I know I can sing and practice all the time, but sometimes when singing some songs I do not sing them right when I am in front of other people.  It is all about a state of mind and practicing.  Also, you should forget about the music and l listen to yourself.  I've been doing it for three years and the only thing I can say he is right.  You have to work hard and just keep doing it.  Also, you need to study and try to sing every kind of song and try to do it within your voice.  It is easier said than done.
    Jesse 

  • I agree with the fact that if we are doing something for approval of others we might get disappointed. I am singing with your program and I enjoy it just for doing it. Although I would love to be able to sing in front of people and that is why I practice everyday. I feel at this  point whatever I am doing is preparation for a bigger vision since singing is my passion besides healing and Art.
    I do what I can do today and the future unfolds. I feel that I am improving and learning more. your program is great.
    I found affirmations helpful since our self image and self esteem affects everything we do. Over all healing ourselves and clearing blocks to our good helps us to reach our goals so we can express ourselves in a unique way that we were meant to.
    Best Wishes,
    Shohreh

  • That was an extremely worthwhile article!  And your responses, Per, were Perfect!  As I read th different inputs, I was astounded to see how many people had been put off from singing because of some childhood experience!
    However, rather than dwelling on the negatives, here I am at 80 years old, revelling in the step-by-step approach by which you are freeing me from the bonds of negative self-belief.  Only last week, at the folk-singing group I have joined – I am now actually singing unaccompanied and in public – I received a standing ovation for my rendition of The Floral Dance.  I was told by the leader that ". . . that was the best that I have ever heard that song performed!"
    I want to thank you, Per, for the pleasure that incident gave me!  It's been a slow process for me – I have all those decades of bad habits to undo; all those muscles to teach to 'stay out of it' – and I'm still very much a work-in-process.  But,with your help, I'm getting there!
     
    In gratitude,
     
    Brian. . 

  • hello, my name is rachel, and i'm sixteen years old.
    i just wanted to ask for your help. i have a talent show in my school and i'm going to sing a song from christina aguilera "hurt". the matter is that i don't have such a great voice. when it's about singing the high part, i think high and i'm over the pich; and when i think low, i feel like i'm not comfortable.
    can you please tell me what i can do?

  • I am in my 60's & have always loved singing, but was one of those who did not believe I could sing.  I put my cd's on & sing to them & I love it.  I realized that if I love singing that much after all these years, it was time to do something about it, if it was only for me.
    I am now taking lessons & enjoying it immensely.  It is about that desire & passion that is inside of you that you need to connect with. 
    Thank you for your words of encouragement.

  • Once, in my psychodrama training group, I dealt with the issue of music and singing in my life. And, I was shocked about the feedback I got. Meaning, just HOW many people (with literally one or two exceptions) spoke up and said that, all through their schoolchildhood, their music teachers had been the dragons who told them over and over again that they were not able to sing (i.e. that they were not good enough…) (If my homework is not properly done, I can do it better next time, but if I`m told I just can`t sing – then what ?)
    Sorry, music teachers – but there seems to be something seriously wrong with that…

  • I think most experienced singers realize that in singing, as in everything, confidence is everything.  Paul Potts said this in an interview on "Britain has Talent" and, as I sing more and more, the gravity of this notion becomes clearer and clearer to me.  Per is absolutely right when he talks about practice and the tennis analogy can be extended to any physical skill.  Layering of one's own emotions onto a performance of a song can only be successfully achieved when the performer has confidence in the foundations of their own technical ability….and they've practiced the song.  The key to any successful performance is to play or sing within the scope of your own abilities.  If you know that you're capable of singing within a particular range and you've warmed up for the performance you'll be more relaxed and will be able to concentrate better on your delivery and timing.  I have found, too, that experience is important.  When I first sung solo in church, my legs were rigid with tension as I walked back to my chair.  Now it is no problem.  I know what I can do, I sing within my limits and I practice the responsorial psalms until I can sing them in my dreams.  I'm at a point where I WANT to sing because it pleases me and I have sufficiently good voice to KNOW it will please the congregation when they listen.  To provide to some additional perspective on confidence, I should tell you about recent experiences in rehearsal for a local production of the musical "Rent" here in Winnipeg.  I have 4 roles and one of them is the lead "Homeless people" singer who sings "Christmas Bells".  Technically, it is not difficult but it requires singing with gusto and feigned joy.  My first few attempts where okay during rehearsal but I was nervous about the timing of my entry into the song because I hadn't properly learnt to come in after the 8th beat.  My musical director told me to sing with confidence but I realized I wasn't properly prepared for the performance (even though I could sing it cold in the comfort of my own house) and so to do that in front of the cast was very difficult because I was too worried and distracted.  Once I had prepared my myself by being able to subliminally count the beats, I was fine and reached the point that I wanted to sing with gusto and abandon.  Confidence is everything.

  • Sometimes it takes a lifetime to rediscover yourself.  Life is an adventure so you might just as well as sing along the way.  Go for the gusto.  Dive in.  Just do it.  Let it rip.  Carpe Diem.

  • This conversation brought up a deeply rooted hang up that I had concerning making music a main focus of my life. My Great Grandfather was a silent movie piano player in the movie theaters and in a saloon owned by his father.  He eventually had to sell insurance to raise his three children.  The family attributed his frequent nervous breakdowns to his drive to play music when he had to work a normal job.  My Mom remembered his bouts of manic depression and equated this to being caused by his drive for music. I think this is why she did not pursue music herself and tried to discourage my brother and I from being involved in music.  Thinking it to be impractical as well as dangerous.
    I hung on to this idea subconsciously for years.  I married a musician and so together we are working out this fear, as well as the fact that I missed out one developing alot of the basic music skills in my youth.  I have felt like I would never catch up and be a "true" musician.  With Per's guidance and his well written learning scripts I have come ahead tremendously on the confidence and voice. Thanks, Lily

  • This is a great topic, confidence and how different recording sounds.  I've been singing since I was three and at one time had a great range, Dave Meniketti of Y&T wanted me to sing for him, until I blew my voice out trying to sing through a bad PA and the bad habit of smoking (quit 16 years ago).  I am still trying to find that great falsetto/head voice that I had.  
    As for what you hear sounding awful to you…that is true for me as well (I have  been singing for 53 yrs).  I have learned to let other people offer their opinions, and for the most part they tell me I have a beautiful voice (thank GOD).  When I master my recordings, I try to use the eq's and the effects tastefully and play it back on a boom box with the eq set at zero.  
    Confidence is something that comes with time or a great gig.  My first band did a great gig where the people started giving us a great response the minute the curtain opened (I had played on an intimate level for everyone in the crowd at the local parks).  A great crowd gives enhances a great performance from you.  Draw on it when it happens for the next gig, and the next gig, and the next gig… preparation and warm up also sets the "stage" as well.  I have also been blessed to work with some really great musicians.  But if you set yourself up to have fun, prepare and practice, and enter into your performance with the attitude of giving the people more than their money's worth…you will set yourself up for a successful performance every time.  A friend of mine gave me this tidbit as well, "The only difference between a professional and an amateur is recovery time"…everyone makes mistakes.  Now I play mostly in the church/Christian/evangelizing arena.  In playing for GOD, I just ask to be in His presence and let Him anoint/bless the people He has me playing for.  Main thought is no pressure; relax and have fun.

  • Thanks for all the comments! It has made me realise how important it is for me to take special care of my daughter's wonderful creative spirit and allow her the freedom to explore sound without the inhibitions of 'getting it wrong'. She already does this very strongly with visual arts – is there anything I can do in particular to help her explore sound and music in the same 'free but focused' way that she does with art? (She is 5 by the way)

  • Hi Per,
              Thank you so much for this article, which is truly inspiring and motivating, as usual, like all your other articles in the Singing zone.  After reading all the comments given above, I find that many people just give up on singing just because a parent, teacher or someone in authority told them that they sounded terrible or 'had no ear for music.'  As a French Teacher, I find that it is really important to motivate your students, no matter what their level and I always keep telling them, "Hard work always beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard."  As a result of this, I've found that many fairly average students have performed really well in their exams, just because they have been encouraged to put in their best.  Thus, whether it is a matter of singing, learning a new language or a new skill like playing the Guitar or Keyboards, the secret is following the 3 P's: Practice, Patience and Perseverance.  No-one can become a singing star overnight and I have no patience with parents who push their children into situations where they may be humiliated, just because they were not prepared.  In India, on every TV channel, we have these Reality shows for Singing or Dancing, where really young children take part and some of the Judges are quite nasty and this can have a very harming effect on sensitive children, like the one who has written to you.
           As far as my own singing experience is concerned, I think singing songs can be a very powerful tool, while teaching a foreign language and so I love to teach French Songs to my students.  They learn to pronounce correctly and also pick up a bit of vocabulary and grammar along the way.  We all sing with a lot of gusto and no-one cares if they are on key or not and surprisingly sometimes we actually sound quite good.  However I know my limitations as a singer and so I have joined Per's course and am really enjoying it.  I have no intention of ever going up on stage and singing to a packed audience.  I sing only for the love and joy of singing and to teach my students and who knows, one day in the near future, with all the warm-up exercises and the practice I am doing, I may actually sound pretty decent.

  • Hi Per,
    I regret to say that I have not been able to purchase your "Singing with Freedom" just yet but I am saving for it though. I imagine that I am not the only person intrigued with your blog (and the comments you have to share in your e-mails) who comes from the UK. I am 17 years of age and am currently doing an acting course so the voice and projection matters a lot to me and improving is a part of my everyday.
    I enjoy performing to many people and when on stage or being filmed I don't mind, but it's only after when I think about how my voices sounded to everyone who listened. So thank you so much for these comments everyone and thanks Per.  

  • Hello Per,
    Thanks so much for sharing the article. I totally agree. I find the input very helpful and motivating.  Very good comments as well.
    thanks again!!

  •  
    Dear, p,
    With Confidence?
    first of all …learn. Music literacy ….
    Not to do in the  same time  Then you can  be learning to play or sing….
    Best
    lucky v

  • Hi per. thanks 4 the awerness i have about my voice by using ur method.however,i believe in growth in anyhing you want to do in life.

  • Hi Per,
    For me, confidence in my singing ability came through technical mastery of breath, pitch, and resonance, with years of vocal training and regular practice.
    Confidence in my singing performance comes through focusing on filling the meaning and intention of the words, and blessing my audience, while performing.
    Confidence in myself comes as listen to and obey my Heavenly Father, whose will and desires for me are revealed as I pray and read the Holy Bible.
    Thanks for your course Per. You seem like a fine teacher. I would like to meet you some day.
    Kathy L

  • dear per, this is the best thing i ever get to see  and learn but i wish u could have more vedios on it  for practical learning but its still the best thing on the web

  • dear per, this is the best thing i ever get to see  and learn but i wish u could have more vedios on it  for practical learning but its still the best thing on the web
    and ask questions and listen to there voice and make people get free practical education

  • I totally agree.  Those early experiences can, for better or worse, shape "who we think we are" at all levels, and boy, does that show up immediately when we put ourselves in any performance situation!  Getting to another place, for me, has been two sided.  Putting in the Practice, Patience and Perseverence, as Prochy Master says so beautifully in his comment, and finding ways to "change my own mind" about who I am and who I can be.  The two sides go hand in hand and each contributes to the other.  The better I do over time, the more open my mind is to a different idea of myself.  The more open I am to a different idea of myself, the further I can venture forth in my abilities.  The point is to have that go in a positive direction rather than a negative one!  Yes? I want to thank you for the new approach to singing you have given me.  It has been a real contribution to my growing ability to sing with ever increasing comfort and confidence.

  • HI PER  HOW ARE YOU I READ ALL THE COMMENTS AND I COULD REALLY RELATE TO WHAT THEY ARE SAYING …I LOVE SINGING I REALLY DO FOR SOME REASON IT RELAX ME BUT MOST OF ALL I HAVE A PASSION FOR GOSPEL MUSIC I SING IN THE CHURCH BUT I GET SO NERVOUS AT TIME I NOW I NEED VOICE LESSON AND I AM LOOKING AROUND MY AREA BUT NO LUCK YET I READ ABOUT YOU ALL THE TIME AND YOU INSPIRED ME ALOT ..I REALLY WANT TO LEARN SINGING IS A WOUNDERFULL THING IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN SAY ….ALL I NEED IS THAT EXTRA PUSH TO GET ME UP LIFTED WHEN I SING I SING UNTO GOD ….BUT I WOULD REALLY WANT TO GET THE MESSAGE THOUGH TO OTHER ..HELP ME TRACY…[email protected]

  • Hi Per, This old man is 80 years of age and due to unforeseen circustances was unable to carry on with your fantastic method of teaching.  2006 -2008  I made an LP containing 14 songs which turned out to be rubbish, but, since having had your tuition my voice is now worth listening to. What an improvement.
    Thank You

  • Confidence = kill your ego. Its your biggest enemy. I have fun with it. Dont take myself too seriously, stick my finger in my ear, let her rip and let the chips fall where they may. I like this guy Per. Kudos

  • I love the line 'Successful people prepare to succeed'. I completely agree, but unfortunately this also happens in the opposite-if all you think about (or fear) is failing, then of course that’s what will happen-but turn that around and you have the key!
    Nice one Per-we love your posts!
     
    X anna X

  • I concur totaly, the best confidence is the one that comes from achieving something (you are yourself proud of) and then having the pat on the back from people you appreciate. And this usually only comes after going thru the learning curve and of course failing a bit on the way before finally succeeding. So how can you expect a child to get up there from the start? it's unrealistic, so the proper way must be to encourage your child, over and over again to carry on trying, and compliment every progress. And of course use professional advice in the first place !
    Per, it is your take on life that draw me to the training course a year ago, and I'm grateful for the web allowing me to benefit from this training thousand of miles away, keep up the good work.
    Warm regards, Laurent (UK)

  • Hi
    I don't know why people expect to be a "natural" singer and for that to be enough!  I was – what you say about being aware of what you do in your body to produce different types of sound, feeling how breathing works – I did all that as a child, so by the time I was 9 I had a lot of knowledge and people thought I had a very mature voice for my age – a "natural" singer (I trained myself to a degree).  However when I was 17 I went poorly prepared into a competition and the comments I received were more than just disappointing – they were cruel.  I did not sing solo again for 20 years. 
    A few years ago I sang in front of an audience of 300 people, (don't know how I agreed to it) and though I was shaking and breathless at the beginning, by the end I was just singing the emotion of the song – I knew what I wanted to do with it and had the plan firmly in my head.  I see it as a life-changing moment – I left those body-shaking cringe-making andrenelin-pumping nerves behind me and it has freed up my life.  Now I have survived those nerves I can do lots of things I though I would never do, because I know I can overcome the nerves.  I am more confident at work – whereas I could not speak in meetings before; I stand in front of a group of singers and direct (though that takes some getting used to) and I sing in a quartet, which would have been very difficult before.  Each thing has developed over time and was not an overnight change – each experience builds into the next.   The point is to see things as part of a long process, (not just singing) each event as an opportunity to learn – the next event is not the last one, and preparation is the key – you have to know you can do it and that the effects of feeling judged can be overcome.  A bit like exposure therapy for phobias.
    Just thought I would share
    Vanessa (UK)

  • Very often I loose the placement of the voice, and I can't seem to get it back on track.  If I don't try to sing for a couple of days,  the positioning of the voice comes back.   Then a couple of days later, I can't get my voice to work properly and can't find the positioning again.    I am afraid to sing in front of people as I never know when my voice is going to let me down.

  • Hi Per,
    I have the tendency to make a judgment about myself. Now, gradually I feel more confortable and try to leave my fear away. It's all about confidence.
    Thank you for your comments.
    Marie-Alice

  • hi…
    i am not able to sing with high notes and my voice is not cooperating with the song
    what should i do to be the best singer? i read all articles were so amazaing

  • After just three weeks doing the first three lessons of the Singing Zone, I have more confidence with my voice now than in many years. I am in my fifties and have suffered with chronic laryngitis since I was a young boy. I recently posted this at the Community page at the Singing Zone Web site, but want to post it here as well. Here goes …
    I have just begun my Third Lesson and am continuing to experience miracles both big and small. I even had a “voice emergency” over a stressful Thanksgiving family gathering – “losing my voice”. But by going back to the first and second CD’s I was able to see what had happened, and bring my voice back to the richness I have been experiencing.
    When I was a young boy, I loved to sing. I grew up near New York City and my parents took me to see so many of the classic Broadway Plays: My Fair Lady with Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison, Camelot with Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet, Peter Pan and The Sound of Music with Mary Martin, Oliver and many others. I would play the records and sing literally for hours. Unfortunately, I developed chronic laryngitis, to the point where I completely lost my voice. My father took me to nose and throat doctors, speech therapists, vocal coaches. But it did little good. So the doctors told my parents I was to sing very little if at all, otherwise I would damage my voice. 
    My father is a well known voiceover narrator still working on network television and on PBS programs such as Nova. He has a beautiful voice, but I think of all the years of trying to emulate his resonance, I actually strained my vocal cords and developed ingrained, destructive habits. And through my adult years, I have continued to have regular bouts of chronic laryngitis.
    I eventually stopped seeing throat doctors who could find nothing wrong. In my twenties, I studied for three years in New York with a voice teacher who had me on the floor with books on my belly, tightening my abs and shouting ‘HO!”, reading tongue twisters in a forceful way. I would leave each lesson with a weak, tired voice. It was frustrating and discouraging. On my own, I studied the Kristin Linklater method, which did no good. I studied the Lessac Method and Alexander Technique, which helped a bit, but did not stop the hoarseness from returning. There was one method that actually taught to slide two fingers down the tongue, deep into the throat to massage the root of the tongue. That, of course, did not help at all.
    In just three weeks of The Singing Zone with Per, I have been able to find a richness, resonance, and freedom in my voice which I have never before experienced – after decades of searching desperately for help. (In fact today I had a long recording session narrating a short documentary, and my voice was free and rich.) I thought I had studied every method there was, but the principles I am learning are all new to me. I was never taught to isolate the vocal cord muscles and to feel them opening and closing. I was never able to release the tension in my tongue, throat, and neck. I have finally found help after so many years of searching.
    In the last weeks, I have discovered an ease not only in my voice, but in my self-expression and emotions. There is a lightness. I can speak, read and sing all day with little vocal fatigue, and with a soothing resonance. Sometimes in the evening, my voice feels a bit tired, but as I’m continuing with the Bristow Method, it is getting less noticeable. I sometimes go back to the ingrained patterns, but am able recognize them and go back to the new habits. 
    I am thrilled and looking forward to the upcoming lessons and the joy of freedom in my speaking and just living. And I'm singing throughout day, even in the shower and the car, with no vocal fatigue, and actually a wonderful sound. What has happened for me has been magical. The joy of singing should be for everyone, not just professionals. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Per!

  • Thank you Per for your unteresting article and convincing video to which I absolutely agree.
    I wish you,of course,a Happy New Year and a Very Happy Valentine Day – Mind the process!
    Esther

  • Hi Per and everyone else
    I have sung a few solos, but never as a soprano at Hereford Cathedral where I sang in the Three Choirs festival four times before my voice broke.  I was head chorister for 25 months.  After my voice broke, I gave up, until in church one day, someone said 'you.ve got a nice voice', so I joined the choir.    Our chior director writes music, he wrote, directed and conducted The Job Story, 1 1/2 hours, I sang Satan!!, I needed the mike in front of 200 audience, the other soloists were pros, and did not need a mike.  That was a huge coup for amateur me.  I also sang other solos,  How lovely are Thy Dwellings (Psalm 84), and You are my Heart's delight (Franz Lehar)  I want to be able to sing the tenor part in The Pearl Fishers, with a top b flat,  and Nessun Dorma, but I need help with those.

  • Your comment about "there's no such thing as a bad singer" is so not true. My brother in law cannot hold a tune, no matter how he tries, it's simply not there for him. I've tired to coach him on on some simple methods but it does not work. But, that does not stop him from trying, much to the chagrin of those around him! I noted that you post nothing but glowing and positive comments, surely someone out there must dissgree with something you do?

  • I am a beginner as far as lessons go, but I have been a singer for fun all my life.  I did sing in chorus, choir, harmony 3, 4 and so on.  I lost my voice and have not been able to sing aloud in front of people for at least eleven years now,,,with a couple of exceptions that went pretty well.  I do not want to be famous, but I do want to enjoy singing again.  I am just beginning and my success story is on it's way,,,,,I'll run the race and I will win or maybe not, but to be sure,,,,I WILL RUN THE RACE TO THE END,,,,,and I will enjoy it.   Thank you for these lessons, you have opened my eyes and now, my journey begins. Yea!!!

  • hi i am really good at singinng but i feel that i need help with my tune and confidence i really beileve in myself but my mind is beating what i bieleve in. Can u help me?

  • Hi, Im a Guitarist/songwriter/Preformer,
    I started last year in August, and Preformed 2times a week and took a long break in Jan. and Havnt wrote any songs, Struggled with my voice and songwriting, Which is why i found this website, This really helps a lot,
    My problem is i dont know whats holding me back, of going and preforming when i can 2 a week. Before i started getting lessons befor i played guitar I walked into a open mic and sang accapella everybody stopped and just stared, I had to say I was verry Nervous and extereamly enbarrassed, My point first time Preforming i made a fool of myself in my opinion. 
    I was told to come back! and learn how to play something. I got a guitar started learning and everyweek id come back with new songs, People said i had a nice voice, i had Potential, and i was getting really good!
    But my problem started; I was practicing and all my songs sound lame, i dont think there that good, I started not to like my voice, so i took a break in Jan. now it is may and I cant find the words to write a song along with a chord progression for guitar, i just dont like how the guitar sounds anymore or my voice,
    but i am working on it, i dont know if it's a phase, what ever it is i hope it goes away, i want to go back to how things were in aug. write songs, preform, have fun 🙂

  • hi Per nice blog i like it. maybe you can help me as well since i am also playing guitar and singing at the same time with Christian songs as my problem is sometimes i cannot reach the high note. is it maybe lack of air or breathing or anything else? Please send me your response on my email; [email protected]. thanks. God bless!!!

  • Hi Per, thank you for all you do for us performers. I have a girls group, The WhatAbouts, we sing 60's girl group music and have been together for 4 1/2 years. We are from the Detroit area. We have been having lots of fun and we have been playing some awesome venues. I remember when we first started out, we had potential. If we didn't practice together twice a week and on our own, I don't believe we would be were we are at today.
    I can tell you that each time we sing together, the first song is always nerve racking in the way of nervousness. After that, we have a blast! We practice our harmonies, and skits and try to always make them the best they can be. Yes, we make mistakes and perhaps we are the only ones who knows that has happened. We just keep moving forward, smiling, engaging our audience and fulfilling our dream. Yes it is hard work but the payoff is fantastic.
    I feel to know that anyone will feel a little nervous when singing in front of people and to get over that, you must take each opportuntiy to sing in front of people to help you get over that feeling. It helps build your confidence in what you can do, repetition is key, make yourself do it!!
    Practicing is another key, if you don't, you won't remember your words, dances, notes, etc. If you want to be your best, take all your opportunities you have and go for it.
    Per, I have purchased your material and now that I am graduating from college in November, I will be able to put your material to great use. I would love to be able to sing and know exactly what I am doing and why.
    I appreciate all you do, check out our website. Our videos are from last Christmas and we have changed and grown a lot since then. We just keep trying to make things better; there is always room for improvement.

  • Dear Per,
    I’m a beginner to your lessons, and their excellent so far. This article helped with my singing confidence, so thanks

  • Per you say that there is no such thing as you can or can't sing. So then why is it that people are generally hard on new singers? Nobody said that new singers were professional. Everybody should learn to hold their opinions and just let people.sing if it makes.them happy. we never know who has the gift of song. Corrections… I believe I have it but just need more training and practice. Just like a lot of other people out there.

  • Hi Per, I have been told that I have a nice voice but I would like to enrich it by all the methods you speak of in your video, from range to projection. I am interested in your Sing with Freedom Program, however I know that it would take me the better part of 30 days or longer to get through the program. I do not want next set, is that the Singing Zone, automatically sent, especially at a cost of $67.00 every 2 weeks. If after I have completed the Sing with Freedom Program and still feel the need or the desire to further enhance my singing, it would be at that time that I would prefer to request the next program; not automatically sent. Is this possible?

  • I hope to be able to take these singing lessons some day bc must is really captivatng my thoughts a great deal of the time. I sing now but not to the degree i want. Besides i got somebody over here drinking all kinds of hatorade every time i wanna sing. I know their problem bc some folks can't carry a tune in a bucket;)! I wanna be able to sing with confidence and freedom.

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