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The psychology of singing

Singing is a highly athletic coordinated activity. 

Good singing is being able to sing seamlessly on pitch throughout the various registers of your voice with a consistent vocal tone and quality (while being able to choose the appropriate form of vocal expression and delivery style).  Good singing technique can be described as learning how to produce your singing voice with optimum efficiency and experiencing the least amount of tension and strain on your vocal cords and reducing demand on your singer’s breathing. 

Learning to sing correctly erases vocal cracks, wobbles or breaks in your sound. It requires the development of multiple fine motor skills that are capable of coordinating and operating smoothly at the same time, with minimal physical tampering or interference from the singer. 

Loosely explained, these fine motor skills include:

1. Diaphragmatic breathing coordination (RVR singer’s breathing)

2. Vocal coordination

3. Anatomic coordination to provide correct singers breathing and airway support 

4. Auditory coordination (ear training to be able to follow melodies and sing on pitch)

5. Balance (singer’s anatomical support to offset rising stress and resolve escalating body tensions).

These fine motor skills are developed through the act of building new neural skill pathways in the brain. The rapid development of these fine motor skills is achieved by programming the new preferred physical coordination in your body and requires a great deal of effective rewiring your brain to make the new coordination feel comfortable and like second nature. You need to be able to bypass the old neural highway of unhealthy singing habits and connect to fresh, new neural highways in the brain that store the preferred healthy coordination that makes singing feel free and easy.

There is an art and a science to successfully building new neural skill highways in your brain. I have developed my own complete RVR NLP system of brain reprogramming with lots of cool RVR “Jedi Mind Tricks” that is designed to ensure that we accomplish the goal of reducing the time it takes you to develop your confident, natural performing voice.

That’s the physical part of singing covered. Then there is the mental side of aligning your mind’s focus to deliver an optimum performance from your vocal cords and your body.

The psychology of singing is a fascinating subject and plays a critical role in the ability to consistently perform at peak levels during your vocal performances. Henry Ford, widely credited with being the father of the modern automobile industry, was fond of saying, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you cant, you’re both right”. Meaning if you’re about to sing a high note and your thinking is not positively aligned with your desired vocal action, your body will say “Yes!” but your brain will say “No!”

The resulting messaging conflict will cause a crash in the chain of fine motor skill co-ordinations and will result in a vocal note that sounds choked off or will produce a wobble in your singing or screaming voice.

Any significant event in your life that caused you prolonged psychological or emotional discomfort can end up having a profound, negative effect on your central nervous system.  Trauma events are very powerful emotional or physical experiences where we might be too terrified to speak or take action, or feel that our life is at risk, and the resulting trauma has a powerful, lasting effect on our body’s physiology.

While receiving counseling for these types of trauma events can be very beneficial, the actual muscle memory of the trauma event can be stored in our body’s cells. We can still be carrying that trauma around with us. If that trauma is affecting our personal happiness or our ability to freely express our voice in song or speech, or makes us feel uncomfortable sharing our emotions with the people that we love the most then there are great benefits to taking further action to resolve the effect that the trauma is having on our body’s operating system.

Put simply, the memory of the trauma is literally burned into the lining of your cellular make up. The memories of powerful Trauma events get stored in the  Adenosine Triphosphate, or ATP. ATP is the main source of energy for most cellular processes in the human body. The muscle memory of intense traumas can be stored in the ATP of your cells.

The muscle memories of intensive traumas need to be addressed and cleaned out if you expect your mind and body to feel comfortable about singing or screaming freely and reaching new heights of vocal freedom. Physical or emotional trauma that relates to negative associations that we might have experienced in the formative years of our childhood development often creates psychological barriers or mental handbrakes that prevent us from been able to connect freely and easily to the full power and tonal qualities of our natural singing voice.

This is where you will need the expertise of an experienced vocal performance coach who understands how to effectively rewire your brain to create new positive, healthy associations in your mind that will result in higher levels of vocal performance and free you from the shackles of past trauma events.

These historic trauma events can create severe discomfort and impair your ability to feel good about singing with a wide open, free voice. Chances are if you cant use your voice freely or you feel that you are severely restricted with how your body lets you use or express your voice, then you are operating under the restrictive limitations of unresolved trauma.

Get in touch with me and let’s have a conversation about how we can help you to move forward and finally remove these shackles and performance handbrakes from your life.

Better singing everyone,

Paule, the RVR vocal performance coach.

3 thoughts on “The psychology of singing”

  1. Hello… my name is Donny Rox 63yo and I would be interested in some tips… I’ve been singing since 14 so over the years I do some of these things naturally…background…ex smoker since 86, intubated asthmatic 5x, retired RRT….bad singing habit over project my voice, I put all 5’3″ into it when I’m doing high harmonies, my vocal slides need work, tension makes me sloppy…so there you have it…thanks

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