Hello y’all!


Today's #TuesdayTip will be short + sweet and from my personal performance experience.


I wanted to provide you with 5 PERFORMANCE TIPS to help you prepare, overcome nerves, and leave it all on the stage (whether you nail it or make a mistake).


#1 PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE.

I really can’t emphasize this enough. Practicing is where you make your mistakes and where you build confidence for your performance. The more you know your song, the more confident you’ll feel and the better you’ll perform even with nerves because the music will be second nature.


I would even challenge you to video yourself practicing to catch anything that may slip because it might ‘feel good’ while singing. This is where I normally catch tension in my shoulders and neck, if I need to release my jaw, or if I need to add some breathing points/focus my breathing in a particular area.


Listen to your song everywhere. Sing along to your song. Practice to a track. Memorize ALL the lyrics. Practice where you’re breathing. Make it your own!


#2 SET REHEARSAL TIMES RAIN OR SHINE.

Schedule in when you will warm up and practice. When I was preparing for The Voice Australia, I set aside 3-4x practice times per week where I would warm up and go over my song/songs a few times. I didn’t over do it but I was working to build stamina since most of my song choices used my full range. Some days I didn’t sound my best, but if I wasn’t sick or really vocally fatigued I would use that time to slowly warm up and focus purely on technique. Other days where I felt great, I would really focus on my style and performance aspects.


No practice is a wasted practice. It will also help you navigate the song if you wake up on the performance day not sounding 100%.


#3 WATCH WHAT YOU EAT.

Watch what you eat on the day but also during the week leading up. You sing what you eat!


24 hours prior to a performance I am most strict but the week leading up is just as important. Your vocal cords need protein. They need to be hydrated. They don’t need acid reflux. You can refer to my SINGER’S WORKING DIET to get more tips on exactly HOW you can eat to sing at your best.


#4 RELAX.

Most of bad singing habits are linked to stress so CHILL OUT. Easier said than done right?


Here are 3 things that help me:

  1. Exercise (cardio especially - I go for a run, spin class, or HIIT workout to release physical tension)

  2. Hot shower/steam room

  3. Breathing exercises when my heart rate spikes (I literally do these everywhere)


#5 GIVE YOURSELF EXTRA TIME.

Do not rush yourself on performance day.

Get up so you have extra time.


Eat well throughout the day (refer to my SINGER’S WORKING DIET).


Use the time you get dressed to prepare your mind for the task at hand. Don’t be sloppy or you won’t feel confident. Make sure you’re showered, your hair and clothes are clean, iron what you’re wearing and try to look your best (it will make you feel better too!).


Leave ample time to warm up (keep warm ups on your phone).


LASTLY, DO BREATHING EXERCISES SIDE OF STAGE TO SLOW DOWN YOUR HEART RATE AND FOCUS. This is my best tip and really really works. Nerves can get the best of us if we aren’t aware of how to focus them. I breath in for 8 (like through a straw), hold for 8, and hiss out for 8. I then increase to 12. Then 16. 16 is pretty hard when your heart is racing but this one exercise is a game changer to stabilize your voice when nervous. It also releases tension in the body so you are more likely NOT to strain when singing your high notes.


BONUS!

Let it go.

If you make a mistake in a performance, choose to learn from it. Don’t spend time wishing it away or beating yourself up. Take the mistake and ask yourself - "what can I do to avoid it next time?" Then repeat steps 1-5!

Add some exercises to the #2 step that target building up technique in the area that you made the mistake or felt weak and out of control. Use that ‘failure’ to grow!


Hope you enjoyed this #TT!

See you soon + stay warm! Cx


I hear this way too often and it’s false advertising. This is not a bragging right - sorry to tell you.

If you want to be great, you need to train and hone your skills. PERIOD.

The lazy singing trend is resulting in poor ability and injury. It’s not worth it! There’s a better way!


You wouldn’t expect a professional athlete to just hop on the field or court and win the game, so why do we expect the same of singers?


You don’t necessarily ‘need’ a coach but a bit of research and application goes a LONG WAY.


Mainly, I want to talk about this because I am all about prevention over treatment. How can I prevent undue strain and bad habits so I can preserve my vocals for my lifetime. If you don’t know how to use something properly, odds are you’re going to misuse it.

For today's #TuesdayTip I want to myth-bust 3 COMMON MYTHS in saying "I've never had voice lessons!"


#1 Natural ability

#2 I want to feel it (rock n roll)

#3 This is how I ‘sound’

#1 Natural ability

Genetics do play a role in how you sound without training. Some people are physically built to sustain more misuse than others. Some people are physically built to sing some things easier than others.


“Unfortunately, there are huge advantages to having good genes. Things like the size, flexibility and stamina of the vocal folds can be huge factors in singing.”

SOURCE - https://ramseyvoice.com/how-to-sing-well-without-lessons/


However, most great singers who never had any training, eventually seek out a vocal coach to help them preserve their voice for the lifetime of their career. Hence, showing how important it is to research better methods of singing and to APPLY them for the longevity of your only set of vocal cords.


“Healthy singing is not easy to do. So most pro singers don’t even try. They try to sing like Adele (polyps and vocal hemorrhage surgery 2012), or Sam Smith (vocal hemorrhage surgery 2015) or like Freddie Mercury (had vocal nodes but refused surgery).”

Yikes! That’s a lot of vocal damage and they’re professionals!

#2 I want to 'feel it' (rock n roll)

This is one that makes me laugh because at one point, when I was young, I thought this way. I thought that if you practiced and rehearsed too much, it would seem forced and not genuine. I’ll myth-bust this one quickly. The more rehearsed you are, the more freedom you’ll have during a performance to connect with your emotions because your main focus won’t be on actually singing because you’ll feel confident that you can do it!


My mother use to make me practice all my performances with a pretend mic/mic stand so I could go through where I might look or what motions I might want to make with my hands, stance, or if I wanted to work the stage. This way nothing surprised me when I was nervous on stage. I actually felt freer even though practicing these things alone made me feel - frankly, stupid. Now I incorporate video rehearsals into my routine so I can review/critique my vocal and performance.


*Practicing/rehearsing in this ‘dry’ way is a great way to prepare for nerves as well.



#3 This is how I ‘sound’

Now, singing is artistic expression. You should never sound like someone else but you should also sound like yourself. There’s a lot to say about your speaking voice and singing voice not sounding the same. They SHOULD both sound like you.


I think a lot of us use this excuse because of our fear of looking foolish. Especially in this day and age, I find that some of us don’t want to go through the growing pains of learning something new. It’s uncomfortable, it’s challenging, and it’s humbling. THERE I SAID IT. Our pride gets in the way of us putting ourselves out there to learn something new. People these days don’t want to ever be wrong or don’t like feeling like a beginner. But you have to start somewhere!


If you’ve never had lessons or some sort of instruction from maybe school choir (etc), it would be worrisome if you thought that you didn’t need any help.


There’s always room to grow. ALWAYS.


I will say this, no vocal coach should try and make you sound like someone you’re not. Not everyone is meant to sing classically. Finding the right vocal coach for you is important because your priority may be using your instrument best but not with pure classical technicality.


“The truth is, there are way more ways to sing wrong than to sing right. If you pick up everything you know about singing by imitating others, chances are you are singing incorrectly. That’s because the vast majority of professional singers are singing incorrectly a lot of the time.”


To close this myth busting journey, I want to give you some practical and FREE ways you can provide yourself with beneficial instruction so you can healthily grow your voice:

  1. Start following a vocal program. Here’s my favorite available for free on YouTube.

  2. Look up catch phrases on YouTube to find free instructional videos for what you’d like to improve. There’s a video on literally everything. I have a whole #howtosang series you can find here.

  3. PRACTICE. Put the above 2 steps into practice as best as you can. If it feels uncomfortable odds are it’s not the right technique. Relax above all else - drop your jaw and slightly tuck the chin while singing.

  4. Video for self review/critique. Don’t drag yourself down too harshly but be honest with what you hear/see. Pick 3 things from each video that you would like to improve and enact steps 1-3 all over again!



It’s so important to look after our vocal health. I’ve even had a vocal health scare and it completely changed the game for me.


Let me know if you have any questions and happy Tuesday!


See you soon + stay warm! Cx



DISCLAIMER: This is my singer’s working diet and it works best for me. I’ve had so much trial and error since I started training/performing at 8 years old. Some things I knew to avoid and other things, I learned the hard way - like mashed potatoes! I cracked in the middle of the sustained high note of the song 😬. LOL.


Also, I was always that singer that had a can of tuna. Protein wins over your pride. Sorry to tell ya!


Let's get into it!


LIQUIDS:

  • HYDRATE! 3-5 liters of water/day.

  • Throw in a Gatorade (Berocca, Hydralyte, and/or Pedialyte) to replenish electrolytes, salts, and minerals. You’ll find this makes a huge difference especially on a performance day.

  • Luke warm apple juice. I purchase organic juice boxes/pouches and keep them in my bag.

  • Licorice/peppermint teas. Reduce inflammation and soothe.

  • Avoid excess caffeine. I still find the ability to have a coffee in my diet when training or performing. I use to avoid it completely. Now I have found balance by using a daily nasal saline rinse so I can manage a bit of dairy on a performance day.

SNACKS:

  • Cans or pouches of tuna.

  • Carrots.

  • Almonds (limit and don’t eat 1 hour before).

  • Normal potato chips (up to 30 minutes before performance - weird I know).

  • Apples (with or without some peanut butter or nut butter of choice).

  • Blueberries.

  • Strawberries.

  • Grapes.

  • Avocado on toast.

  • Chicken. If I’m in a bind, I’ll try and even snag some chicken from a fast food place. Sometimes you don’t have that many options so yes, there’s grease but you need protein so if they offer grilled, get that!

  • Some types of granola bars.

  • Veggie chips.

  • Spoonfuls of honey.

  • Piece of toast with a nut butter if you’re in a bind.

  • Hummus with some seed crackers or carrots!


NO CELERY! Makes you burp constantly.

NO SOUR CANDY. Makes you produce excess saliva and then you can have a 'raw throat' from post nasal drip.

SOMETIMES, I avoid watermelon because it fills my stomach up too quickly with water and I feel heavy. Typically I like to avoid feeling heavy before training or performing.
I also tend to avoid citrus fruits as they make me feel dry and sore. That may not be the case for you. I definitely avoid lemon water. It dries me out too much.

MEAL IDEAS:

  • Wholegrain toast with eggs.

  • Avo on wholegrain sourdough toast.

  • Oatmeal with blueberries/strawberries/banana.

  • Smoothies with fruits but avoid dairy yogurt.

  • Salmon and green beans - cooked anyway you like, even pan fried is fine (MY FAV).

  • Chicken salads with spinach and dark leafed greens (olive oil based dressings are beneficial to the voice). NO ICEBURG LETTUCE!

  • Homemade stir fry with above options. Zucchini/carrot/green beans!

  • Brown rice with any protein/veggies listed here.

  • Chickpea pasta with veggies and protein. Avoid tomato pasta sauce. Instead use olive oil. Goat cheese is also a good option. Great fats without bloat.

  • Chicken/turkey wraps. NO ICEBURG LETTUCE! AVOID TOMATOES 48 HOURS BEFORE. Add spinach, carrot, avo, etc.

  • Can/pouch tuna on brown rice with spinach. (QUICK ON THE GO IDEA. I eat this a lot).

  • Sushi (good option when you're out).

  • Bake some pumpkin with drizzled olive oil and add salt, garlic, walnuts, and some goat cheese. This will pack a punch and fuel you with great veg and fats. Garlic is also very good for the voice and immune system.

  • Grilled chicken/fish and vegetables like bell pepper (capsicum), zucchini, mushroom, etc.

  • Try out a bean salad containing kidney beans, chickpeas, etc. This is so nice with a bit of olive oil, herbs, and some goat cheese!


Avoid shellfish (just in case) but any other fish or shrimp should be fine.

Don’t be afraid of some salt.

Add avocado!

I haven’t experimented much with sweet potatoes but pumpkin is fine for me.

Sometimes I even avoid red onion purely because it makes my breath yuck. Personal preference as I just don’t feel fresh when I’m singing.

Some things I’ve learned to avoid + why:

  • AVOID SPICY - I have a whole blog dedicated to this.

  • AVOID CELERY - gas/burping.

  • AVOID BROCCOLI - gas/burping.

  • AVOID CAULIFLOWER - gas/burping.

  • AVOID CABBAGE - gas/burping.

  • AVOID CORN - difficult to digest because of cellulose, causes excess gas, gets stuck in your teeth -- personal preference.

  • AVOID POTATOES - especially mashed!

  • AVOID MINCE BEEF - excess gas/indigestion.

  • AVOID DARK MEAT THE DAY BEFORE AND DAY OF PERFORMANCE.

  • AVOID TOMATOES THE DAY BEFORE AND DAY OF PERFORMANCE.

  • AVOID FATTY MEALS - like fast good -- you’ll lose some vocal control because of the 'slick' factor.

  • AVOID HEAVY MEALS - large calorie dense meals make you lethargic and sleepy because you’re body is busy digesting so instead eat smaller meals more often.

  • AVOID PIZZA 🍕😔 I love pizza so I use it as a treat after a big performance.

  • AVOID SODA - makes you burp.

  • AVOID CAFFEINE - I still have coffee usually just not 1-2 hours before a performance.

EAT SMALLER MEALS MORE OFTEN.
SNACK TO KEEP YOUR ENERGY UP.
EAT SOME PROTEIN 30-45 MIN BEFORE YOUR PERFORMANCE.
YOU’RE AN ATHLETE SO YOU CAN’T AFFORD NOT TO EAT. INSTEAD, FUEL!

You get it. PROTEIN, SINGER DEFINED VEGETABLES, LOW GI CARBS.


This isn’t necessarily everything I can eat, but these are my go to food choices and most of these can be found easily on the go or can be carried in your bag.


Hot tip:

I carry microwavable brown rice pouches, pouches of tuna, apple juice pouches, and fruits in my bag when I'm on the go especially for performances and/or travel for performances.

Let me know if you have any questions about liquids or foods!


See you soon + stay warm! Cx

Tuesday Tips

©2020 by Chynna Taylor.