Understanding Your Voice (The Psychology of Singing)
While singing is a physical and bodily act, understanding how psychology and singing relate is just as important as vocal technique in a physical sense when you are learning how to sing. We can break it down into two types of singing psychology – first how your state of mind affects your physical ability to sing (relating to the involuntary aspects of the voice), and secondly how this affects your ability to simply learn new skills as an adult.
Developing a psychological process while singing is very important, in particular due to the involuntary nature of many of the working parts of your vocal anatomy. You can’t just ‘flex’ your left vocal fold at will, or flex the diaphragm independently of the adjoining musculature, you can’t narrow your vocal tract without actually singing a phrase and so forth – meaning that your psychological outlook and mental process really do affect your ability to sing well.
In short, singing well just as much a psychological process as it is a physical one – without the right mental attitude and preemptive ‘mind training’, being a great singer will always be just out of your reach as your brain thwarts your physical ability to sing well.
Learning To Sing Better
Now, the secondary aspect of vocal psychology is your ability to learn a new skill as an adult. As a kid, you’re a clean slate that is a sponge to any and all new information – but as we age, we often stop actually ‘listening’ and try to rationalise new information to match our existing understanding of a situation or a skill. This means that when you see a guy on YouTube telling you “Singing should be easy” your own experiences of strained high notes have told you otherwise – so your mental attitude when you sing is likely “singing is hard”, which in turns manifests both in your ability to sing well, but also in your ability to learn the new skills that are needed to improve your vocal technique.
So, the key is identifying this mental behaviour before it manifest into a physical issue with your voice when you sing. The most powerful way to overcoming these psychological limitations in your singing is to develop a rock solid foundation first when you sing, so that there is no doubt to your ability, and with such excellent technique; no possibility of a bad note, and definitely no vocal strain or tension.
By first building a rock solid foundation free of any opinions or bad habits you’re currently holding on to, you too will see the same progress I’ve seen from applying myself to the process of Foundation, Growth and Balance in singing; building a rock solid foundation, building range and then finally balancing with articulation and tonal quality and stylistic choice.
- Connect Chest and Head Voice
- Sing with Mixed Resonance
- Balance your onset
- Sing vowels correctly
- Create and manage resonant space
- Increase your range
- Improve your tone
- Warm up your voice
- SO much more!
The psychology of singing is an incredibly important part of any vocal routine – do you doubt that you can hit a note? Are you afraid of strain and tension? If so, it’s likely you are perpetuating these issues and ‘bracing’ for a fall instead of setting up a rock solid foundation with which to build your voice – let’s get started by setting up a great vocal foundation!
If you have any questions about the psychology of singing and learning how to sing better, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.