Confidence in singing is not just one thing. It’s a combination of knowing your voice (and what it can do), believing in and knowing the material, practice, vocal and stage technique, experience, coaching, a need to express yourself, and, of course, just sheer gumption (i.e. bravado!). To build confidence, it’s important for you as a singer (amateur or professional) to work to get to a level where you can depend on your voice, and body, and know the correct notes, lyrics, and timing of the song.
Photo: Danz, Casio Booth NAMM
Below are some basics to help up your confidence!
- Sing in the right key for your voice – This immediately builds confidence.Key is everything to singers. You can sound amazing in one key and totally “off” in another. Suppose you love a certain song and try to sing it in the original key that is too high. Your voice strains and cracks, and you feel you can’t sing at all. If the original key is too low, it is likely that you will go flat or lose control of the tone and breath. It doesn’t matter if the original is in a certain key. The way to sound great (which builds confidence) is to sing in the key that’s best for you for that one song (not every song). Tip: Try a song in 3 keys – the original, one-half step-down, and one-half step-up (in software programs, it’s one semitone). Find the one that works and repeat until one stands out.*
- Learn the song inside & out- This is the first step! If you don’t learn & know the lyrics as well as the melody’s exact notes, it’s hard to be, look or feel confident. “Guessing” in front of people is nerve-wracking.
- Practice the right things – I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but what you practice makes a difference. Practice makes perfect, but the truth is, that perfect practice makes perfect. Just running through a song a couple of times (or even lots of times) is not enough for you or anyone to really know, much less internalize the song. To know a song, you have to practice the exact notes/pitches, the vowels, the timing, the lyrics, and the phrasing, and then interpret it. Have you ever heard someone sing and something sounds off? It could be any of these or a combination. On the singer’s side, this is the thought process (been there!). Something’s wrong. Yikes, what happened? Maybe I’m off (pitch, timing) or sound bad or look foolish, etc. What do I do now? At this point, not only has the singer left the song (i.e. the story they are telling in it), they are panicking. This is why practicing the right things matters. Very few people have the experience and chops to just “wing it”.
- Learn to use your body as an instrument – Every great singer uses their body to mold their vocal sound and command the stage. Singers often ask me what to do with their hands. Unless you’re a dancer with specific moves, your hands should be used to direct the sound and lift your body to emphasize notes. Check out these live shows and watch how these artists stand and use their bodies and hands, Adele (0:02 – 0:14), Ariana (0:47-1:01), Sam Smith (0:55- 1:29), and Mick Jagger (0:02-0:46). Notice how they are up to performance speed before they hit the stage, their open body stance, their chest held up, and how they have fun with it!!
- Confidence comes from knowing what you’re doing and then, doing it. Everyoneis nervous before they sing, whether it’s at karaoke or on a big stage. This is normal. What really helps is knowing your voice, and the song, and trusting yourself enough to just go for it. If something goes wrong onstage, keep going!! Act as if everything is great. It works!!
* Tip: The best key for you as a vocalist depends upon 5 basic things:
- your vocal range (and where you’re classified)
- the note range of the song
- where you are in your range as you hit the chorus (for power)
- the song and its interpretation
- the sweet spot in your voice
To learn more about pop technique, please check out my new VIDEO, #1 Pop Singing Tip To Nail It Every Time. To schedule lessons, please contact email@example.com or call 310-283-9688.
* Image: Canva