Cultivating Confidence:The Impact of Mindfulness Techniques on my Singing and Performance.
My Journey to SINGSATIONALLY
I have been singing for as long as I can remember. Music and specifically singing has always been a lifeline for me. I was 18 years old when I had my first professional voice lesson which set me off down the path of a lifetime creating music. Prior to this though as a child I was always seeking opportunities to sing and perform for people. No one was safe from becoming my captive audience! Not one ounce of fear or inhibition ever struck me. Any living room would become my stage, and any stage would become my living room.
At this time in my life I was also training as a competitive figure skater and dancer. On the one hand with my skating and dancing I had the training and mindset of an athlete. Up before the sun and off to practices before heading to school, lessons and practice sessions after school and on weekends. Then on the other side I had the freedom and abandonment of all the rules in my singing. I was a somewhat naturally talented singer so at that point it never occurred to me or my mother that I should train to be better at it.
Day by day my love and passion for singing grew. I knew this was what I wanted my life to be about. It was ALL consuming. I decided that I needed some guidance if I wanted to do this as a career, so I packed up and moved to the big city and started training, and WOW it was awesome! Hard work is an understatement.
Day and night, I practiced, auditioned, and worked. I spent a good decade just rinsing and repeating those three steps. There were many highs, but many lows, and the lows chipped away at my self-esteem and my once childlike joie de vivre for singing. I was finally starting to get some traction in my career and traveling the world performing when suddenly I started to nose dive with anxiety, depression and what we now know as “Imposter Syndrome”. Fear crept in and I started to wonder, was I in fact good enough to be center stage in front of thousands of people doing what I knew was the reason I got out of bed every day?
Every night I would wake up with terrible night sweats and shake uncontrollably thinking that what I had to offer wasn’t enough up there on the stage. My mind wasn't paying any heed to the YEARS of professional training programs and private lessons I had been through. What about the competitions I had won and the international stages I sang on? None of that mattered. This was a complete departure from the carefree, confident being I was before. I thought the appropriate course of action was to seek help through traditional counselling, psychiatry, and medication in order to silence that inner critic. These would help here and there, but I was always left with that same feeling of dread at the end of each session. I realized quickly I didn’t like this cycle and I didn’t want to have to keep returning for more “band aid” solutions.
What was the difference between how I felt now (unworthy) and how I felt when I was younger (invincible)? It wasn't until I delved into my past as a competitive figure skater and dancer that I found the key to conquering my inner critic. My coaches and teachers then encouraged visualization techniques, proper health and well-being, and an overall whole body approach. I wasn’t employing any of these in my singing practice because it simply was never presented that I should. And so, I began this inward journey. I studied yoga, breath work, meditation, EFT, I used visualization techniques and mantras. Everything I could learn to balance my inner world. I started to come up with a system that worked in all areas, from pre-performance to onstage and in my day-to-day life. I then combined these mindfulness techniques with my everyday voice work and something miraculous happened... I started sleeping peacefully through the night without ANY critic shaking me violently telling me I wasn’t enough! I felt incredibly liberated, not to mention that I was able to function properly and at a much higher level because I was actually getting the rest and focus I desperately needed. Getting on stage and sharing my voice was exciting again! Even when the going was tough, I felt relaxed and confident that I was in control. Now it’s been almost 7 years since that inner critic nudged me to say I wasn't good enough, I can truly attribute this to the MVP (Mindful Voice Practice) System.
If any of this resonates with you and you aren’t quite sure what might be missing with your singing and performance, I would love to have the opportunity to chat one on one with you to see if working with me and my MVP system might be the missing link for you to feel free and confident in your singing!
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