singing

  • My first ever blog post was about confidence - and although I've only actually written about two other things since then, the confidence issue has already risen it's head again and is begging me to write about it!

    To be honest, that's not too surprising - I firmly believe that confidence is the single biggest barrier to happy, effective, and healthy singing.

    This was brought home to me (again) last night; I was covering for another local choir leader, taking her rehearsal as she couldn't be there. The group was new to me, which is always an interesting challenge as you never quite know what you're going to be facing! What I found was a lovely group of singers, but who were so lacking in confidence in their own voices that I was singing louder than all of them put together, even recovering from laryngitis.

  • I had a singing lesson today - or more accurately, I had an introductory session with a voice coach. Despite singing being my main source of work, I've never actually had formal lessons, and had always promised myself that I would find a teacher, and work on improving my own practice as well as teaching others! I've been suffering with laryngitis this Autumn and am struggling to shift that last little crackle, so I thought now would be as good a time as any to get started with my self-improvement journey.

    The thing I've been mulling over since I left my teacher's house is how relevant all of our background life experiences are to the specific task of opening your mouth and singing.

  • My new choir did their first performance yesterday - they did brilliantly, and I've been flooded with excited emails saying how much fun they had.

    One comment in particular jumped out at me, from a lady who said:

    "Having been told when I was at school that I couldn’t join the choir because I was rubbish, it has taken me over 50 years to pluck up the courage to try again!"

    I'm full of admiration for this brave lady; her comment reminded me why it's so important to have a nurturing and supportive environment when you are singing - regardless of the age group! I have long believed that the single biggest barrier to effective singing is confidence, and the more I work with people of all ages (but particularly adult community choirs), the more I believe this is true!

  • I find the actual process of creating and composing new music a very strange thing. Given the starting material I can easily create new arrangements out of an existing tune at any time of day or night, but actually having to come up with something new (that I don't hate) has historically been a much more frustrating experience. Traditionally, inspiration will lurk somewhere out of sight until about 11pm at night, when it will leap out and demand that a song be written *right now* or be lost forever. Once I was in the shower when a new tune floated through the window and I had to cut short my hair washing so I could go and write it down.

    Now, staying up writing songs in to the early hours is perfectly acceptable for most musicians; in fact it's actively encouraged, and bags under the eyes are something of a badge of honour in some circles. However when you are required to function as a human being before midday (every day!!) and in my case when that also involves dragging yourself out of bed to take a small person to school it's not quite so convenient.

    It's unbelievably frustrating, because everyone knows that you have to take the inspiration where it comes and if you try and force it then it's just not going to happen.

    Or is it?

  • Vocal health is something I’ve become really interested in over the years, as more and more of my professional life relies on being able to use my voice on a regular basis. There was a time, a few years ago, when I would get a pretty serious infection a couple of times per year, and would lose my voice for a couple of weeks each time, and during that time I did a lotof research in to what did and didn’t help me. Right now, I’m sat in bed with a horrendous chesty cough, and have been for over a week, so it seemed like a good time to put all my learnings together in to one place so I can check if I’ve missed anything this time around..!

    1. Over the counter remedies

    Firstly, don’t waste your money. They don’t work. Trust me, I’ve tried them all.

© 2019 Cat McGill