HABITS UNRELATED TO SINGING!
Over the years, I’ve noticed that during the time students are learning how to sing, they usually develop unwanted habits along the way – and I’m not talking about the unhealthy habits they already had when they started learning, I’m talking about new ones! I am of course always vigilant about this, but the students themselves are blissfully ignorant about what they’re doing.
These “habits” have included: frowning when attempting to sing high notes, turning or cocking their head on one side, raising one shoulder, swinging an arm, raising their feet up on tip toe, looking down – and so it goes on! Whilst this is all very amusing to watch as an onlooker, what these things are actually indicating are students’ psychological responses to learning something new that they’re finding physically difficult to master, requiring enormous concentration.
I think that everyone struggles at the prospect of singing high notes when they haven’t managed to do so in the past and it’s hard to overcome the psychological resistance based on the (usually ingrained) belief that it’s not possible! In fact, using the correct technique makes singing higher notes much easier but it’s difficult to trust in the techniques until students can see that they work! In the process, therefore, they develop these weird habits as an unconscious way of avoidance.
Ideally, students need to get to the point where they’re able to stand back and look at their practice objectively and also to learn to start correcting themselves (but of course they have to know how to identify what they’re listening for in the first place).
The other problem with these habits is that they tend to cause tension and learning to be relaxed enough to trust in and use correct technique again takes time and practice (even though these techniques have a proven record going back centuries).
As such, the next time you notice that you only seem able to sing high notes if you are wearing red lipstick whilst standing on one leg, that’s probably not a great way to go forwards with your singing!