I get told off by my vocal trainer ALOT that I’m not stable with my notes. When I sing, I do sound shaky. I breath with my diaphragm, and he tells me holding ‘AH’ notes while breathing with my diaphragm will stabilize my voice. It just gives me more stress the fact that I’m not stable. Like this, I can’t show my own talent. What do you recommend I should do? ~ James
I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that singing in front of others makes you nervous, especially when they’re listening with the intention of “correcting” you. Just a guess… if I’m wrong, then you don’t even need to continue reading this comment, but if there may be an element of truth to that, continue…
Being nervous while singing in front of others is a fairly common thing. If singing is important to you, then you’re going to care more about what others think about your singing skills over say your cat juggling skills :-p
That being the case, it may be easier for you to get nervous in front of your teacher, especially if this teacher doesn’t make you feel comfortable. This would only make you more nervous, and potentially make your voice less stable.
That being said, you may need to find a new teacher that makes you feel more comfortable, or you may just need to get past the mental hurdle of him correcting you. At some point in your singing career (even if you just want to sing karaoke), you’re going to have to get comfortable singing in front of others.
The easiest way to do that with your teacher is to remind yourself that you’re there because you’re not already perfect, so whenever they correct you, they’re only trying to help (once again, the right type of understanding teacher will work better for you than an abrupt, more aggressive teacher… at least in the beginning). Long story short, you’re there to take correction, but if you keep focusing on not being perfect instead of what the teacher is trying to help you accomplish, then you’re just going to get more nervous.
Sometimes, you just have to be able to get out of your head about certain issues. Remember, we all have to fail over and over before we learn to succeed at anything. We all fell dozens of times when learning to walk, but now you walk just fine. Be willing to “fall down” vocally, and accept that it’s a normal part of the lesson, and maybe things will get easier for you.
I genuinely hope this helps, and wish you the best of luck with your vocal endeavors.
Vocal Coach Ken Taylor